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Morgan Fairchild — who often played sultry ‘80s TV vixens on series such as Falcon Crest — was in Vancouver early last week wrapping an episode of the ABC drama, Men In Trees. Meanwhile, veteran director John Badham (Blue Thunder) is in town helming an episode of the same series.
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In Yaletown last week, the Blue Water Café entertained Joan Chen (The Last Emperor) and Eric McCormack (here shooting The Andromeda Strain), while Wesley Snipes returned to Vancouver last Friday night and had Joe Fortes prepare a special takeout dinner of fish & chips. Though it’s been rumored that Snipes was in town to shoot A Higher Form Of Learning opposite Steven Seagal, in actuality the Blade star is here to film Operation Espionage, currently in pre-production with Insight Film Studios. In the story, Snipes reprises the role of Neil Shaw from the Genie Award-winning 2000 sleeper hit, The Art Of War. Operation Espionage is set for release on DVD in summer of 2008.
WGA strike threatens Hollywood North series: Talk to almost anyone in Vancouver’s production community these days, and the conversation invariably turns to the Writers Guild Of America strike and its impact on, primarily, television production. The chasm between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) remains wide. WGA writers want a compensation package for new media and Internet downloads, the AMPTP insist that today’s multimedia technologies are too much in flux to warrant locking in any deal. The result is an impasse that by some estimates could potentially cost Hollywood $1 billion in lost revenue.
How does this affect Hollywood North? A number of Vancouver series, such as Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica and Smallville, which are supposed to shoot until next March/April, don’t have sufficient scripts completed yet to finish out their current seasons, though Smallville apparently has enough scripts in hand to shoot straight into January. The situation is grim enough that major entities like NBC/Universal are seriously toying with the idea of cannibalizing properties from their cable holdings, with shows like the Vancouver-shot USA Network series The 4400 being considered for primetime debuts. Moreover, I have been told that one major network series that shoots in Vancouver might even consider using Canadian writers if the strike wears on indefinitely.