* Press release…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel today was joined by award-winning producer Dick Wolf, NBCUniversal executives, members of the film industry and unions in announcing that the City of 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.
Additionally, while the city has recorded more than $1.3 billion in economic activity from film and commercial production since 2011, this year’s filming is expected to outpace economic benefits seen in previous years, contributing to local jobs and the livelihood of Chicago’s neighborhoods.
That is good news.
When the hit TV show “Empire” filmed scenes in Chicago last year, it lured big-name stars like Chris Rock to the Cook County juvenile detention center.
But relatives of two juveniles were far from star-struck. And now they’ve sued Twentieth Century Fox Television Inc., Cook County and others over the lockdown they say occurred when “enormous” film crews descended on the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center at Roosevelt and Ogden in the summer of 2015.
“The purpose of these lockdowns was to provide Fox with a realistic prison facility to use as the primary set of two highly profitable ‘Empire’ episodes,” their lawyers wrote in a 37-page federal complaint filed Wednesday. “The children at JTDC, meanwhile, were placed under restrictions more severe than those governing many adult jails.” […]
Meanwhile, the juveniles housed at the facility were relegated to their cell and “pod” areas and were required to sit in one place, according to the complaint. For one teen, “even to stand up without first obtaining permission was treated as a major rule violation.”
“There they were told to sit, for days on end,” lawyers wrote. “Their schooling continued in name only, visits from their families were interrupted, cut back, or effectively eliminated, sick-call requests were ignored, and programs that are intended to help them overcome the problems that landed them at the JTDC in the first place were cancelled or interrupted.”