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Filming creates TV production jobs in Chicago

Posted on September 6, 2016

Many more films are busy creating production jobs in  Chicago.

Chicago has seen record TV filming production in 2016—a two-fold increase in TV shows filming here over last year. This year’s filming boost is due in large part to TV series selecting the city as the main stage for filming—with an unprecedented eight full-time major TV series filming across the city’s neighborhoods this year, and another two major series’ filming locally part time.

“It’s a testament to the depth and talent associated with Chicago’s local film industry that an extraordinary eight full-time TV series now call our city home,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are proud that Chicago continues to serve as a destination for filming and commercial activity, due to our talented residents, state-of-the-art facilities, and affordable services—not to mention our iconic skyline and the rich character and diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods. I want to thank Dick Wolf and our studio partners for their continued partnership, as each of these productions contributes significantly to the growth of our neighborhoods and the economic health of our city.”

From 2011 to 2015, film, television and commercial production has steadily increased year over year, with this particular 5-year period breaking the billion dollar mark and bringing in more than double what was realized in 2006 to 2010, which totaled just under $600 million.

The surge in Chicago filming and commercial production has boosted local spending and job creation, while increasing traffic for a wide range of local businesses, hotel rooms, office and warehouse leasing, vehicle and equipment leasing, construction supplies, and local tax revenues. With eight full-time shows scheduled for this year, along with “Shameless” (Showtime) and “Sense8” (Netflix) filming locally part-time, the amount of television filming in Chicago has more than doubled in 2016.

In 2015, the four full-time television series in production in Chicago were “Empire” from 20th Century Fox Television, “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med” from Wolf Films and Universal Television. In 2016, four additional series were added. In production now is “Patriot” from Amazon Studios; “The Exorcist” and “A.P.B” from 20th Century Fox Television; and finally with production set to begin in September is “Chicago Justice” from Wolf Films and Universal Television.

“We owe an incredible debt to Chicago, especially Mayor Emanuel, for giving us the proverbial ‘keys to the city’ and to Governor Rauner for giving us the economic means to produce these shows in Illinois,” said Wolf. “Chicago and its people are an integral part of the success of these shows.”
On average, a single season of one network television series spends $30-40 million locally and hires anywhere from 250 to 400 people. According to NBC, they will have spent over $150 million in wages and employed 1,300 people locally on the production of their respective series this season alone. With three additional FOX shows and a new Amazon series filming concurrently, Chicago is on pace to exceed last year’s 1,902 filming days and total revenue of $330 million in Illinois spending for FY2015. Furthermore, in combining TV production with other film and commercial productions, this puts Chicago on track to have one of its most robust filming schedules to date.

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