Get ready for beach sand-flecked, alcohol-induced, reality TV drama on the streets of St. Petersburg. MTV's hit Floribama Shore series is moving from Panama City to Tampa Bay for its third season, according to the cable network.
The show, which premiered on MTV in 2017, was billed as a Panhandle-based version of its previous reality hit Jersey Shore, and delivered on the "blowout fights over nonsense, hug-it-out-bro apologies, and sexual encounters filmed in grainy night vision" for "brain-free entertainment," according to a Tampa Bay Times review of Season 2.
One storyline from the first season involved cast member Candace Rice becoming upset after cast member Kortni Gilson peed on her bed. Gilson also went in a trash can on a public beach.
The network tweeted a video teaser Tuesday afternoon meant to look like a group text between the cast members. In the video, Gus Smyrnios texts "SEASON 3 BABY! ST. PETE'S BEACH!!" Cody Butts replies that it's "puke and rally time."
Cast member Aimee Hall later replied with a tweet that read "We in St. Pete going f--king crazy." Mypanhandle.com reported there was one arrest during filming in Panama City, when Hall punched a woman at a bar and later received probation.
Pinellas County film commissioner Tony Armer confirmed that 495 Productions, which previously shot reality series Party Down South in the area, began filming Floribama Shore locally this week.
He declined to say where this season's "shore house" would be located other than south Pinellas County, but expected the show to film in multiple locations.
"It could be anywhere from downtown St. Petersburg to the Clearwater beaches," Armer said. "I'm guessing they'll have some outings in Tampa as well." He could not say what businesses the show might film at, because permits aren't required for private property.
Public records show St. Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission granted 495 Productions permits to shoot on location in public at Clearwater Beach, Gulfport, Main Street Dunedin, Madeira Beach, Downtown St. Petersburg, Beach Drive, Pass-A-Grille and an address on Punta Vista Drive in St. Pete Beach through July 15.
Armer said he believed the production chose Pinellas for its beaches, and because they had a smooth experience in the area before.
Bay County film commissioner Julie Gordan said damage from Hurricane Michael had made things too expensive for the show to film in Panama City again.
"I would have loved to have them back, they had a great economic impact for us, but I'm happy they're staying in Florida," she said. "We lost 20,000 homes in town, but the beach was mostly fine. The problem is that a lot of people had to move into those condos and beach rentals to live, so the price of rent has tripled since the last season they were filming here."
She said Floribama Shore also lost a couple of its main filming locations to storm damage, including Club La Vela, billed as the largest nightclub in the U.S.
Was the show good for Panama City?
"As for the bottom line, economic impact, absolutely," Gordan said. "Of course, you can ask local officials, and they'll say it's the most god-awful thing they ever saw. Well, it's not for you, it's for 25 year olds. I've talked to many Uber drivers who say people want to see the shore house, or the bars they hang out at."
She also said the show wasn't all debauchery and drama, and that locals "barely noticed they were there."
"When the kids lost their granddads, they rallied around each other, they prayed together, they lifted each other up. The show is not all pure nasty."
Armer reiterated that it's not up to the film commission to make judgement calls on what's being filmed.
"It would be a violation of the first amendment if we were to tell someone what they could film from a content perspective," he said. "Frankly, I think people overthink it. It's really just a group of young, 20-somethings dealing with relationship issues. What's the big deal?"
Gordon said over two seasons the show had about a $4.2 million economic impact for Bay County.
Armer said the production lists an overall budget of $9,175,000, with a 45-person crew, though wasn't sure how much of that money would be spent in Pinellas. He expected they would spend around $500,000 on hotel rooms alone.
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