What do HBO, Amazon, Hulu, Apple TV, Netflix, NBC/Uni, Sony, Disney, AMC Studios, Showtime, STARZ all have in common? They’ve all moved into town, setup shop, and made themselves a home in Chicago to shoot a tv series.
I’ve lived through the ebb and flow of the Chicago film industry since the mid 80s. This is different. It’s here to stay, and it feels good.
Saturdays the roller-skating coming-of-age series that has been ordered by Disney Branded Television is setting up production offices. Filming is scheduled to begin in May 2022.
The series, set in an expressive, music-fueled roller-skating community, hails from actress/producer Marsai Martin (black-ish, Little) and her Genius Entertainment production company.
The series introduces teenage Paris Johnson, who considers roller skating to be part of her soul — she breathes it in and makes it a lifestyle. She lives for the weekends because that’s when she gets to go to her sanctuary, the neon-lit Saturdays, a seemingly magical wood floor roller-rink where the impossible often manifests. In this wondrous place, Paris can hang with her best friends (the We-B-Girlz skate crew), choreograph exhilarating routines on wheels, banter with her rivals, navigate life with her DJ brother London and work on becoming a Golden — a member of Saturday’s skating elite, chosen by the mystical owner of the rink, The Duchess.
The single-camera series, was created and written by Norman Vance Jr. (Roll Bounce, Girlfriends) who will also executive produced along with Marsai Martin, Nicole Dow and Joshua and Carol Martin (Little).
Justified: City Primeval (working title)
The limited series based on Elmore Leonard’s novel City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit is setting up production offices at Chicago Studio City and will be filming in town May through September. This FX Justified revival with Timothy Olyphant reprising his role as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens uses Leonard’s 1980 novel City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit as source material, centering the story on Leonard’s Givens character. It is confirmed that Quentin Tarantino will direct the first episode.
The Devil in the White City
The mini-series based on the book by Erik Larson, is in pre-production. Larson’s nonfiction book, set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, tells the intertwining stories of fair architect Daniel H. Burnham and serial killer H.H. Holmes, who used a hotel he built near the fairgrounds to lure his victims. It is confirmed that Keanu Reeves will star in a leading role.
This is the only feature filming in town. Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winning director, David Fincher is bringing his latest Netflix movie project, The Killer, to the Chicago area and is currently filming for several days at the suburban St. Charles’ historic Hotel Baker along the Fox River, and in Chicago.
The film will star Academy Award winner Michael Fassbender, known for playing the character Magneto in the X-Men movies. Academy Award winning actress Tilda Swinton also is part of the cast.
Power Book IV: Force
Along with the announcement of the renewal for a second season, STARZ also shared that the Power Book IV: Force series creator Robert Munic, who oversaw production on the Joseph Sikora-led spinoff during Season 1 will be replaced by Gary Lennon (Euphoria, Hightown) as showrunner and executive producer.
The series, renewed for season 2, is based on graphic novels by Brian K. Vaughan. The story centers around four 12-year-old girls – Sofia Rosinsky (Fast Layne), Camryn Jones (Cherish the Day), Riley Lai Nelet (Altered Carbon) and Fina Strazza (A Christmas Melody) who deliver newspapers. While making deliveries the day after Halloween, the girls become involved in a conflict between two groups of time travelers.
South Side got a thumbs up from HBO Max for a third season. Starring Bashir Salahuddin, Sultan Salahuddin, Kareme Young, Quincy Young, Chandra Russell, Zuri Salahuddin, Nefetari Spencer, and Diallo Riddle, South Side follows two friends who just graduated from community college and are ready to take over the world. Until they do, they’re stuck working at Rent-T-Own.
The newly renewed HBO series will begin filming their second season in May in Lockport which apparently resembles the Kansas hometown of the main character, Sam, played by Bridget Everett.
The Big Leap
Scoring a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes is not enough for Fox who will not be renewing The Big Leap. The ballet comedy/drama, starring Scott Foley and Simone Recasner, had an 11-episode first season, which ended in December 2021.
Ordinary Joe which did not perform well in the ratings was canceled by NBC after one season. The series stars James Wolk as Joe Kimbrough, and explores three parallel lives after ordinary Joe makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life, and asks the question of how different life might look if you made your decision based on love, loyalty or passion.
Work in Progress
Although the story of Abby (Abby McEnany), “a woman who re-evaluates her life while dating a trans man after the death of her therapist” was well received by critics and viewers alike it appears the numbers weren’t right for Showtime to renew the show for a third season.
This list changes quickly. Check back for updates next week.