MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Filming wrapped Thursday on a multi-million dollar project that brought priceless national attention to Memphis. The cast and crew of NBC’s “Bluff City Law” have embraced their time here as they finish the show’s first season. Now the waiting game begins to see if NBC will renew the series.
This was the year Memphis met prime time television, with Jimmy Smits and Caitlin McGee headlining the new legal drama, and state and local leaders chipping in to secure shooting on location in Memphis.
State incentives provided $2.5 million, and another $1.7 million came from property tax abatements and marketing funds from Memphis Tourism.
“Yeah, that’s a lot of money. But my gosh, is it lopsided when you look at the return we got,” said Linn Sitler, film commissioner, Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission.
Sitler said the exposure alone for the city per episode is worth millions. But will it continue?
After the pilot and nine episodes for the first season, NBC Universal ordered six additional scripts. But the network has decided not to shoot them at this time. Sitler said the decision isn’t necessarily bad news because the scripts were ordered amid concern at the time of a possible writers’ strike.
“They did not green light the production. They only asked the scripts be written,” she said.
Filming wrapped Thursday at a house in east Memphis used as the home for Jimmy Smits’ character, Elijah Strait. WMC Action News 5 was there for a special surprise during a break in shooting.
That’s when the five stars who play attorneys were made honorary alumni by University of Memphis Law Dean Katharine Schaffzin and series legal advisers Richard Glassman and Lauran Stimac.
“We are a big country town, and we are still folks that like to welcome other folks into our city. And we’ve done that with open arms with them, and they’ve done it with us,” Glassman said.
Sitler said we can expect a decision on the future of Bluff City Law from NBC in the spring of 2020.