History channel drama on SEAL Team 6 to film in Wilmington

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Production crews for History's 'Six' will move into EUE/Screen Gems later this month. File photo.
Production crews for History’s ‘Six’ will move into EUE/Screen Gems later this month. File photo.

A second TV series is slated to shoot this spring in the Port City.

Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, confirmed this week that the History channel new series, “Six,” would film its first eight-episode season in and around the city.

Production crews are expected to open up offices at EUE/Screen Gems Studios later this month, Griffin noted, with shooting to begin in March.

The original drama follows a Navy SEAL Team Six and its 2014 mission to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan, according to a release. The mission goes awry when the team discovers an American is working with the terrorists.

Although it is a fictional series, “Six” is inspired by real missions, with plans to set each season in a different location. It was penned by Oscar-nominated screenwriter and Vietnam veteran William Broyles—whose credits include “Castaway” and “Jarhead”–and his son David Broyles, a military special operations veteran. The drama is a project of A+E Studios and The Weinstein Company.

“Six” will join “Good Behavior,” the TNT drama that is also slated to shoot in early spring. The show shot its pilot in Wilmington in October before being picked up for a first season last month and announcing plans to return to the area.

Griffin said two projects in the pipeline is a great start for 2016, which he hopes will be a year of resurgence for the local industry, hit hard in 2015 by a major loss in film incentives.

Both the Fox series “Sleepy Hollow” and ABC’s “Secrets and Lies” announced their departure from the area earlier this year. And in September, CBS decided to cancel its locally filmed sci-fi show, “Under the Dome.”

Under the former incentives, productions that spent at least $250,000 got a 25 percent tax break, with a maximum per production of $20 million. In its place, lawmakers created a scaled-down, limited grant fund that capped the amount of credits to an annual $10 million statewide, with a per-production limit of $5 million for feature films and TV shows and $250,000 for commercials.

But state leaders beefed up that amount in the 2015-17 budget, increasing funding for the film grant fund from $10 million to $30 million annually over the next two years.

It’s an increase Hollywood is noticing, Griffin said.

In talks with producers of both “Six” and “Good Behavior” since mid-2015, Griffin said the new pot of grant funds is what really sealed the deal.

“We had conversations for months. They’ve been here and had visits to the area. But if we didn’t have the incentives, they wouldn’t be here in the first place,” he said.

With two projects now off the ground early in 2016, Wilmington will be even easier to sell as a potential spot for projects, Griffin added. As a hotel with nothing but vacant rooms might be a turn-off to potential guests, he said a city with no filming raises eyebrows in L.A.

“This will help us to show we’ve got projects; it helps us to be able to sell what we have,” he said. “When I can give them names of active projects and producers they can have conversations with about us, that’s what they really need.”

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.