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Monday, 26 February 2018 21:33

Warner Brothers, BRAC Eco. Summit in BR; Jefferson Chamber, LABI, GNO INC

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knapp interviewLouisiana Business shorts for today: Warner Brothers, Louisiana Economic Development Summit; Jefferson Chamber Legislative Agenda breakfast with Stephen Waguespack, Michael Hecht of GNO Inc:

(Photo: Adam Knapp, President, CEO of BRAC)

Delta Blues Productions LLC, an affiliate of Warner Horizon Scripted Television and part of Warner Bros. Entertainment, is resuming production on two scripted television series in Louisiana. Queen Sugar has been renewed for a third season on the Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN, and Claws has begun filming a second season for Turner Network Television, known as TNT.

The projects affirm Warner Bros. Entertainment’s ongoing commitment to Louisiana. Warner Bros. has filmed or completed post-production work on more than 15 motion picture and television projects in Louisiana since 2005, beginning with The Dukes of Hazzard, which filmed in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Clinton, Louisiana.

“Warner Bros. Entertainment has been a fixture in film and television production in Louisiana for more than a decade, and we are glad to continue building on that relationship,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Nearly $7 billion in motion picture production has taken place in Louisiana since 2002, and Warner Bros. has had an important role in that activity. Our state has long been known for first-rate crews, soundstages and locations that help to ensure the success of film projects such as these.”

Last summer, Gov. Edwards signed into law changes to the state’s film program that focus on content creators in the state, incentivizing permanent jobs and the entertainment companies that employ them.

“Louisiana created the state film incentive model 16 years ago, and we have been a leader in the field ever since,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “Our trailblazing program was made even better by enhancements that were signed into law by Gov. Edwards last summer. These changes are breaking new ground for the Louisiana film program, encouraging investment in the creative process and long-term sustainability. As our program continues to grow and thrive, we are happy to have Warner Bros. as an ongoing partner in this exciting industry.”

For the first season of Queen Sugar, Warner Bros. spent $23.6 million in production costs in Louisiana, including $9.25 million in Louisiana resident payroll. Estimated Louisiana expenditures for the second season were $29.6 million, including $11.7 million in Louisiana resident payroll, and estimates for the third season are $33.7 million in Louisiana production costs, including $8.8 million in Louisiana resident payroll.

For Claws, production estimates were $5 million in Louisiana expenditures for the series pilot, including $1.75 million in Louisiana resident payroll; $24.9 million in Louisiana expenditures for the first season, including $8.6 million in Louisiana resident payroll; and $35.2 million in Louisiana expenditures for the second season, including $12 million in Louisiana resident payroll.

Warner Bros. officials lauded Louisiana as an ideal site for feature film and episodic television productions.

“Warner Bros. has enjoyed a long history of Louisiana hospitality on our productions and we are glad to be back in the state for Queen Sugar and Claws,” said Michael Walbrecht, vice president of public affairs for Warner Bros. Entertainment. “The authentic locations that Louisiana provides for both projects add immense value directly to what our viewers see on screen.”

The contemporary drama Queen Sugar, set in Louisiana, chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings: Nova (Rutina Wesley, True Blood), a worldly-wise  journalist and activist; Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Unforgettable), the savvy wife and manager of a professional basketball star; and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe, Awkward), a formerly incarcerated young father in search of redemption. The executive producers are award-winning filmmaker Ava Duvernay, Oprah Winfrey, Kat Candler and Paul Garnes.

Claws is described by Warner Horizon Television as “a midnight-dark, wickedly funny meditation on female badness” set in a Central Florida nail salon. The series stars Niecy Nash (Getting OnThe Soul Man), Carrie Preston (True Blood), Harold Perrineau (Lost, Oz), Jenn Lyon (Justified), Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Karrueche Tran (The Nice Guys), Jason Antoon (Famous in Love), Kevin Rankin (Dallas Buyers ClubFriday Night Lights), Jack Kesy (The Strain) and Dean Norris (Breaking Bad). The series is executive-produced by Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Janine Sherman Barrois and Eliot Laurence.

Filming locations for Queen Sugar are a farm in Vacherie, Louisiana, and a home in Edgard, Louisiana. Claws is filmed at a soundstage in New Orleans and on location in Westwego, Louisiana.


On Tuesday, February 27, in collaboration with the state’s regional economic development organizations, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) will host the Statewide Economic Development Summit presented by Entergy.  Registration opens at 7:00 a.m.; program beings promptly at 8:00 a.m.; ends at 3:00 p.m at the L'Auberge Casino Hotel in Baton Rouge.  Keynote addresses by Governor John Bel Edwards, Joseph Parilla of the Brookings Institution, Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School, Rebecca Gehman of Development Counsellors International, and Gray Swoope of VisionFirst Advisors. The Summit will also feature mayoral and business panels. The full event agenda may be viewed at


The Jefferson Chamber will host its Legislative Issues Breakfast on Wednesday, February 28 at the Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport Hotel to discuss Louisiana’s economic development and the challenges and opportunities for the business community in the 2018 state legislative session.  Todd Murphy, president of the Jefferson Chamber, will moderate the discussion featuring LABI President & CEO Stephen Waguespack and GNO, Inc. President & CEO Michael Hecht.

As the state’s Chamber of Commerce and manufacturing association, LABI represents more than 2,200 businesses of every size, in every region and sector. As the president of LABI since 2013, Stephen has worked to enhance the association’s focus on federal issues, research, policy, as well as member engagement through technological advancements.

Greater New Orleans, Inc. is the economic development organization for southeast Louisiana. Its mission falls broadly into two categories: business development – attracting and growing businesses – and product development – creating better business conditions. Under Michael's leadership, GNO, Inc. was named the #2 economic development organization in the United States by Business Facilities magazine.

The event will begin with networking at 8 a.m. followed by the breakfast and speak



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