Joanna Hernandez joins WTTW as an on-air reporter

Joanna Hernandez has joined WTTW as an on-air reporter for its flagship news and public affairs program Chicago Tonight. Hernandez will produce and appear in general assignment news and feature stories, provide live reports from both the studio and the field, and report on the many diverse communities and neighborhoods in the Chicago region for WTTW News. … Continue reading “Joanna Hernandez joins WTTW as an on-air reporter”

Ida B. Wells ‘Chicago Stories’ premiere tonight on WTTW

On Friday, May 21 at 8:00 pm on all WTTW platforms, Ida B Wells, a one-hour Chicago Stories special and companion website, paints a deeply humanizing portrait of a woman who was uncompromising in her quest for justice. The program tells her story through interviews with her descendants and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the Ida B Wells … Continue reading “Ida B. Wells ‘Chicago Stories’ premiere tonight on WTTW”

WTTW launches The Great Chicago Quiz Show

Calling all Chicago trivia nerds! In The Great Chicago Quiz Show, a new, fast-paced weekly series premiering on Friday, March 26 at 8:00 pm on all WTTW platforms, Geoffrey Baer puts socially-distanced contestants from across Chicago and the suburbs — and viewers at home — to the test as they contemplate all things Chicago.  The contestants are as fun … Continue reading “WTTW launches The Great Chicago Quiz Show”

WTTW explores intergenerational poverty in Chicago

In Chicago, your birthplace often determines your destiny. Children born in one West Side census tract between 1978 and 1983 grew up to have a median annual household income of $16,000, according to Opportunity Insights. WTTW explores intergenerational poverty in Chicago in a documentary series, reported stories, expert talks, and community discussions. In FIRSTHAND: Living in … Continue reading “WTTW explores intergenerational poverty in Chicago”

‘Chicago From The Air’ WTTW special filmed with drone

A new special narrated by Geoffrey Baer, filmed from above, explores Chicago and its history from a new and breathtaking perspective. Imagine if you could soar, swoop, dive, and spiral through and around Chicago’s landmarks, neighborhoods, and suburbs – with a familiar voice providing engaging commentary along the way. CHICAGO FROM THE AIR, a new … Continue reading “‘Chicago From The Air’ WTTW special filmed with drone”

Chicago at the Crossroad a message of hope on WTTW

Chicago at the Crossroad, a documentary film by Chicago’s Emmy-winning producer Brian Schodorf, will air on WTTW-Chicago Thursday, November 12 @ 8pm CT and Sunday, November 15 @ 5pm CT. Compelling and candid interviews with Chicago gang members, community activists and leaders, and gunshot victims unearth important issues and exemplify the tough questions that continue … Continue reading “Chicago at the Crossroad a message of hope on WTTW”

‘The Great Chicago Fire’ to air on WTTW

This fall, WTTW tells the dramatic story of a defining and prescient moment in Chicago history, the Great Fire of 1871 when Chicagoans faced destruction, rebuilt, and prepared the city for a thriving future. The Great Chicago Fire, a one-hour Chicago Stories special, premieres on Friday, October 9 at 8:00 pm, the 149th anniversary of … Continue reading “‘The Great Chicago Fire’ to air on WTTW”

WTTW News launches new shows on CHICAGO TONIGHT

WTTW News today announced it will launch CHICAGO TONIGHT: LATINO VOICES and CHICAGO TONIGHT: BLACK VOICES, two additions to its influential and independent news and public affairs content and an extension of one of Chicago’s flagship news shows. These half-hour programs premiere on Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm and Sunday, September 13 at 6:00 pm on WTTW … Continue reading “WTTW News launches new shows on CHICAGO TONIGHT”

WTTW tonight Eastland: The Shipwreck That Shook America

With sound and editing by Andrew Twiss, score by Steve Rashid, and additional design and surround sound by Sam Fishkin, EASTLAND features rare footage from the day of the disaster and CGI enhanced re-creations of the event that occurred in the Chicago River 105 years ago today. EASTLAND: THE SHIPWRECK THAT SHOOK AMERICA is the … Continue reading “WTTW tonight Eastland: The Shipwreck That Shook America”

Nelson Algren documentary premieres on WTTW

Montrose Pictures has announced that Algren, the feature length documentary about the award-winning writer, Nelson Algren, will premiere on WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station, this month, running on July 24-27th.  Algren spotlights the creative legacy of one of the most underrated writers of the twentieth century.  It was directed by Michael Caplan, Associate Professor in Cinema and Television Arts.   … Continue reading “Nelson Algren documentary premieres on WTTW”

WTTW News correspondents host a virtual town hall

WTTW News correspondents and producers Brandis Friedman and Paris Schutz hosted a virtual town hall meeting, WTTW NEWS: COVERING COVID-19, to share their experiences producing local news in the age of COVID-19 with Chicago/Illinois journalism students. The town hall was recorded on May 22 from the CHICAGO TONIGHT studio, and remotely from participant’s homes. Viewers can … Continue reading “WTTW News correspondents host a virtual town hall”

FIRSTHAND: Coronavirus WTTW Documentary Series

FIRSTHAND: CoronavirusOne-Hour Special Compiled from WTTW Digital Documentary SeriesMonday, May 18, 9:00 pm and Thursday, May 21 at 8:00 pm on WTTW#FIRSTHANDwttw In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WTTW hit the streets of Chicago to film the 15-part digital series FIRSTHAND: Coronavirus, produced and released in real time, that explored the personal, firsthand perspectives of a … Continue reading “FIRSTHAND: Coronavirus WTTW Documentary Series”

FIRSTHAND: Coronavirus new WTTW digital docuseries

The coronavirus pandemic is a public health crisis unlike any that Chicago has faced in living memory. How are our citizens reacting to its challenges, and who is stepping forward to help keep the city safe and functioning as COVID-19 sweeps through Chicago, America, and the rest of the world? In a multi-part digital series produced … Continue reading “FIRSTHAND: Coronavirus new WTTW digital docuseries”

WTTW debuts “Chicago by ‘L’ with Geoffrey Baer”

Nothing says Chicago like the rumble of an ‘L’ train overhead. Featured in countless movies and television shows, the ‘L’ is recognized worldwide as an iconic part of the city’s landscape and an easy, affordable ticket to explore Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. Chicago by ‘L’ with Geoffrey Baer, a new documentary and website that will debut … Continue reading “WTTW debuts “Chicago by ‘L’ with Geoffrey Baer””

Chicago-made ‘Flavor of Poland’ airs on WTTW

Flavor of Poland, a new culinary travel series about Poland, is currently airing on WTTW Channel 11. The first, full television series to focus exclusively on Poland in the history of American media, the show provides a deeper look into Polish history, culture and culinary heritage. Chicago-based production company Independent Film Factory Inc. — together … Continue reading “Chicago-made ‘Flavor of Poland’ airs on WTTW”

