Drama off screen: La. becomes abortion law battleground for ‘NCIS: New Orleans’, ‘Filthy Rich’ producers

Drama off screen: La. becomes abortion law battleground for ‘NCIS: New Orleans’, ‘Filthy Rich’ producers
Pablo Buffer

NEW ORLEANS (WAFB) - The future may be grim for Louisiana’s bustling film industry as the threat of studios pulling out of production deals looms.

On Monday, June 10, Louisiana’s Department of Economic Development (LED) could not be reached for comment about a statement first reported by Variety Magazine in which NCIS: New Orleans showrunner, Christopher Silber, hinted the show may not produce future seasons in its namesake city should the fetal heartbeat law move forward.

"As the show continues production in New Orleans this season, we will monitor developments and wait to see how this plays out in the courts,” Silber said. “Should the legislation take effect, it would be unconscionable to me to continue production in a state that enacts a draconian law putting women’s health and rights at risk.”

In April of 2018, LED announced NCIS: New Orleans maintained a year-round presence in Louisiana and supports hundreds of jobs, with an estimated Louisiana payroll of $51.9 million and total estimated Louisiana spending of $78.1 million for Season 4. With a fifth season, NCIS: New Orleans became the longest-running scripted, episodic TV series to film in Louisiana since the state’s entertainment incentive program was launched in 2002. The series accounted for Louisiana payroll of $139.9 million and total Louisiana spending of $290.7 million by 2014 since its inception.

Producers for the upcoming series Filthy Rich, starring Kim Cattrall, are taking a different approach. Director Tate Taylor and Executive Producer John Norris provided a joint statement to Variety, implying they’d continue production in the state scheduled to begin in September. You can read that statement below:

"While we appreciate anyone’s right to bring attention to this cause and create momentum to protect this constitutional right, our choice is to do it through creating jobs and protecting the families that live here,” said Taylor and Norris in an exclusive joint statement to Variety. “We think both paths lead to the same goal, and respect everyone’s right to choose how they join the fight.”

New Orleans Film Society Executive Director Fallon Young also provided a statement, asking productions not to leave the state, arguing the move would further threaten women’s livelihoods. You can read her statement below.

“Studios should continue to choose Louisiana for its skilled workforce, new infrastructure, diverse locations, and a long-term commitment to growing a blossoming industry...I hope that studios will consider how any decision to move production would directly affect women who live in Louisiana and work in the film industry...Women, including those who work in film, are facing something unprecedented, and they are at the heart of our industry. Why would Hollywood studios choose to reduce their economic opportunity by refusing to do business in a state where women in the industry would suffer as a result?”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. Click here to read the full story from Variety.

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