Chicago production rolls through a week of success

The level of TV production
 in Chicago has grown
 from a boom to an era

Over the past week, HBO announced its first series to film at Cinespace Studios, Dick Wolf’s Chicago shows got re-signed, and South Side comedian Lil Rel Howery inked a deal with 20th Century Fox TV.

And those are just a few of the headlines that have graced Reel Chicago.

Since the industry is in the midst of upfront season, when networks present their ideas to advertisers, more announcements may be coming soon.

No doubt, a handful of Chicago classics helped pave the way for the current success, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Siskel & Ebert chiefly among them. There were plenty of other shows set in Chicago — including ER, Good Times, and The Bob Newhart Show — but they only created the illusion of the Windy City by using it to establish location shots while filming the majority of their actual episodes somewhere else.

Chicago’s current streak is the real deal, with a number of shows not only set but also filmed in Chicago. The amount of locally produced projects signed to premiere or continue airing has exceeded the most optimistic of business forecasts in a matter of days.

Just as importantly, the people bringing this windfall are as diverse as they are dedicated. Cinespace President Alex Pissios, multitalented artist Common, and award-winning upstart Lena Waith are among those helping to make sure that TV offers an accurate reflection of America, which for the moment is a country centered around Chicago.




Peele and Abrams bring new HBO series to Cinespace

NBC renews all three Dick Wolf Chicago series

CBS orders Ava DuVernay drama The Red Line

Fox orders South Side comedy Rel starring Lil Rel

Fox picks up legal drama from Empire co-creator

Chicago to receive its own night on NBC fall schedule



Dan Patton

May 14, 2018

Reel Chicago Editor




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