Fox picks up “Empire,” IFO confirms filming here

The sole pilot that shot in Chicago this year, happily has turned into a series.  Fox TV announced yesterday that dramatic “Empire” was picked up as a series for a slot on Fox’ fall schedule, as confirmed by Betsy Steinberg of the Illinois Film Office.

“Empire” filmed here in March at Cinespace. 

Fox TV’s “Empire” pilot adds two new cast members

NEW STAR IN TOWN will be Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson (“Person of Interest”) and Jussie Smollett (“On Our Own”) joining star Terrance Howard in Fox TV’s pilot, “Empire,” director Lee Daniels and Danny Strong’s hip-hop drama. It starts shooting at Cinespace in mid-to-late March. 

Fox’s ‘Mob Doctor’ TV drama set to shoot here July 16

Fox’s “Mob Doctor” becomes the fourth television series to film in Chicago this year, with the announcement that the network has picked up the drama for a full 12-episode series, to begin shooting in mid-July.

Produced by Sony TV, directed by Michael Dinner (who directed the pilot called “Dirty Medicine”) and headquartered at Chicago Studio City, “Mob Doctor” will shoot around town simultaneously with “Chicago Fire.”

The two series start a week apart: “Mob Doctor” on July 16 and “Chicago Fire” on July 23, and will shoot through Christmas.

‘Playboy’ pilot result of past good experience with Fox

Positive experiences on The Chicago Code and Prison Break, the 30% Film Tax Credit, and the story’s Chicago setting clinched the Playboy series pilot for a shoot here, studio and state officials said.

“The show is set in Chicago but we did consider other options regarding where to produce the pilot,” said Tracey Raab, executive director for media relations at 20th Century Fox Television.

Fox greenlights ‘Ride-Along’ for a series

IT’S OFFICIAL! The Fox Network has greenlighted four pilots for series to air this fall including Chicago-set “Ride-Along,” that filmed here last winter. It follows a rogue cowboy cop (Jason Clark) and the city’s first female police chief (Jennifer Beals).

It’s too soon for the network to say if the series would be filmed here, but the possibility looks hopeful, the Reel is told.

Chicago-honed chops pay off for Ellen Fox

Ellen Fox, who is now the co-host with Brett Erlich of “The Rotten Tomatoes Show” on Current TV, learned a lot from her years here in Chicago.

The personal initiative that Fox learned to cultivate during her 10 years in Chicago taught her, she says, “I may have a manager and an agent, but I’ve still got to look for myself.”

So she jumped when she saw the ad on Craigslist: “Strong comedic performers to serve as co-host for our new movie review franchise.

“True Pioneers” African American sports hero series to air weekly on Fox Sport Net

Steve and Nefra Johnson of the Johnson Media Group are executive producers of “True Pioneers,” a new non-fiction series about unsung African American sports heroes for Fox Sports Net, beginning a five-week shoot May 30.

The series is slated to premiere in August with an hour-long special, followed by 13 weekly half-hour episodes.

Steve Johnson is a former sports agent, and former operations manager for the Chicago International Film Festival. He directed the basketball documentary “King of the Street,” which Nefra Johnson, then Nefra Burlock, hosted.

Fox’ “Prison Break” escapes from Joliet and Chicago Studio City and heads for Texas

When “Prison Break” announced in March it would resume filming a second season of the top-rated show June 15, the producers neglected to say where it would be filmed.

That the location will be Texas and not Chicago came as a shock to the 150-plus people involved in the production since last June.

The announcement was made Thursday morning by “Prison Break” producer and Texas resident Garry Brown to union and department heads on the set at Chicago Studio City.

Twenty-two episodes were shot in Chicago during the first season.

Project Greenlight vet Pete Jones sells script to
Fox for Farrelly Brothers; now back in Deerfield

Pete Jones, the inaugural Project Greenlight director, has made the big leagues.

He sold his spec script “Hall Pass” to Fox for a Farrelly Brothers production in a high-six-figure deal. The sale comes just months after Jones moved back to his native Deerfield from Los Angeles with his wife and kids.

Jones talked with ReelChicago the week of the “Hall Pass” sale, about his reinvigorated career, moving home, and tailoring his work for the studios.

ReelChicago: How did you come up with the idea for “Hall Pass?”

Fox’ “Prison Break” 13-week series to shoot this summer in Joliet and Chicago

“Prison Break”?the first series scheduled by Fox TV for its 2005-2006 season?means more than three months of production in the Chicago area. The pilot was shot in the Joliet Correctional Center last winter.

The 13-week series is expected to shoot from June through mid-September. It will film at Joliet prison and in Chicago area studio space yet to be determined.

Production offices are scheduled to set up here in May.

John Ovnik’s Deaf Dog creates a total music identity package for entire Fox Network

After Labor Day the total L.A.-based Fox Network will introduce its new identity/image music that was composed and produced over the last three months by John Ovnik’s Deaf Dog Music company.

Through a former Chicago client now the network’s director of creative services, Ovnik was invited last spring to compete against six well-known national music houses for the very large and complex identity package.

“We submitted the demos May 12 and got the job three weeks later,” he said. Delivery was Labor Day.

FX announces Fargo Season Four Cast

3+ FX has set the extraordinary ensemble cast that will star with Chris Rock in the fourth installment of the Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning limited series Fargo. Peabody, Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award winning Executive Producer Noah Hawley (creator/showrunner/writer/director) and his production company 26 Keys will lead the creative team for the latest all-new … Continue reading “FX announces Fargo Season Four Cast”

Jim Mahoney founder of Film & Tape Works passes at 71

4+ James A. Mahoney, the founder of Film & Tape Works and dear friend of many in the Chicago film community, has died at age 71. Film and Tape Works at 237 E. Ontario, was the premier production and post-production film/video house in Chicago, for over 30 years. Early in his career Jim was a … Continue reading “Jim Mahoney founder of Film & Tape Works passes at 71”

Possible ‘Empire’ spinoff in development

0 The former FOX Network juggernaut Empire, which was filmed at Chicago’s Cinespace Studios, have ended prematurely last spring due to the rampant novel coronavirus COVID-19, but you clearly can’t keep a Lyons down. There is now talk of a spinoff series starring Taraji P. Henson as matriarch Cookie Lyons. According to TheWrap, the project … Continue reading “Possible ‘Empire’ spinoff in development”