Is Burn Notice staying or going?
Looks like District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is hell bent on having the Grove Expo Center torn down asap to turn the building into park land.
Burn Notice's lease at the Expo Center came up for discussion at the City Commission meeting today. Sarnoff claims that Burn Notice should move to a sound stage in Wynwood where Charlie's Angles was filmed. He said that Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones suggests that she would like Burn Notice to move to her district, essentially throwing her under the bus as the reason for asking Burn Notice to vacate the Grove.
But this is not the case, Spence-Jones felt that, "If we have business happening right here in the heart of the Grove it should stay. The individuals are here working every day. I am trying to understand what is the issue of giving them another year?"
A rep from Fox-tv stood up at the meeting and said that Burn Notice has not been picked up for next season yet (their seventh). But if it is, he is willing to pick up and move reluctantly, but they prefer to stay in the Expo Center to finish out the show. They are willing to pay extra rent to stay. The current revenue is about $200,000 per year. The current contract at the Expo Center expires October 31, 2012.
Spence-Jones felt that the conversation was premature since Burn Notice will find out next week whether it is picked up by the USA network for a seventh season. She said that she would love to have Burn Notice in Wynwood but the facility could not accommodate Burn Notice at this time. She was adamant about it. She said that air conditioning, bathrooms and other things need to be taken care of. It would cost a lot of money to get the facilities up to par.
According to the Fox rep, it would cost about $1 million, conservatively, for the production to move out of the Grove. And of course the location filming in the Grove neighborhoods and streets would end. By filming in the neighborhood, near the Expo Center, they save $20,000 in production costs a day. If they were to move, they would want to film near their new studio, not in the Grove anymore, since that would cost them the extra $20,000 per day to move production to the Grove on a daily basis. It makes more sense to film near their home base.
Terry Miller, Executive Producer of Burn Notice, present at the meeting, said that the Wynwood facility will not work for Burn Notice. Roof problems, a/c and sound proofing problems along with electrical problems are the issue. They dealt with all this at the Grove Expo Center and they personally fixed them there. They are not willing to start from scratch at the Wynwood facility for just one more year (if the show is picked up for that).
"If we don't stay in the Grove, we will not stay in the City of Miami, it is not an option for us," Miller stated.
One other show is being produced in Broward County (Glades) and another production is coming in the fall. If Burn Notice was to move, it would move out of Miami-Dade County to Broward (if they are picked up for another year). Spence Jones was concerned about losing the production and felt it should remain in the Grove Expo Center until production ends for good.
Sarnoff believes that the City is ready to tear down the Expo Center in Coconut Grove. "I don't think anybody here is proud of the waterfront, and I don't think you should be proud of the waterfront," he said.
He went on to say, "The money is there [to knock down the Expo Center and build the park], we are ready to go." Spence Jones asked for his "white paper" which shows the plans and costs of creating the park.
Sarnoff claimed that Burn Notice is a deterrent to the Grove becoming prosperous. While most people are happy about Burn Notice's success and the fame and money it brings to our area, Sarnoff criticized them for coming back year after year asking to stay. He sees their success as a deterrent to the park. He says the Grove is undercutting the film industry by charging them too little for the property anyway. Quite frankly, it's a bit embarrassing to think that a large Hollywood production has to come hat in hand every year to our City Commission, essentially begging to stay.
Sarnoff actually said that the show has been brought to syndication, which was their goal, so enough is enough now. They reached their goal, to get to syndication, so kill it now. Glad he is not in charge of my favorite tv shows.
The end result was that the City is going to try and find a home for Burn Notice elsewhere. They all talked in circles but just left it hanging. Not much comfort for the producers who need to know now what they should do in the event of a seventh season.
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