Millions of dollars are at stake in South Carolina as a network television show decides whether to return to Charleston.
Motion Picture Incentive Act
Increase in film incentives for productions that use:S.C. vendors: 15 to 30 percent rebateS.C. wages: 15 to 25 percent rebate
CBS this week picked up the legal drama “Reckless” for its fall lineup after the show's pilot was shot in March in the Holy City.
By the numbers
Between 2007 and 2011, productions in South Carolina created:1,600Full-time jobs$86.9MSales for local businesses$48.5MSpending on wages for state residents$142M Total economic impactSource: AECOM Economics' 2011 report ordered by the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
The news was reported over the weekend in Variety, TV Guide and other industry outlets.
Despite the original setting in the Lowcountry, there's been no indication yet whether the network will commit to Charleston.
“It would be a natural choice for them,” said Gavin McCulley, the S.C. Film Council's chairman. “But I've no way confirmed that with anyone, and they haven't necessarily made a final decision.”
The production spent a few weeks in the Lowcountry filming in spots including Shem Creek, Concord Street and The Battery.
Mayor Joe Riley said the show is a positive for the city. “Filming has a far more substantive impact than one would think,” he said. CBS Network Television Studios are tight-lipped about the show's ultimate location. A network spokeswoman said there were no further details to release.
But a source close to the production said it's likely the show will send it's people to Charleston by the weekend to scout the area. And the following message was also posted on the CBS Reckless Extras Facebook page:
“Reckless has been picked up! Please stay tuned with info on when/where and if our office will be doing the background casting. We will keep you posted as soon as we hear anything. A BIG THANK YOU to all the background who helped with the pilot.”
The network's move to announce the pickup came a few days after the passage of a state film incentives bill that Gov. Nikki Haley signed on Thursday. Film leaders in the state said the timing couldn't have been more perfect.
The fate of the show hinged on the state's decision to pass incentives and the show already was eyeing other locations outside of the state if the bill didn't pass, said the source close to the production. It was an all-too-familiar story for the Palmetto State, said Harald Galinski, founder of Studio Charleston, a film production facility.
“In recent years, Georgia and North Carolina have lured productions away from South Carolina with bigger incentives,” he said. “This legislation will bring productions back to South Carolina, create hundreds of jobs for South Carolinians and millions in spending at local businesses.”
Estimates indicate “Reckless” could spend up to $70 million and that they already spent about $3 million while shooting the pilot. Much of that includes rentals of cars, cranes and properties and hiring extras and production crews.
“The incentives really do matter that much, especially a television show that will shoot year after year after year,” McCulley said. The incentive provides rebates to film and television productions if they use vendors from South Carolina and hire workers from the state. To qualify, productions must spend $1 million in the state. It also offers a sales and user tax exemption, which film industry leaders call a huge bonus.
“It's a big game changer here,” Galinski said.
CBS' show is a legal drama centering on a litigator and attorney who are attracted to each other, despite being on opposing sides of a police sex scandal.
Cam Gigandet, who appeared as the villain vampire James in “Twilight,” plays an attorney on the show. Anna Wood also stars.
With at least 23 episodes left to film for the show's fall debut, it's only a small matter of time before Charlestonians know whether the city becomes a staple on the small screen.