WTTW announces new 2019 holiday programming

WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station, will present a variety of holiday specials and concerts as part of its 2019 holiday programming schedule throughout December. This year’s lineup explores the backgrounds and celebrates the traditions of holidays all over the world, including performances and ensembles as well as specials that examine the contemporary customs of Christmas and … Continue reading “WTTW announces new 2019 holiday programming”

WTTW explores impact of gun violence in ‘Firsthand’

Documentary series, reported Stories, expert talks, and community engagement launches Tuesday, November 12, at wttw.com/firsthand The number of victims of Chicago’s gun violence may fluctuate, but the psychological trauma in many neighborhoods is constant. How do wounded communities heal? In a new multi-platform initiative titled, Firsthand: Gun Violence, WTTW explores the personal, firsthand perspectives of … Continue reading “WTTW explores impact of gun violence in ‘Firsthand’”

WTTW celebrates Ken Burns’ ‘Country Music’

Channel 11 will deliver the eight-part series about the uniquely American art form on TV and online   WTTW Ch. 11 will begin airing Ken Burns’ new 16-hour documentary, Country Music next week. Directed by Burns — along with writer and co-producer Dayton Duncan and producer Julie Dunfrey — the eight-part series explores the stories, … Continue reading “WTTW celebrates Ken Burns’ ‘Country Music’”

PBS, WTTW announce ‘Prehistoric Road Trip’

New three-part natural history series brings life to extinct worlds in the Western U.S. beginning summer 2020 Today at the Television Critics Association press tour, PBS and WTTW Chicago announced Prehistoric Road Trip, a three-part natural history series that combines science, culture and history and brings viewers along for an unforgettable expedition through hundreds of … Continue reading “PBS, WTTW announce ‘Prehistoric Road Trip’”

Molly of Denali premieres July 15 on WTTW

Groundbreaking new series offers an adventurous mix of Alaska Native Values, and exciting education On Monday, July 15, a groundbreaking new animated series called Molly of Denali will begin sharing Alaska Native culture and values on WTTW Kids. Produced by WGBH Boston, the show will be the first nationally distributed children’s series to feature a … Continue reading “Molly of Denali premieres July 15 on WTTW”

WTTW premieres season two of ‘Urban Nature’ March 20

Watch host Marcus Kronforst eat a salad made of greens picked from an alley in Chicago at wttw.com/urbannature If you know where to look, you’ll find the most surprising slices of nature thriving amidst the urban jungle of America’s largest cities. In season 2 of WTTW’s digital series Urban Nature, University of Chicago evolutionary biologist … Continue reading “WTTW premieres season two of ‘Urban Nature’ March 20”

WTTW’s “Chicago on Vacation” with Geoffrey Baer

WTTW special revisits the great Midwest family road trip with Geoffrey Baer When your family piled into the car for a vacation, where did you go? Starved Rock? Lake Geneva? The Wisconsin Dells? Maybe the Indiana Dunes? Or Michigan’s Harbor Country? The road trip is a time-honored tradition, and “are we there yet?” is a … Continue reading “WTTW’s “Chicago on Vacation” with Geoffrey Baer”

WTTW Chicago among first to air ‘Victoria’ season 3

The Masterpiece hit period drama series premieres Sunday January 13 at 8 pm on WTTW11 and wttw.com/watch (Chicago — 19 December 2018)    It is 1848, and revolution is breaking out across Europe. In Britain, one woman stands between order and chaos: Queen Victoria. Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) stars as the young but fearless monarch, facing … Continue reading “WTTW Chicago among first to air ‘Victoria’ season 3”

WTTW unveils variety of holiday programming

From William Shatner to The Food Network, Channel 11 offers a little something for everyone this holiday season   For most Midwesterners, the winter season is marked with holiday festivities and curling up on the couch to escape the cold. Thankfully, WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station, offers unique holiday entertainment – because your watch list is … Continue reading “WTTW unveils variety of holiday programming”

Lake Forest Academy doc to air Oct. 25-27 on WTTW

A new film by Mike Leonard and Mary Kay Wall highlights the school’s unique approach and diverse experiences (Chicago — 5 October 2018) Lake Forest Academy is proud to announce a new film about the school’s global approach to education. Global Generation will have a free public screening on the LFA campus on Monday, October … Continue reading “Lake Forest Academy doc to air Oct. 25-27 on WTTW”

Alpana Singh returns to WTTW’s ‘CHECK, PLEASE!’

The host will also add weekly stories to the series’ website, which contains more than 650 reviews featured over the course of the show (Chicago — 3 October 2018) WTTW’s Emmy-winning local restaurant review series CHECK, PLEASE! premieres its 18th season with a familiar face in the hosting chair! Alpana Singh, noted local restaurateur and … Continue reading “Alpana Singh returns to WTTW’s ‘CHECK, PLEASE!’”

WTTW explores Chicago art and design history

New four-part series expores the 1893 Columbian Exposition, Black Metropolis of Art, adverting and outdoor murals (Chicago — 18 September 2018) WTTW, as a part of the yearlong Art Design Chicago initiative, is developing a new four-part documentary series and website in partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art. ART & DESIGN IN CHICAGO … Continue reading “WTTW explores Chicago art and design history”

Chicago Rev. Clay Evans doc airs Friday on WTTW

(Chicago — 15 May 2018) The Chicago-produced, half-hour documentary It Is No Secret – The Life and Inspiration of Reverend Clay Evans will air on WTTW Ch. 11 this coming Friday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. The film uses oral histories, archival photos, broadcasts, and music recordings to paint a portrait of Rev. Clay Evans, … Continue reading “Chicago Rev. Clay Evans doc airs Friday on WTTW”

WTTW online series celebrates Pilsen

The latest short documentary in WTTW’s online series, My Neighborhood Pilsen, focuses on Lincoln United Methodist Church’s role in providing sanctuary for international asylum seekers. Opening with footage of a speech by US Representative Louis Guitierrez, Inside a Church at the Forefront of Chicago’s Santuary Movement highlights the deeply personal struggles intensified by the Trump … Continue reading “WTTW online series celebrates Pilsen”

WTTW special traces Navy Pier’s 100 years of history

Navy Pier celebrates its 100 anniversary this year and its colorful history — from under-used shipping terminal, to military training center, to university, to rough-edged concert venue, to top tourist attraction — will be told in WTTW/11’s special Thursday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m.

“Navy Pier is one place everyone in Chicago has visited, but experienced in different ways,” comments producer Eddie Griffin, who co-wrote the 60-minute script with show host Geoffrey Baer.

WTTW0516

NATHYN MASTERS’ guerilla style apocalyptic thriller “4th Beast: Mask of the Antichrist” has been picked up for DVD release by York Entertainment of Sherman Oaks, Calif. Masters’ Timecode Mechanics produced the DV feature last winter. Masters is in development on his followup, the martial arts pic “Silvergun Samurai,” for production next year. He’s writing a … Continue reading “WTTW0516”

Renee Crown Media Center new name of WTTW building

After more than 50 years of simply being called “the broadcast facility,” WTTW’s three-storey building at 5400 N. St. Louis on the Northeastern University campus, will have a meaningful new name. 

