TV business is booming in Chicago

- If you travel around Chicago these days, don't be surprised if you run into the set of a TV show.

When Bob Newhart heads home at the beginning of his iconic 1970s TV show set in Chicago, the title sequence is the only part that was actually filmed in Chicago.

Now, 40 years later, Chicago has become Hollywood without the palm trees.

"We can say without question now we are one of the great film production centers in the world,” said Mark Kelly of the Chicago Cultural Affairs Commissioner.

On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel toured the massive Cinespace Studio complex on the near Southwest Side where eight Chicago-based television series are currently filming.

"This space also tells the story of the city of Chicago and its energy of rebirth. What was once a steel plant is now home to one of the largest television and film studios in the United States, employing over 75-hundred people in good paying jobs,” Emanuel said.

City Hall says since 2011, film and television production in Chicago has increased every single year, pumping more than one billion dollars into the city's economy during that span.

Among the eight television series shooting full time in Chicago now are three FOX series: The Exorcist, which premiers in September; "A.P.B.", a high-tech police drama coming in 2017; and of course "Empire, the smash hit that has been filming in Chicago for the past two years.

Among the Chicagoans making a living off Empire is Columbia College grad Adam Sherman, whom we profiled last November working as a location scout.

"We request the permits that we've got up here on the street and then when we get here in the morning we clear parking. We put security guards out--with the actor's trailers especially,” said Empire employee Adam Sherman.

Indeed, it seems you can't walk around the city without bumping into a crew or a sign that they're clearing the area for filming.

"I think it stimulates the economy. I think it taps into an artistic side of the city that really needs to be reawakened,” one man said.

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

More Stories You May Be Interested In - includes Advertiser Stories