Friday, March 19, 2004

‘Oahu’ TV show
gets go-ahead
for filming

The hour-long show will
start filming in May

Fox Television has given the green light to the hotel drama "Oahu" as a series -- the first series filmed in the islands since "Baywatch Hawaii" was canceled in February 2001 after a two-year run.

The hour-long show, beginning with 12 episodes, will start filming by May for at least four months.

Though no official figures are available, sources said the show is expected to spend between $12 million and $18 million for the dozen episodes. The pilot employed about 65 local crew members -- but for the series, that number is expected to drop to about 50.

A television series is the most lucrative production for a location because filming -- and spending -- extends over several months or years, compared with a film that might only spend a few weeks filming.

"Oahu" focuses on the lives of people working at a luxury hotel -- the Grand Waimea -- and their interaction with guests. An additional story line is that the hotel's general manager is the former girlfriend of the director of guest relations, who thought he was in line for that job. The show's stars are Rachel Shelley and Kristoffer Polaha.

The "Oahu" pilot was filmed in 13 days on Oahu's North Shore earlier this month using the Turtle Bay Resort as its production base and fictional hotel. Fox executives were shown a pilot presentation earlier this week on which they based their decision.

The turnaround to start the series so soon after the pilot may have been made easier since three episodes had already been written, sources said.

"Oahu" production executives are still looking for at least a 25,000-square-foot warehouse for production offices and sets. NBC is renting the Hawaii Film Studio for its "Hawaii" pilot. Though "Oahu" was based at the Turtle Bay Resort, it has not been determined if hotel officials will continue the agreement.

Abid Butt, the resort's managing director, said he does not know any reason why the resort would not continue to be involved in the series, but "at this point there are too many ifs that need to be answered."

The resort remains the first location choice for "Oahu" producers, though much of the series' filming is expected to be done off the property.

Fox executives were unavailable for comment.


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