Arts Desk

Gray’s Latest Studio Pitch: The Statehood Show?

This post has been updated.

Earlier this year, Mayor Vince Gray, while in Los Angeles for a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, took a side trip to meet with several Hollywood production companies in hopes of enticing them to bring more film and television shoots to D.C. Since those July meetings, the Office of Motion Picture and Television Development says, there has been an uptick of visits to the District by movie and TV shoots, including Argo, a Ben Affleck-directed spy thriller, and Veep, the upcoming HBO series that takes place here but is filmed mostly in Baltimore.

Today, Gray and film office chief Crystal Palmer are in New York meeting with executives from a handful of cable channels, promoting D.C. as a film location in general, and in some cases making some suggestions about editorial content. In some of their talks with representatives of HBO, Food Network, Comedy Central, and A&E, Gray and Palmer will be pitching shows about D.C. statehood.

"We believe that our D.C. Statehood movement is a fascinating topic for film and television and it is certainly a remarkable story that needs to be told," Gray said in a press release. In turn, Gray and Palmer will push HBO's documentary division to commission a film on the topic, film office spokeswoman Leslie Green says. The Comedy Central meeting, meanwhile, is meant as a followup to the October 2010 visit by The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

"The purpose of the meeting with Comedy Central is to discuss future opportunities for the network to film some of their television features and specials in the District and  to discuss their covering of the issue of 'Taxation without Representation,'" Green writes in an email. But before anyone envisions a Lewis Black rant on that topic, remember, the ornery commentator was raised in Silver Spring.

The meetings with Food Network and A&E are about apolitical upcoming programming that might have a District hook, Green says.

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  • Sarah

    You say that Mayor One-City is pitching DC statehood to be on the Comedy Channel?! Wow, he's more perceptive that I gave him credit for.