Sunday, March 02, 2008

Milken Ranks Wilmington Tops in Workforce Additions

A new report concludes these are boom times for the Wilmington area when it comes to job growth.

The non profit Milkin Institute in Los Angeles, ranks Wilmington second in the nation when it comes to additions to the workforce. A 2005 survey by the same group had Wilmington ranked 59th. General Electric and Invista are among the local companies adding new workers.
See the report here

John Hinnant of Wilmington Downtown Inc. Also gives credit to the city's historic charm and the growth of businesses in the downtown area, including PPD. Hinnant says investors and developers are starting to take notice of the city's potential. "They see us on the verge of great growth. We've had a lot of interest from outside developers and investors looking to come to Wilmington and start projects because they know the quality of life is strong here. They know we are a magnet for corporations looking to establish offices in this area, and build their work force," explained Hinnant.

December's Money Magazine also has a pat on the back for Wilmington's economy, stating the housing market here is, to use their word, sizzling.

Search Wilmington Employment listings here.

New HBO series will film in Port City

'Little Britain' adaptation starts filming this month
By Amy HotzStaff

Craft services will have to stock up on their supply of tea. HBO confirmed Thursday that the "untitled Little Britain" project will open offices at EUE/Screen Gems Studios on Monday.

An American version of the bawdy British sketch comedy series was scheduled to film here last fall. But Matt Lucas, one of the show's writers and stars, told BBC Radio the show was put on hold because of the recent Hollywood writers strike.

Now that the strike is over, six episodes of the series will start production here this month.

The U.S. version will be produced by Simon Fuller, best known for producing American Idol and the U.K.'s Pop Idol. He was not a producer on the U.K. series.

Lucas and his business partner David Walliams will write, produce and star in the American series. The comedy duo earned a cult following in the original version, known for men in women's dresses and eccentric Monty Python-esque humor. What started as a radio show became a TV series in the U.K. that ran from 2003 to 2006.

According to the BBC, the series filming here will also be a sketch show, this time set in contemporary America, that will include new and existing Little Britain characters. Wilmington Regional Film Commissioner Johnny Griffin said the project will probably employ more than 75 people, most of whom will be locals.

The experienced crew base and our film infrastructure is one of many reasons HBO decided to bring the series here, he said.

"They also wanted a generic look to it that could play different parts of the country," Griffin said. Wilmington's varied landscape and architecture has doubled recently for New York in the locally filmed CW series One Tree Hill and for a South American jungle in the Richard Gere feature Nights in Rodanthe.

HBO was already familiar with the area, having shot the feature Idlewild here in 2004 and the Will Ferrell-produced pilot East Bound and Down last year.

It was while making that pilot that HBO expressed interest in bringing Little Britain to the region, Griffin said.

East Bound and Down has received a series commitment from the cable channel as well, and it's possible its episodes will shoot here after Little Britain wraps.

Rolling production of one HBO show into another would allow the company to retain certain crew members and probably save money in the long run.

"That's what our hope is," Griffin said. "It's good for us to know, 'OK, something must have worked for them before.'

"The Little Britain announcement comes just weeks after The CW asked One Tree Hill to create six more episodes for its fifth season. And Wilmington's H2O Entertainment, which produces Whittaker Bay, a teen drama that recently switched from WGN TV to the America One station, announced will begin shooting a feature called Redefining Love April 21.