As of April 15, the building will be known as “The Renee Crown Public Media Center,” made possible through the generosity of a gift from the billionaire Crown family of Chicago.

WTTW joins cost saving, single master control venture

A $7 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will fund start-up costs for a single master control venture called the Digital Convergence Alliance (DCA), between WTTW/Ch. 11, lead station WJCT, Jacksonville, Florida where the transmissions will take place, and eight other public TV stations. 

The master control, scheduled to become operational in the spring of 2013, will provide DCA stations with a reliable, long-term broadcast traffic and control operation and meaningful cost savings.   

WTTW Seeks Interns for Series

July 23, 2012


We are currently working on the new documentary, Remembering Chicago: The 70s & 80s – the fifth installment of the wildly popular “Remembering Chicago” series.  The television program will explore Chicagoland from the years 1970 to 1985 through interviews, archival images and films.  The production is expected to be complete and broadcast by late November 2012.

Launch of WTTW Digital Archives offer online stock purchase of 14,000 shows

WTTW is the first public television station to offer stock footage purchases from its extensive 50-year video history online.

It launched WTTW Digital Archives after five months of intense work in conjunction with Media Recall.

More than 14,000 individual show and B-roll clips are currently available for online browsing and purchase at wttwdigitalarchives.com.

Official trailer for THE CHI 4th season premiere Sunday

SHOWTIME released the official trailer for the fourth season of the Chicago hit drama series THE CHI. Created and executive produced by Emmy winner Lena Waithe and executive produced by Academy Award, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Common, THE CHI  returns on Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. THE CHI is a timely coming-of-age story centering on a group of residents … Continue reading “Official trailer for THE CHI 4th season premiere Sunday”

Free Spirit Media celebrates 20 years of Media Magic

On Thursday, May 20, Free Spirit Media celebrates 20 years of media magic, 8,000+ participants, 50,000+ unique pieces, and 1,000,000+ views. This momentous occasion demarcates how its participants have used media to create the world they envision-past, present, and future.  Free Spirit Media, a North Lawndale based, Emmy award winning nonprofit and social enterprise has … Continue reading “Free Spirit Media celebrates 20 years of Media Magic”

37th Chicago Latino Film Audience Choice Award wins

The 37th Chicago Latino Film Festival announces the winners and runners-up for the Audience Choice Awards. The Audience Choice Award for Best Feature went to The Heist of the Century, Argentinian director Ariel Winograd’s heist comedy about the most famous and audacious bank robbery in Argentina’s history starring Guillermo Francella (The Secret in Their Eyes) … Continue reading “37th Chicago Latino Film Audience Choice Award wins”

New stills from tonight’s Chicago PD ‘Protect and Serve’

One Chicago is back this Wednesday with new episodes and NBC has released new stills from this week’s exciting Chicago PD Season 8, Episode 8, ‘Protect and Serve‘. In the episode, veteran police officer Dave Wheelan pulls over a young Black college student on a traffic violation. The situation quickly escalates out of control and ends with a shooting, … Continue reading “New stills from tonight’s Chicago PD ‘Protect and Serve’”

Harry Lennix confirms he’s Martian Manhunter

Acclaimed actor Harry Lennix (The Matrix, Man of Steel) may have been born in Chicago, but soon the 56-year-old star, star of television’s hit series Blacklist will be from Mars – as Martian Manhunter in HBO Max’s upcoming Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The veteran stage and screen actor confirmed that his appearance will reveal that … Continue reading “Harry Lennix confirms he’s Martian Manhunter”

Two Chicago Bachelorettes vie for Matt James’ rose

Thirty-two incredible women went in for love with Matt James when the exciting, landmark 25th edition of The Bachelor premiered on MONDAY, JAN. 4 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on ABC.  By the end of night one, 24 lucky bachelorettes remained to toast the Bachelor and join him on the romantic adventure of a lifetime! Two of them were from … Continue reading “Two Chicago Bachelorettes vie for Matt James’ rose”

From holiday classics to one-of-a-kind concerts

This holiday season, WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station, and WFMT, Chicago’s classical radio station, will present a variety of special content throughout the holiday season. From holiday classics to one-of-a-kind concerts featuring some of the world’s best musicians, WTTW and WFMT’s holiday programming offers festive content for all. New and notable WTTW holiday programming includes: A Charlie Brown … Continue reading “From holiday classics to one-of-a-kind concerts”

Lawrence talks legends in Legacy: From Horns to House

Legacy: Horns to House is the story of a Chicago cultural evolution told through the eyes of a person who grew up during it. Fortunately for viewers, the eyes happen to belong to Vince Lawrence, the son of a Windy City record label owner who teamed up with his buddy Jesse Saunders to record “On … Continue reading “Lawrence talks legends in Legacy: From Horns to House”

Congratulations to the 2020 Chicago Emmy recipients

Reel Chicago congratulates the winners of the 62nd Chicago / Midwest Emmy Awards. A big shout out to two of our loyal advertisers, October TV and WTTW for taking home Emmys. The Chicago / Midwest Emmy Awards are presented annually for outstanding achievements in broadcasting. Members come from all areas of the industry and include … Continue reading “Congratulations to the 2020 Chicago Emmy recipients”

Sarofsky talks details on doc series, ‘A Mystery to Me’

The filmmakers behind A Mystery to Me, a new documentary series that aims to raise awareness of the rare neuromuscular disease myasthenia gravis (MG), give details on their innovative production approach behind the heartfelt project. Following last month’s debut as part of the Chicago International Film Festival, on Nov. 17, the series will premiere on MG-United.com, … Continue reading “Sarofsky talks details on doc series, ‘A Mystery to Me’”

Pritzker announces commitment to digital equity

Governor JB Pritzker announced a new Digital Equity Package, enlisting state, local, nonprofit and philanthropic support to address gaps in digital access, adoption, and affordability for high-speed internet access. The comprehensive approach is designed to help communities identify and address existing broadband equity gaps, as well as to leverage new and existing sources of funding … Continue reading “Pritzker announces commitment to digital equity”

Art on theMART resumes with all new program

In partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Art on theMART will resume projections on Thursday, November 12 with an all-new program. The 30-minute program of projections will be shown nightly at 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. through December 30, and can be viewed for free from the jetty section of the Chicago … Continue reading “Art on theMART resumes with all new program”

A Conversation with Bob Hercules & Keith Walker

Chicago Filmmakers is pleased to announce two new editions of Masterwork: Industry Conversations, a series of virtual interviews with long established and award-winning filmmakers followed by a Q&A session with the audience. On Thursday, October 29 at 6:30PM CST, Chicago filmmaking duo Bob Hercules and Keith Walker from Media Process Group (MPG) will be joining … Continue reading “A Conversation with Bob Hercules & Keith Walker”

