CHICAGO – This week, network television held their annual Upfronts to announce their respective 2018-2019 fall schedules. Illinois-based “Empire” (FOX) was among the renewed shows, as well as Wolf Films’ Chicago franchise, made up of “Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Med,” and “Chicago Fire” (NBC). NBC plans to air the Chicago franchise back-to-back-to-back on Wednesday evenings, creating an Illinois night of Must See TV.
“The 2018-2019 television season is bringing great investment to the Illinois film community,” said Illinois FILM Office Director Christine Dudley. “These four shows have helped cement our state as a film production hub, and we are thrilled to welcome them back for the upcoming season. Outside of our perennial shows, we are also openly recruiting new projects to our production pipeline to increase opportunities and jobs.”
Additionally, three pilots which filmed in Illinois earlier this year appeared on the fall and mid-season schedules, two of which are expected to film further episodes in the state. The new series, “Red Line” (Warner Brothers/CBS), starring Illinois alum Noah Wylie and written by Chicago alumni Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss, is slated to appear on CBS this fall. Ava DuVernay and Greg Berlanti will serve as Executive Producers. “Proven Innocent” (FOX), written by David Eliot and produced by Danny Strong Productions, is set for mid-season FOX.
Previous pickups include Illinois favorites “The Chi” (20th Century Fox/Showtime) and “Easy” (Netflix), both of which will be back to begin shooting their new seasons. “South Side” (Comedy Central), a scripted workplace comedy set in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, was picked up last year and will be returning to film Season 1 this summer. USA Network also picked up the Illinois-filmed pilot of the highly-anticipated “Suits” spin-off, aptly entitled “Second City” (NBC), for a full season order.
The Illinois film industry has experienced a boom in production since the Illinois Film Tax Credit program was initiated. Under the Rauner administration, the industry has contributed over $1 billion dollars in direct production spending and thousands of job hires to the Illinois economy. The 30 percent tax credit is awarded to productions for money spent on Illinois goods and services, including wages paid to Illinois residents. The goal of the Tax Credit Act is to grow, sustain and provide economic and job opportunities for local vendors, crew and filmmakers.