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February 2, 2016   •  Category: Pacific Standard0 Comments

ABC’s Reese Witherspoon-produced pilot about ‘ruthless Dallas divorce attorney’ will film here

A Dallas-set Reese Witherspoon-produced show for ABC about a “ruthless divorce attorney” will actually film in Dallas — at least, its pilot will.

That’s the word this morning from Dallas Film Commissioner Janis Burklund, who sends word that the series briefly titled Please Don’t Go has a new (and temporary) name: The Untitled Meaghan Oppenheimer Project. In case you’re wondering, and you likely are, Meaghan Oppenheimer is an actor-turned-screenwriter partially responsible for last year’s not-a-hit We Are Your Friends; she also co-wrote an episode of Fear the Walking Dead.

Burklund said Tuesday morning that the pilot will film in Dallas in the spring. But, she said, “there are no hard dates.” And a cast has not been announced. Witherspoon’s not starring in the series.

Here’s the plot, per the official announcement just dispatched by Dallas City Hall: “The story line follows the personal and professional life of a ruthless divorce attorney in Dallas, which begins to unravel when her emotionally damaged, love-addicted sister resurfaces triggering self-destructive tendencies and exposing long-hidden family secrets. The new show is expected to show off the vibrant, urban city that Dallas is.”

Burklund said Tuesday the city was up for several pilots this season, but landed just the one — maybe the most important one, given its setting.

“Limited money at the state level made it a challenge,” she said. “We could have had more, which is disappointing.”

The Texas Film Commission’s director, Heather Page, said in a prepared statement that it’s “a prestigious pilot.” But the state film office doesn’t have much else to offer: The Texas Legislature recently gutted the Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, reducing its budget to a paltry $32 million for the 2016-17 biennium.

Hence the reason the city is actually kicking in a so-far unspecified amount of money to bring the pilot here. Burklund said it will be less than $50,000, which means it doesn’t need to go to the city council for a vote. It will be handled via what’s referred to as an administrative action.

“They are getting a small grant to be here,” she said, “to help supplement the state’s small amount and to help keep it set in Dallas. It’s not that much, and we didn’t have time to go to council. It’s just a small sweetener.”

USA’s Queen of the South, which is shooting here till at least March, received $150,000 from the council by way of incentives last year.

“The city of Dallas is very excited to have once again secured filming of a television pilot set in our city,” said Karl Zavitkovsky, the head of the city’s Office of Economic Development, in a prepared statement. “Given the competitive nature of the industry, we are pleased that we could assist in making Dallas not only the obvious location choice, but a good choice for the bottom line too.”

Dallas News

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