2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List

Congratulations to our friends and advertisers who have received nominations for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy. The 62nd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will broadcast virtually in November. Regions covered by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter include Chicago, Illinois; Peoria-Bloomington, Illinois; Rockford, Illinois; South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana; Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisconsin; and Madison, Wisconsin. Here is the complete list … Continue reading “2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List”

‘Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago’ lineup

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced the lineup of Chicago and national celebrities who have come together to celebrate and pay tribute to the over 35,000 graduating high school seniors across Chicago. “Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago.” is a live, commercial-free 60-minute ceremony hosted and co-created by the City of Chicago and Citadel to … Continue reading “‘Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago’ lineup”

Chicago takes a home a bundle of Telly Awards

The 41st annual Telly Awards, the world’s largest honor for video and television content across all screens, has announced the 2020 winners. With a collection of Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, Chicago-based standouts range from Bottle Rocket Media’s “Nicholas Brinley Experiences” and Studio 1847’s “Make It With Menards: Glassblower Jason Wein” to There Be Dragons LLC’s “Dustburgs” and Iron Light, PACO Collective, WTTW … Continue reading “Chicago takes a home a bundle of Telly Awards”

A CITY AT WAR: CHICAGO Chicagoland during WW II

A CITY AT WAR: CHICAGO, narrated by legendary journalist Bill Kurtis, is a comprehensive telling of nearly everything that happened in Chicagoland during World War II.  This one-hour documentary won the 2018 Chicago International Television Festival Gold Plaque Award for best nonfiction program, and is currently airing on more than 130 public television stations across … Continue reading “A CITY AT WAR: CHICAGO Chicagoland during WW II”

Lightfoot launches weekly series ‘Stay Home. Hit Play.’

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Citadel today announced the launch of Stay Home. Hit Play., a twice-weekly video series on WTTW that will bring engaging, educational programming from Chicago institutions to students and families across the city. The series will partner with the city’s museums and cultural institutions to invite students to go behind the scenes … Continue reading “Lightfoot launches weekly series ‘Stay Home. Hit Play.’”

Meet the brains behind Mind Exchange Music

As productions across the globe come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, most filmmakers have found themselves with a lot of time on their hands. Some have turned to sourdough bread baking and Tiger King, while others have decided to revisit back-burnered personal projects. Around the country, temporarily shelved footage has been brought to … Continue reading “Meet the brains behind Mind Exchange Music”

‘CHICAGO TONIGHT’ provides local coverage of COVID

CHICAGO TONIGHT, correspondent/producer Paris Schutz reports live from Chicago neighborhoods highlighting community challenges and solutions The sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has radically altered everyday life for Chicagoans as they try to adjust to a new normal. Now more than ever, our communities need fact-based news and trusted information about this developing public health crisis. … Continue reading “‘CHICAGO TONIGHT’ provides local coverage of COVID”

Submit for Season 2 of Netflix’s ‘Love is Blind’ here

Single Chicagoans, here’s your chance to be cast on the second season of the popular Netflix Show Love is Blind. The first season of took viewers by storm with its absurd premise: Is Love Blind? Can a group of single men and women, having only spoken through a wall, never seeing one another face to … Continue reading “Submit for Season 2 of Netflix’s ‘Love is Blind’ here”

DCASE shares list of support resources for the arts

Due to the enormous economic impact the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is having an on our local arts community, the City of Chicago is aggressively exploring financial supports for this sector. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) shares a partial list of the many local and national efforts to support our artists and arts … Continue reading “DCASE shares list of support resources for the arts”

ChiFilmFest announces 2019 audience winners

‘Just Mercy,’ ‘And Then We Danced,’ ‘Ready for War’ take top honors at 55th Chicago International Film Festival   The Chicago International Film Festival today announced the winners of the Festival Audience Awards, presented by Xfinity. Voted by Festival-goers, the Audience Award for Best Feature goes to Just Mercy by director Destin Daniel Cretton. The … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest announces 2019 audience winners”

‘Check, Please!’ returns October 25 for Season 19

WTTW’s restaurant review series will visit Chicago “hot spots and hangouts” with host Alpana Singh WTTW’s Emmy-winning local restaurant review series Check, Please! returns for its 19th season with host Alpana Singh, noted local restaurateur and master sommelier, on Friday, October 25 at 8:00 pm on WTTW11 and wttw.com/checkplease, which also includes video of each … Continue reading “‘Check, Please!’ returns October 25 for Season 19”

‘Three Hours’ wins ChiFilmFest’s $20K Pitch

Aemilia Scott, Holli McGinley film follows a single mother living on the edge of Chicago’s Humboldt Park The 55th Chicago International Film Festival has announced the winner of The Pitch at the 5th edition of Industry Days: Three Hours, directed by Aemilia Scott and produced by Holli McGinley. The film follows a single mother living … Continue reading “‘Three Hours’ wins ChiFilmFest’s $20K Pitch”

ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch”

Five film projects to compete for $20,000 awards package of in-kind goods and services   The 55th Chicago International Film Festival announced a slate of five narrative feature film projects in active development that will be pitched in front of a live audience and a panel of distinguished industry judges during the Festival’s Industry Days … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch””

ChiFilmFest unveils Industry Days agenda

Master Classes with Oscar and Sundance winners are just a few of the events scheduled for October 17-20 program     The 55th Chicago International Film Festival announced today the program for Industry Days (October 17-20, 2019) with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the film and entertainment community.   A … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest unveils Industry Days agenda”

ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs

“Knives Out” starring Daniel Craig among first round of films announced for 55th run, October 16-27 Mimi Plauché, Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival, today announced titles selected for the Galas and Special Presentations programs for the 55th edition of the Festival. Offering movie lovers a first look at the year’s most highly … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs”

TimeZoneOne named AOR for Navy Pier

The tourist “must-see” destination named indie agency TimeZoneOne its Agency of Record for branding campaign With more than 9 million visitors annually, The Navy Pier is without doubt one of Chicago’s (and the Midwest’s) most popular destinations. And now the tourist “must-see” has named indie creative communications agency TimeZoneOne AOR. TZO’s first project for the … Continue reading “TimeZoneOne named AOR for Navy Pier”

2019 CineYouth audience and jury awards

”No Such Sunrise” and “Mad Lib Pixie Dream Girl” earn top honors from passionate global audience CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced award winners for the 2019 program that was held April 26-28 at the Music Box Theatre. No Such Sunrise — by 22 year olds Dana Brandes-Simon, Laura Li, and Cella Wright from Oberlin, … Continue reading “2019 CineYouth audience and jury awards”

‘Jawline’ to open CineYouth Festival

Director Liza Mandelup’s teen-focused doc that wowed at Sundance screens April 26 at the Music Box CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, today announced the Opening Night presentation of award-winning documentary Jawline, directed by Liza Mandelup, which had its world at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Jawline follows 16-year-old Austyn Tester, a rising star in the … Continue reading “‘Jawline’ to open CineYouth Festival”

