A&E's The Glades is latest attempt to tap Florida's blue skies for TV success
As much as people talk about places like Florida as the home of escapist, "blue skies" television, when I finally checked out the two big scripted TV shows shooting in South Florida, there weren't many sandy beaches or idyllic settings.
That's because USA's Burn Notice and A&E's The Glades were both filming storylines dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes. On "Center of the Storm," hero and burned spy Michael Westen was trying to deal with the unwanted presence of a heavyweight dude played by Jon Seda (The Pacific, Homicide: Life on the Street). The Glades' episode "A Perfect Storm," was about a spree killer who starts up during an approaching hurricane.
I spent a day on each set last month, and though Burn Notice star Jeffrey Donovan was too busy to hang out, his co-star, now Emmy nominated Sharon Gless was most gracious. The next day, thirtysomething alum Timothy Busfield was gregarious and welcoming while directing a Glades episode, helping series star Matt Passmore (at left, with costar and Miami native Carlos Gomez) and guest star Lorraine Toussaint (Saving Grace, Law& Order) navigate the intense humidity and heat inside a 1920s-era house where they were shooting.
My stories on those visits ran in the newspaper's Floridian section Sunday. But in case you missed them, here's links to the main feature, and the story on how the Tampa Bay area nearly wound up with a production expected to bring more than $10-million annually to their home base -- which just happens to be Ft. Lauderdale, now.
This is actually a high point for Florida TV production; though series such as Dexter and CSI: Miami "cheat" the look of the state by shooting some outdoor scenes for episodes mostly filmed in California, there are now two major scripted shows based here.
Already picked up for this year and the next, Burn Notice has been up and running in Miami longer than the previous benchmark for TV success, Miami Vice; small wonder Fox TV Studios parked sister production The Glades in nearby Pembroke Park when efforts to come to the Tampa Bay area fell through. Check the show's website here.
And since imitation is the sincerest form of television, expect more projects to show up in the sunshine state if the Glades' strategy works -- trying to show more facets of the state by reaching outside the well-known Magic City confines.
Check out a clip from the show's first episode below and weigh in -- does The Glades look like the next Burn Notice?