Mayor Emanuel Touts Record TV Production Numbers in Chicago

Emanuel spoke of the increase alongside Emmy Award-winning producer Dick Wolf on Wednesday

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday that Chicago has seen a record increase in TV production this year during a press conference alongside Emmy Award-winning producer Dick Wolf.

This year has seen a two-fold increase in TV shows filming in the city, with a record eight shows filming in Chicago this fall. Since 2011, the city has seen $1.3 billion in economic activity from TV, film and commercial production. In the previous five-year period, from 2006 to 2010, the city saw $600 million in economic activity.

“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,” Emanuel said in a statement.

"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," he added. 

Wolf, the famed creator of Law & Order, has developed a stable of NBC shows that are all filmed in Chicago, including Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. On Wednesday, he called the city a "cleaner, politer New York with slightly heavier people."

"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," Wolf said in a statement. "Chicago and its people are an integral part of the success of these shows."

Wolf and Emanuel toured the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios Wednesday alongside actors, network executives and city leaders. Cinespace recently underwent an expansion to meet increased demand. The West Side studio now houses 30 soundstages where eight separate shows are filmed.  

The eight shows currently filming in Chicago full-time are: NBC’s Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med and Chicago Justice; Fox’s Empire, A.P.B. and The Exorcist; and Amazon’s Patriot.

Additionally, Showtime’s Shameless and Netflix’s Sense8 film in the city part-time.

According to the mayor’s office, the increase in TV production has boosted local spending and created jobs, while increasing traffic for hotels and other local businesses. Illinois' 30 percent tax break has served as a major incentive for production companies.

“At any given time here, there are 7,500 employees, and sometimes even more, working in this film and television industry here in Chicago,” Emanuel told reporters Wednesday.

Chicago has seen a spike in TV and film production since Mayor Emanuel took office in 2011 with blockbusters like Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Transformers: Age of Extinction all filming in the city.

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