CineYouth unveils 2019 film and program schedule

Cinema/Chicago’s young filmmaker celebration will light up the Music Box Theatre with 64 films screening April 26-28 Celebrating its 15th edition in 2019, CineYouth, presented by Cinema/Chicago, yesterday announced the selection of 64 thrilling and diverse short films for a weekend of free screenings, discussions, and events. The three-day film festival will be held April … Continue reading “CineYouth unveils 2019 film and program schedule”

The 35th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival

The two-week event launches on March 28 with Icían Bollaín’s “Yuli” followed by a “Noche Cubana” celebration The 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will take place March 28-April 11 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. and will feature over 100 feature-length and short films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and … Continue reading “The 35th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival”

Reel Black List: Chakka Reeves, creative producer, mentor

The versatile pro has a proven knack for making an impact on film sets as well as classrooms Chakka Reeves is a creative producer, coach, and workforce development specialist who has been mentoring young artists and producing films for more than a dozen years. The corporations, institutions, and organizations that have benefitted from Chakka’s full … Continue reading “Reel Black List: Chakka Reeves, creative producer, mentor”

Chicago Latino Film Fest unveils poster for 35th run

Rome-based Polish artist Michal Tadeusz Golanski’s design celebrates women’s contribution to the art form   The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC), producer of the Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF), is proud to announce the winner of the 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival Poster Contest: Rome-based Polish graphic artist Michal Tadeusz Golanski. A graduate … Continue reading “Chicago Latino Film Fest unveils poster for 35th run”

Thanksgiving break: holiday viewing suggestions

From hip-hop snow angels to Lego parades, an adult-sized portion of casually-vetted Chicago content to help readers get the most out of the holiday Falling onto a couch in front of a TV is the final and most relaxing course of every good Thanksgiving meal. It pairs well with prime time football, Charlie Brown, The … Continue reading “Thanksgiving break: holiday viewing suggestions”

Children’s Fest winners announced by Facets, CIFF

“The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales: ‘A Baby to Deliver,’” “The Little Fish and the Crocodile,” and “Beauty” among this year’s recipients (Chicago — 12 November 2018) Facets’ 35th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival hosted its Closing Night Ceremony on November 9, 2018 at the DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media Theater, … Continue reading “Children’s Fest winners announced by Facets, CIFF”

The 2018 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards

The 60th annual celebration of the standard bearers for excellence in the television broadcasting industry   The 2018 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, Chicago Ballroom, 540 N. Michigan.       The Nominees Outstanding Achievement for News Programming – Evening Newscast: Larger … Continue reading “The 2018 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards”

Hollywood Comes to Chicago — 1979

“Blues Brothers” director John Landis describes impending explosions while scouting locations in John Davies’ vintage short film In 1979, Chicago filmmaker John Davies produced a short titled, Hollywood Comes to Chicago, that featured a tour through the Windy City and its film production industry. He planned to submit the piece to WTTW’s Image Union, a … Continue reading “Hollywood Comes to Chicago — 1979”

Black Harvest Film Festival at the Siskel Center

The Midwest’s largest and longest-running Black film festival presents a combined total of over 60 narrative features, documentaries, and shorts     The 24th annual Black Harvest Film Festival opens on Saturday, August 4 when filmmakers and VIPs gather to celebrate the presentation of the Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership and shorts … Continue reading “Black Harvest Film Festival at the Siskel Center”

Chicagoans fondly remember Elizabeth Brackett

Through decades of award-winning work, the Windy City journalist created a legacy of good will, sharp reporting, and strong friendships   (Chicago — 19 June 2018) Journalist and Chicago Tonight host Elizabeth Brackett, who passed away Sunday afternoon, earned respect and affection throughout her career. A graduate of New Trier High School and Indiana University, … Continue reading “Chicagoans fondly remember Elizabeth Brackett”

CLFF launches April 5 with “Night of Puerto Rico”

The Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will launch its 34th annual celebration with a “Night of Puerto Rico” gala on Thursday, April 5. The event begins with a pair of highly anticipated film premieres at AMC River East and continues with a cocktail reception at nearby Chez, 247 E. Ontario. Raúl Marchand Sánchez’s new comedy, … Continue reading “CLFF launches April 5 with “Night of Puerto Rico””

LSG Partner Jerry Glover to retire in 2018

In January, entertainment lawyer Jerry Glover will enter the next phase of a career that began with a dream role in the Christmas Opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, when he was a nine-year-old kid in Arkansas. “They restaged it for an actual stage production and cast me as the lead,” he recalls. “It was … Continue reading “LSG Partner Jerry Glover to retire in 2018”

New doc details Chicago’s role during WWII

Earlier this month, WTTW premiered a new documentary from former WTTW producers John Davies and Brian Kallies. Titled A City at War: Chicago, it aired during the PBS station’s special Veteran’s Day programming Narrated by Bill Kurtis, the new 60-minute film vividly traces significant events that took place in Chicago and the suburbs during World … Continue reading “New doc details Chicago’s role during WWII”

WYCC sold for over $100 million less than its worth

The sale of Chicago’s second public TV station may have cost the city college system $130 million, according to the results of a six-month investigation contained in this article. Calculated in terms of potential income, the loss was just one of many negative factors that continue to affect Chicago as a result of the Federal … Continue reading “WYCC sold for over $100 million less than its worth”

Breaking: WYCC to “cease all broadcast operations”

The shutdown appears to be a casualty of the FCC’s “spectrum auction” that began in March 2016 In a matter of weeks, WYCC Ch. 20 will be no more. Reel Chicago received reports that the station notified approximately a dozen employees this morning that their final day on the job will be Nov. 27. The … Continue reading “Breaking: WYCC to “cease all broadcast operations””

Cutters-edited ‘Princess Cyd’ wins at Chi Film Fest

The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival announced its winners Friday night and one of the films awarded was a Cutters Studios post project by writer / director Stephen Cone called Princess Cyd. The film was given “The Chicago Award.” A Chicago-based filmmaker, Cone is best known for 2015’s Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, which was hailed … Continue reading “Cutters-edited ‘Princess Cyd’ wins at Chi Film Fest”

Staff adds, changes at Cap Gun, Periscope, DDB

NAMES IN THE NEWS. Industry veteran Tom Fletcher, the former Fletcher Camera & Lenses executive, was named director of sales at Fujifilm’s optical devices division. In his new post, Fletcher, who has been consulting for the company for almost a year, will oversee sales and promotion of Fujifilm’s broadcast and cinema lenses in North America, reporting to division VP Gordon Tubbs and working out of a Lake Forest office.

HistoryMakers’ Jarrett TV talk to air on national PBS

AN EVENING WITH VALERIE JARRETT,” a presentation of The HistoryMakers, the massive archive of interviews with notable African American leaders now part of the Library of Congress, airs on WTTW/11 today and tomorrow.

The interview with President Obama’s senior advisor about her rich life and career will air on national PBS in February. The program is dedicated in honor of Gwen Ifill, the late PBS media journalist who had hosted many HistoryMakers’ interviews in Washington, D.C. over the past 10 years.

