Chicago could be home to 'Playboy' series

Chicago could be home to 'Playboy' series
When one door shuts, another opens. Two days after Fox canceled the locally shot police drama "The Chicago Code," the city may have landed a replacement for next season.

NBC's one-hour drama "The Playboy Club" is set at Hugh Hefner's Chicago club in 1963 and will depict the world of working-class Playboy bunnies and the men in their lives. According to, it stars Eddie Cibrian (who recently wed the singer LeAnn Rimes) as "attorney Nick Dalton, a charming yet mysterious man with connections that veer on the illegal." The show also stars Amber Heard ("Zombieland") and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti ("Gypsy").

The pilot, which shot here in March at the old Meigs Terminal on Northerly Island, was directed by Alan Taylor, who also directed the pilot for AMC's 1960s-era "Mad Men." Actress Naturi Naughton, who portrayed a Playboy bunny last season on "Mad Men," has been cast in "The Playboy Club" as well, as a woman who seeks to become the first African-American Playboy centerfold. (The pilot caused a minor stir when unconfirmed rumors circulated that actor contracts included a nudity clause.)

NBC will officially announce next season's television lineup in a conference call to reporters Sunday, but news about which pilots made it began leaking earlier this week.

Details about the series' future have yet to be released, including how many episodes NBC has ordered, and more specifically whether the show will shoot locally. But that may just be a formality; according to the managing director of the Illinois Film Office Betsy Steinberg: "I can tell you definitively that they told me they will be shooting in Chicago."

Rich Moskal, who runs the Chicago Film Office and would be actively involved in facilitating any upcoming series, echoed that sentiment. When the producers were here filming in March, he said, they "were sort of laying out the potential timeline should the show get picked up." Moskal said it is possible the show could be here filming as early as June.

Moskal doubts the series will return the Meigs Terminal, which he said "worked great as a location at the time, but in the long term might pose problems" particularly due to the busy summer schedule of concerts at Northerly Island.

Currently shooting in town is the Starz series "Boss" starring Kelsey Grammer. FX will begin shooting its pilot "Powers" in July, and Showtime's "Shameless" (which shoots interiors in LA) is tentatively expected back in August to film exteriors for the second season. "Superman: Man of Steel" will also be filming in Plano later this summer.

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