‘The Playboy Club’ ratings lost in the competition

CRITICAL REVIEWS of the debut episode of the Chicago-set NBC series The Playboy Club were, to say the least, disappointing. It attracted a painfully low 1.6/4 rating in the 18-49 demographics, which translated to a 5 million viewers. 

In Playboy Club’s defense, it was a tough night for series’ openers with heavy competition from other networks’ new series’ openers and popular established shows.

Superman flies into Chicago to film here this summer

“SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL” lands in Chicago in early summer for a reported 12 weeks of prep and 12 weeks of filming.  The  Warner Bros. blockbuster-budgeted adventure/fantasy stars handsome, young Brit star Henry Cavill  (“The Tudors”) as the Caped Crusader and feisty Amy Adams (“The Fighter”) as smart, tough, warm ambitious and adoring Lois Lane.

Chicago cop series shoots in Toronto

ANOTHER TV SERIES is set in Chicago but, like Shameless, The Good Wife and Mike and Molly, is not being filmed in Chicago. The location is Toronto, which all too often substitutes for our town. 
The family/cop drama, a genre beloved by TV networks and cable, follows policewoman Abby Kowalski (Rachael Carpani) who causes a rift with her three cop brothers when she decides to join the department’s Internal Affairs.  It also stars Treat Williams and Kathy Baker.  Universal Cable Productions is producing.

Pilots under consideration for fall debuts

PILOT UPDATES. Networks this week began screening and evaluating 68 pilots that were shot during the first quarter for possible prime-time fall series slots. Here’s the reaction to four of the six that were filmed in Chicago, according to Deadline/Hollywood:

“Ride-Along:” Shawn Ryan’s cop drama is a contender.

“Pleading Guilty:” Not getting a lot of buzz on this legal drama starring Jason Isaacs, but some say it’s heating up.

Liz Sweeney new owner of Global Video

Global Video’s Liz Sweeney has traded her general manager’s position for president of the 12-year digital services and replicating company, having purchased it from founder and former owner George Marton.

The new company has opened in more spacious offices at 1700 W. Hubbard St., vacating the 230 E. Ohio space where Marton had started the original duplicating company in 1998.

Marton, who had left Global about a year ago to run a large local machinery company, had thought about closing the company. Instead, he offered it for sale to seven-year employee Sweeney.

LaBellarte lands on Michigan Avenue

Outsider Inc., which let its staff go and moved out of its big Streeterville loft space, moved last week into what executive producer Michael Rafayko said was going to be “new and smaller space off Michigan Avenue.”

That space, however, is an executive suite on Michigan Avenue — 980 N. Michigan — where director/editor Michael LaBellarte and staff of three have set up shop.

The company is no longer Outsider, however. The company at that address, according to its website, is Altar Films, LLC.

$10,000 check for Malachi Leopold’s Sudan doc

MALACHI LEOPOLD IS BOUND FOR THE SUDAN, thanks to a $10,000 grant he received in order to make the expenses of the trip. He departs April 5 for a full month of shooting a documentary centered on one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who returns to his native village after a 22 year separation from his parents.

Leopold received the $10,000 check April 1 from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees based in Geneva, Switzerland.

He will be accompanied by DP Ian Issitt and two New York producers.

Draftfbc adds creative heavyweights

DRAFTFCB ADDED TWO TOP CREATIVES, industry veterans Doug Behm and Jon Flannery as SVP/CDs to work on the agency’s KFC account.

Since 2001, Behm was SVP/group creative director at Element79, on brands including Gatorade, Propel and Tropicana. Earlier he was a CD at FCB on Coors Light, Kraft BBQ sauce and Handi-Snacks, among others.

Flannery was most recently SVP/group CD at Leo Burnett and held the same position earlier at Element79, working on Gatorade, Propel Fitness Water, Quaker and others.

Explore Media’s new frontier

8+ Explore Media has covered a lot of terrain over the past fifteen years. Besides completing hundreds of jobs in locations throughout the United States from its original office in South Bend, the production and post company expanded to Chicago last month. Along the way, it has added a sizable number of awards to its … Continue reading “Explore Media’s new frontier”

Four Avenue veterans start editing boutique

COLONIE, A NEW EDITING BOUTIQUE, has been formed by four former Avenue Edit veterans: Producer Mary Rieger and editors Brian Stepanic, Bob Ackerman and Joe Clear, all highly favorites for big national spots.

It’s located in what had been Outsider’s original space at 610 N. Fairbanks.

Other former long-time Avenue staffers opened their own companies this year.