Nominations announced for Chicago/Midwest Emmy awards

The 2016 Chicago/Midwest regional Emmy nominations were announced this week simultaneously in Chicago and Milwaukee this week – more than 200 recognitions in 41 categories of broadcast programming.

Winners will be announced at the 58th annual Emmy Awards ceremony Dec. 3 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown, 540 N. Michigan.

Highland Park-based Bitter Jester Creative garnered six Crafts Achievement Off-Air category nods; October Productions scored three. On the broadcast side, Fox overwhelmed with a record 27 nominations.

Ch. 11 to air Superbowl winning “’85 Bears” doc 9/7

Thirty years ago last January, the 1985 Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka was carried off the New Orleans Superdome turf after the Bears demolished the New England Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX on Jan. 26, 1986.

Now a feature-length doc brings that memorable victory back to life. “’85 Bears: The Greatest Team in Pro Football History” will premiere in for Chicago audiences Wednesday, Sept. 7 on WTTW/11 at 8 p.m.

Norton’s 15th film, a Hollywood spoof, is in post

Multi-award winning indie filmmaker John Wesley Norton of Boomstick Films of Downstate Maple Park, is “working tirelessly” to complete postproduction of his feature mockumentary, “Private Screening.”

The 85-minute comedy, about a Hollywood crowd that comes together to watch a new film from an up-and-coming director, is largely improvised by the talented cast, in the vein of Christopher Guest’s “For Your Consideration,” Norton says.

“Heroes on Deck” reveals WWII sunken aircraft secrets

How 100 World War II aircraft ended up on the bottom of Lake Michigan and revealed a secret U.S. Navy training operation, is the subject of an intriguing documentary to air on WTTW/11.

Hourlong “Heroes on Deck: World War II on Lake Michigan” will be broadcast as part of the PBS station’s Memorial Day observance May 26 at 9 p.m. and May 29 at 6 p.m. and on PBS stations nationally.

Clorox business returns to FCB after 20 year absence

IT’S A WELCOME HOMECOMING for the massive Clorox portfolio of brands, globally, which has moved back to FCB after a 20 year run with DDB, following an account review that began last December.

The account spent $269 million on measured media on its main brand in 2015.

The household product giant ended its 71-year relationship with FCB’s San Francisco office in 1996 when it consolidated its business at DDB. It was billing $71 million at that time.

The Whitehouse and Burnett the big TV Awards winners

Chicago agencies and post houses overwhelmed last week’s International Television Awards, scoring 10 out of 12 top awards for excellence in TV commercials. The awards were held Wednesday, April 20, at the AMC River North theatres before a full house.

The Whitehouse post scored four awards and Leo Burnett earned three.

Chicago-created spots dominate TV Awards’ finalists

Out of the 21 finalists in the upcoming Chicago International Television Awards, 16 spots came from Chicago-based agencies: eight spots from Leo Burnett; three from DDB Chicago, two from Pinnacle Advertising, Schaumburg and one each from Cramer-Krasselt, Digitas and Cavalry.

One finalist each from Iris New York, BBDO/New York, TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York and Innocean Worldwide, Seoul, Korea.

The Whitehouse edited nine of the finalist spots.

Agency SCC’s New Year starts with a new account

AGENCY SCC starts 2014 with new business from Evanston-based Kerrygold USA, importers of Ireland-made butter and cheese.  Said Molly O’Loughlin, Kerrygold USA’s marketing director, in announcing their new agency: “SCC is a food expert that knows our consumers and most importantly, they are scrappy enough to help us grow our business in any kind of market.”

Top docmakers collaborate on school closings impact

In an unprecedented collaboration, filmmakers from documentary powerhouses Kartemquin Films, Media Process Group, Siskel/Jacobs Productions, and The Kindling Group are documenting the aftermath of the largest mass school closure in U.S. history.

“We’ve all worked together in different capacities, but putting us all together is unprecedented,” says Bob Hercules, co-owner of Media Process Group.

Halas’ family hosts Ch. 11 Czech doc benefit Feb. 17

George Halas was intensely proud of his triple identity: son of Bohemian immigrants, lifelong Chicagoan and founder of the Chicago Bears.

Now his descendants are using their good name and high profile to assist fundraising efforts for veteran producers Susan Marcinkus and Larry Jacobs’ documentary on Chicago’s Czech community, part of WTTW/11’s series on the city’s ethnic groups.

No surprise here: Burnett top Hugo Awards TV winner

Leo Burnett is usually always the biggest winner of double digit awards for TV commercial excellence in the international competitions it enters throughout the year and the 48th annual Hugo Awards for Television Excellence was no exception.

Out of 132 winners from throughout the world for spots and TV shows who took home Silver Hugos, Gold and Silver Plaques and Certificates of Merit, Leo Burnett needed a special cart to lug home its 19 prizes.

Lyric goes full-throttle on “Show Boat” ad campaign

“Show Boat” has docked at Lyric Opera of Chicago.  This vintage piece of American musical theater now upon the vast and wickedly demanding stage at Lyric Opera represents a major adjustment in marketing strategy for one of the world’s leading opera companies.

For most of its nearly 60-year history, Lyric has produced grand opera — large-scale works ranging from “La Bohemia” to “La Traviata” and everything in between. And for most of its history, Lyric simply put its season ticket packages on sale and watched the season practically sell out in fairly short order.

17 Non-broadcasting entries vie for 2011 Emmy Awards

Come November’s 2011 Emmy Awards ceremonies, a very large number of broadcasting persons and entities among scores of contenders, will take home a coveted Emmy statuette as winners in 27 Outstanding Achievement categories.

Of those 27 categories, 15 will honor achievements in programming, commercials and crafts produced by 17 local and regional production companies other than broadcasters, as shown below. 

Luminair films Rick Bayless’ 8th TV season

George Elder’s Luminair is in post on the eighth season of “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” PBS’ top-rated cooking show hosted by restaurateur/chef Rick Bayless.  

It will air in early September on WTTW/11 and 90% of PBS stations.

Accompanied by the Luminair crew, Bayless, the colorful owner of Frontera and Topolobampo restaurants, visits a different part of Mexico each season to discover traditional Mexican cuisine that can be prepared with modern interpretations.

Composer Steve Samler wins top fest prize for doc score

COMPOSER/SOUND DESIGNER STEVE SAMLER chalks up another award with his Best Score/Soundtrack win from the Los Angeles Reel Film Festival, the virtual festival that honors independent filmmakers and writers.  

Samler’s score was for feature-length doc, The Forest Prince and the Pig Man (Hitchhiking in America), produced by acclaimed reality TV producer/documentarian Craig Constantine.

Sci-fi ‘Breathers’ short a Pipeline contest finalist

FILMMAKER ADRIANNA MCKINLEY’S character-driven sci-fi short drama, Breathers, based on the Breathers comic book by Justin Madson, is in postproduction being readied for two local film festivals this fall.

