Andy and Lana Wachowski’s first-ever TV series will start a production roll of three new TV series filming here this summer and fall, making up for the parched spell of TV shows the first half of 2014, especially when compared with 2013’s pilot and series bonanza.
The other two shows are Fox TV’s “Sirens” sitcom for USA and Lee Daniels’ New York-set “Empire” hip hop family drama for the Fox network. Each series will shoot 13 episodes – that’s a bonus of three more than the 10 ordered for “Siren’s” first season.
Netflix ordered a 10-episode pickup for “Sense8” from Georgeville Television, after almost a year in development. Shooting starts in San Francisco next week, then moves ro Chicago July 7 to film here for six weeks. Thereafter it shoots in six locations throughout the world.
Release is scheduled for late 2014.
“Sense8” writer is veteran writer/producer J. Michael Straczynski (“Babylon 5” series). “We’ve wanted to work with Joe Straczynski for years,” say the siblings, “chiefly due to the fact that his name is harder to pronounce than ours.”
The drama focuses on eight people scattered around the globe who are connected by a shared, violent vision. Each episode follows the separate stories of the eight characters (mostly uncast as yet) who are in Chicago, San Francisco, the UK, Seoul, Mumbai, Nairobi, Berlin and Mexico City.
A character named Jonas appears to all of the “visionaries” and his evil counterpart, Mr. Whispers, tries to kill them.
“Sirens” was created by EPs Denis Leary (“Rescue Me”) and Bob Fisher (“Wedding Crashers”) and is produced by Fox TV and Apostle, in conjunction with Daybreak Pictures.
The first season wrapped here in May and averaged 1.13 million viewers. It ranks as Basic Cable’s #1 New Comedy of 2014.
Fox last month greenlit the pilot of director Daniels’ hip hop drama, “Empire,” the only TV pilot to film here last winter. It was created by EPs Daniels (“The Butler”) and writer Danny Strong (“The Butler”) and stars Terrance Howard.
“These series are a great shot in the arm for Chicago,” says Local 476’s president Brad Mattys, with a sigh of relief, “after the disappointing loss of pilots that shot here but weren’t picked up and those pilots greenlit for series that shot somewhere else.”
An estimated 60-75 local union crew members are expected to be employed on each of the new shows. An estimated 40-50 actors will have roles on “Sirens” and “Empire.”
The three new shows will headquarter at Cinespace Studios, along with NBC Universal’s “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD,” which will start filming new seasons three and two, respectively, in August.