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'Prison Break' production will probably move from North Texas to L.A.
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Fox's Prison Break probably will move production from North Texas to Los Angeles for next season, officials confirmed Friday.

"The producers have an exciting idea for next season's storylines, and unfortunately, it may require moving the series back to Los Angeles for creative reasons," said Chris Alexander, a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television.

The show has not officially been picked up for its fourth season, but apparently writers rethought the storyline during the three-month Writers Guild of America strike. Prison Break's crew was informed of the potential move this week, said Janis Burklund, head of the Dallas Film Commission. "We haven't given up on it," she said of the show. "I've been calling producers and asking what can we do, if anything, to keep this here."

Prison Break came to Dallas after an initial season in Chicago. A total of 35 episodes were shot in North Texas – 22 in its second season and 13 this season prior to the strike – for almost $50 million, Ms. Burklund said, and a total economic impact to the area of $122.5 million. The average episode cost $1.4 million, was shot in eight days and employed 600 people, she added.

The news of the potential move came suddenly, Ms. Burklund said, after the Dallas Film Commission was already in negotiations to keep Prison Break in North Texas for two more years, long enough to assure the show of syndication. The two additional seasons would have meant direct spending of $61.6 million and an economic impact of $154 million, she said.

Dallas casting agent Linda McAlister had placed 70 actors in speaking roles on the show and another 35 on NBC's Austin-shot Friday Night Lights, which is facing an uncertain future itself, including as reported this week in Variety, a potential move to another network.

"We're all bummed out," Ms. McAlister said. "Major loss and especially if we don't get Friday Night Lights back."

"Shooting the past two seasons of Prison Break in Dallas has been a fantastic experience, and we are enormously grateful to this talented community of production people, actors and vendors," Fox's Mr. Alexander said.

Ms. Burklund credits show producer Garry Brown, who knew the area from his work on Walker, Texas Ranger, with steering the show to North Texas. "He was our biggest cheerleader to get Fox to even come take a look at us," she said. "After they were out half a day (scouting locations), they said, 'Yeah, this works.' "

Mr. Alexander and Ms. Burklund indicated Fox may look to Dallas for future shows. "We've got a good relationship with Fox," Ms. Burklund said. "We're in their thoughts already."

Source: Dallas News

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