The story is about a young girl who attempts suicide by breathing the planet’s deadly air, but discovers she can breathe it without ill effects and she sets out to learn why. Her brother believes the deadly air is a government plot to control society.

Tribune stations dish up ‘Best Bites’ reality TV

AMERICA’S BEST BITES is a new half-hour reality show from Tribune Broadcasting, where the hosts take tips from viewers via Facebook and Twitter and travel to those areas to sample the “must eat” fare.

Hosts are Ted Brunson, host of Chicago’s Best, and L.A.-based Natalie Forte, who has hosted and reported features for ABC Family and Reelz Channel.

“Playboy” pilot shoot starts in mid-March

“PLAYBOY,” THE NBC PILOT, about the start of the Playboy Clubs in Chicago, about the opening of the first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963 (at the site of what is now the 100 E. Walton St. building) will shoot here for 13 days starting in mid-March, reports Local 476’s Mark Hogan.

Starring as iconic Playboy bunnies are Laura Benanti (“Eli Stone”) an established Playboy Club star who knows her days as a Bunny are numbered, according to Deadline Hollywood.

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.

Theatrical run set for “Blackmail Boys”

Joe Swanbert has a role in pseudonymous Bernard and Bichard Shumanski’s locally-shot “tender sexploitation flick,” “Blackmail Boys.” TLA Releasing picked it up for theatrical distribution. It’s scheduled to open this spring.

Nathan Adloff and Taylor Reed star as an art student/hustler and his boyfriend extorting a client (Swanberg) who happens to be a closeted, prominent anti-gay Christian author.

John Davies’ doc tribute to a local star maker

Behind the title of John Davies’ feature-length doc, “Phunny Business: A Black Comedy,” is a story of “what happens when you combine comedy, race and Chicago politics,” about the spectacular rise and tragic fall of a Chicago comedy club that launched the careers of many contemporary black comedians.

The doc heads for prime time cable after its Feb. 5 premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Michael Mann to direct biopic about Outfit head

DIRECTOR MICHAEL MANN (“Public Enemies”) signed screenwriter Sheldon Turner (“Up in the Air”) to script his next big project, “Big Tuna” ? a movie about Chicago Outfit boss Tony Accardo, aka “Big Tuna” and his relationship with his mobster prot?g? Sam Giancana.

The movie could be filmed here, given Chicago native Mann’s penchant for realism — remember how he had Lincoln Ave. repaved with cobblestones for the scene in “Public Enemies” outside the Biograph Theatre? Accardo had a big house in River Forest and Giancana lived in Oak Park.

NBA endorsement for Bob Love feature

“BUTTERBEAN,” AN INSPIRATIONAL/SPORTS MOVIE about the 1970s Chicago Bulls star, Bob Love, is getting underway as a $15 million feature that will be filmed in Chicago in 2011. The movie has the endorsement of the NBA and the support of the Bulls organization.

The story is about Love’s plunge from the glittering heights of the sports arena to washing dishes and living in a homeless shelter and how he overcame a debilitating handicap and came back stronger as an inspiring role model.

Roger Ebert’s TV show debuts in January

Roger Ebert returns to television next January with a new weekly half-hour show, “Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies,” produced by Chaz and Roger Ebert, and featuring two co-hosts.

It will air on WTTW and be syndicated to PBS stations by WTTW National Productions. “I believe that by returning to its public television roots, our new show will win better and more consistent time slots in more markets.

Co-hosts of the new show are Christy Lemire of The Associated Press and contributing critic Elvis Mitchell of NPR and former The New York Times film critic.

Entertainment experts form a new law firm

Noted entertainment attorneys, Tom Leavens, Peter Strand and Jerry Glover, also noted for their contributions to non-profit arts organizations, have formed a LaSalle St. law firm bearing their names.

Leavens, Strand and Glover, LLC is one of Chicago’s few firms concentrating exclusively in entertainment law, representing creative artists and companies in all areas of visual media, broadcasting and new media.

Among their clients are Harpo, Inc., Old Town School of Folk Music, Rachel Barton Pine, Pitchfork Media, Inc., Telepictures Productions, Inc., WFMT Radio and WTTW/Ch. 11.

DDB to welcome new creative chief

A NEW CHIEF CREATIVE FOR DDB after a two year search appears to be Ewan Paterson, 42, ECD at London’s Cemmow Horby Inge & Partners.

He will join the agency in June at a time when the agency accounts are sliding (State Farm gave nearly half of its creative business to DraftFCB and Wrigley moved Extra gum to Energy BBDO).

Paterson started his ad career in 1990 at Y&R, spent a decade at BMP DDB, to Bartle Bogle Hegarty in 2004 as CD on British Airways and a year later recruited by CHI.

Campaign MAGAZINE ranked him the No.

Ch. 20 wants to hook-up with indie producers

WYCC-Ch. 20 is seeking relationships with independent producers, in which WYCC can serve as the presenting station for co-productions to air on Ch. 20 and to offer the program to PBS stations nationally.

“We’re looking for shows of local and national interest that fit our mission of educationally diverse programming,” says station manager Paul Buckner.

“WTTW has obviously been a major player for PBS nationally. We’re jumping into that arena.”

The public TV station of the City Colleges of Chicago operates out of the Southwest Side Kennedy-King College and programs Ch.

25th anniversary for “Chicago Tonight”

In the TV world of head-spinning change, it’s rare when a show can sustain itself, night after night, for a quarter of a century, as WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” has done.

In celebration of the show’s 25th anniversary, WTTW is celebrating with a benefit gala at the Harris Theatre April 17, with host Tim Kazurinsky and a galaxy of local stars.

They include gospel legend Mavis Staples, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, the top brass from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Second City performers and 7-year-old piano prodigy Emily Bear.

Actor Aidan Quinn hosts “Irish Stories”

Since March is the month of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s fitting that WTTW’s March Pledge Month will feature an original doc, “Irish Stories,” and for good measure, Chicago native and actor Aidan Quinn is the doc’s host and narrator.

Ch. 11 will air twice it during Pledge Month, on March 3 at 7:30 p.m. and again on March 16 at 8 p.m.

The building of Chicago and the Irish are almost one and the same story, beginning in 1835 when the Irish found an American home in Chicago and worked with muscle and brains to build it.

Emmys sadly snubbed non-station shows

You’d think that out of 256 nominations in 57 categories for the recent 50th Annual Emmy Awards the odds might favor non-station produced shows. But that didn’t happen.

Only six independently produced shows that ran on a TV outlet, or one third of the 17 nominees, won in the two categories of Programs and Individual Achievement.

Two of the six shows won in the Program category. Director Jim White took home a gold statuette for “Find Yourself a Dream: The Bob Love Story,” in the category of “Outstanding documentary of current significance.” The show aired on WYCC.

Hugo TV Awards to honor commercial giant MJZ, programming master Towers Productions April 12

MJZ, the bicoastal spot house that’s won more awards than any other production company, will pick up still another?this one from the 43rd annual Hugo Television Awards.

