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L.A. not forgotten in new Bruckheimer series


On Wednesday, Christian Slater and other stars of the new crime drama "The Forgotten" will converge on a parking lot in Echo Park that will actually stand in for a municipal tow lot in Chicago (see accompanying chart).

The latest series from Jerry Bruckheimer, which debuts on ABC tonight, is about a team of amateurs who attempt to solve unusual crimes. The story is actually set in the Windy City but is filming in various locations throughout Los Angeles.

That may seem odd, given the growing pressure producers face to keep budgets low by using out-of-state film incentives, such as 30% film tax credit offered in Illinois. That would seem all the more attractive given that "The Forgotten" wouldn't qualify for California's new film tax credit, limited to new series created for basic cable TV, or series that are returning to the state.

But Bruckheimer, whose production company is based in Santa Monica, has a long history of staying close to home. All of his TV shows, including the "CSI" series, "Cold Case" and "Dark Blue," the new crime drama on TNT, shoot in the Los Angeles area.

"I like to keep the business here,'' said Bruckheimer, who is producing the show, which has a crew of 143, with Bonanza Productions and Warner Bros. Television. "It's getting harder and harder because the economy is tough, and the studios are really squeezing us in every budget. [But] "we've got great crews here, and we love working with them."

-- Richard Verrier

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I find that I now have a new respect for Mr. Bruckheimer. I've never been that much of a big fan of his choices of actors and directors, or the "wall of noise" approach to his film and tv productions, but it's become obvious in driving around Los Angeles in the past year just how much production has gone away.

In past years you couldn't go for more than a mile or so in any direction without seeing the trucks lined up, and florescent signs posted so crew and cast could find their parking areas tacked up on phone polls, but lately, not so much. So, anyone who does anything to keep production in the area certainly gets bonus points and (I think) Karma points as well.



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