The cast of one newly picked broadcast series wasn’t exactly jumping for joy during upfront week. That’s when the actors from the ABC alien drama The Whispers, which stars Milo Ventimiglia, Lily Rabe and Barry Sloane, found out that the series would be moving to Vancouver after filming the pilot in Los Angeles. I hear several members of the cast were not happy, and conversations are still ongoing with the series’ producer, ABC Studios. In the end, all actors will likely move or risk being sued for breach of contract. While I hear it wasn’t spelled out to the cast going into the pilot that the project will definitely move if picked up, there is nothing in the actors’ contracts that guarantees that the show would shoot in Los Angeles. Actually, I hear there is language that indicates that the show could move once ordered to series.
Still, such uprooting is never pleasant and illustrates the toll runaway production takes on everyone. There are a lot of advantages to filming in Los Angeles — an abundance of production facilities and experienced crews, closeness to the project’s writers and executives, access to a pool of guest actors and directors as well as great climate and locations. The Whispers picked LA for the pilot mainly because it offered the variety of landscapes it needed, including desert. One thing Los Angeles does not offer is tax breaks, and that alone is pushing drama series production away from California.