The Hugo’s Commitment to Excellence Awards to MJZ and local Towers Productions will be presented at a ceremony April 12 at the Cultural Center.

Ch. 5 news anchor Bob Sirott will host the event toasting the two multi-honored companies, and Hugo winners who will be announced at the ceremonies.

Intrepid “Grannies on Safari” travel show on Ch. 11 to air on 70 PBS outlets by end of the year

A few years ago it occurred to best friends Regina Fraser and Pat Johnson that their travels to exotic lands?80 so far?might make a good TV show. And so it has.

They are the “Grannies on Safari,” a PBS show airing at over Ch. 11 Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.

Each episode follows the women as they seek out cultural connections, the arts and crafts of the country and how the people make a living from them.

Possibly because of the cultural aspect of the show, and the need for positive tourism, the host country picks up the expenses for the visit.

Trash in your attic? Could be ’50s-’60s footage, photos Ch. 11’s seeks for nostalgic Chicago doc

Ch. 11’s original program, “Remembering Chicago: The 1950s and ’60s,” is the fourth in a series the station has produced on what is essentially a city memoir, with material provided, as they say, “from viewers like you.”

“Remembering” producer/director Jamie Caesar is actively seeking contributions of photographs, snapshots, footage and for the hour-long show to debut in December.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

DRAFT AND FCB WILL MERGE and the combined Interpublic-owned agencies will be called Draft FCB.

Chairman/CEO will be Howard Draft, founder/CEO of his eponymous agency. Jonathan Harries, FCB’s worldwide creative director, becomes worldwide chief creative officer of the new entity.

WHILE THE TRIBUNE REPORTED Steven Spielberg’s biopic of Abraham Lincoln might film here, Reel readers got the scoop back in January.

Media Recall designing a ?mega-portal’ website for sale of PBS stations’ documentary footage

Northfield-based Media Recall, the people who made Ch. 11’s archives available online, have signed another PBS station, KAET, Ch. 8 in Phoenix, to digitize much of archives for convenient stock footage purchase on the web.

At the same time, Media Recall is creating a mega-portal of PBS archives?including those of WTTW and KAET?that will that be searchable at the end of the first quarter of 2006.

The return of Ben Hollis and two other funded national shows light up Ch. 11 production stages

Ch. 11 is getting it back together again after a funding slump with the launch of three new shows the station will produce.

“CEO Exchanges” hosted by journalist Jeff Greenfield of CNN bows in March on PBS. The following month, pith helmeted Ben Hollis returns to the station in seven-part “Wild Chicago Illinois Road Trip” series.

In January, 2007, endowed with a $7 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education WTTW will develop a multi-layered children’s educational series called “Word World,” designed to help children read.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

VINCE VAUGHN, whose every meal, drink and partying fills inches of column space, will give columnists serious delirium long after his film, “The Break Up,” wraps and the players return to Hollywood.

Vaughn plans on becoming a permanent Chicago resident, by virtue of the condo he’s in the process of buying and his shiny new Illinois drivers’ license.

Optimus “spots” air on Comcast

THIRTY OPTIMUS “SPOTS”?not about the post house, but 30-second creative confections by all Optimus employees and not just editors?have been airing as commercials on Comcast.

Staffers were told they could work as individuals or in teams. The only rules were the length, conform to TV standards and end with the distinctive Optimus logo.

There was no overall name or theme for the exercise, said client services director Doug Manley, who with assistant editor Dustin LaForce, whipped out their “spot” in a couple of hours.

Ramsey Lewis hosts 13-week “Legends of Jazz” series in HD at Ch. 11 for airing on national PBS

Chicago is about to regain its once-dazzling reputation for jazz as production of a series on the music and artists gets underway at Ch. 11.

“Legends of Jazz” is a 13-week, half-hour series hosted by Chicago jazz legend Ramsey Lewis, with Larry Rosen, one of the greats of the music industry, as an executive producer.

“Legends” will swing for three months at Ch. 11’s 5,400-sq. ft. Studio A and like “Sound Stage” performances in the next studio, will be shot in HD and 5.1 surround sound.

Fleetwood Mac opens second season of 13 “Soundstage” concerts on PBS

A second season of 13 “Soundstage” episodes launches June 17 on Ch. 11 and national PBS with a line-up of today’s hottest performers. First show is a Fleetwood Mac concert performing their hits and songs from their June 15 album release, “Live in Boston.”

“Soundstage” is a co-production of music producer Joe Thomas’ HDReady company and WTTW National Productions. The show is shot in HD and mixed in Dolby 5.1 surround sound in Ch. 11’s 10,000-sq. ft. Grainger Studio.

Thomas also directs; WTTW National Productions’ Randy King, Ch.

A Survey of Chicago Soundstages

Looking for a stage? How big? Where do you want to shoot? To help you make that determination, ReelChicago scouted around to identify a surprisingly large list of 38 stages for rent.

You’ll find 24 within city limits, while Oak Park leads the suburbs with three stages. We also give you stage size and rental costs.

Six local stages offer at least 5,000 sq. ft.: Ch. 11’s Chicago Production Center, rental houses Essanay and RAH, and Blackhawk Studios, AGLS and the Studio on Ogden. 18 more stages were confirmed to have at least 1,000 square feet.

REELSCREEN: News & Notes – 04/09/04

TRADEMARK CONFLICT NOT FUNNY. Second City Television (SCTV) took umbrage over the SCTV acronym of the new Stand-Up Comedy Television cable channel and told the upstart channel to cease and desist. Second City’s Andrew Alexander claimed the trademark unequivocally belonged to Second City and the use of “SCTV” the TV show. Since Second City’s SCTV trademark lapsed in 1989, Stand-Up Comedy TV properly registered SCTV March 11, 2004 with the Patent & Trademark Office and as such, counterclaimed Joseph Fox the trademark belongs to them.

Ch. 11 hires a licensing pro for new stock footage licensing department

Recognizing the revenue potential from licensing content assets from its immense 50-year old library, Ch. 11 hired licensing expert Barry O’Connell and formed a new department exclusively for stock footage sales.

O’Connell, manager of licensing and business development for the new WTTW11 Broadcast Archives, was initially brought in to clear music rights for the station’s syndicated “Soundstage” HD music shows.

His background includes 10 years in music licensing, with stints with in L.A. with EMI Capital Special Markets and in Chicago with now-defunct Platinum Entertainment.

Comedy jury has daunting job

Eight improv pros are walking past walls of floor-to-ceiling head shots, peering at the pictures, recognizing faces, occasionally putting a shot on the wall labeled “YES!” A comedy troupe rehearsing a difficult script? Not exactly.

Instead, explains TV producer Thea Flaum, the mission was to pour over more than 900 head shots and resumes of comedy hopefuls from all over the U.S. and Canada. While cameras rolled at WTTW studios late last month, the group hunkered down to determine the first round of eliminations for “Comedy Tonight.”