Friday, August 13, 2004

Stars and extras from "North Shore" crowd the floor of Pipeline Cafe while filming a club scene. Pictured in the middle of the crowd are Kaylee Defer (in white) and Corey Sevier. The show has enjoyed a steady growth in audience, prompting Fox Television to ask for nine more episodes.

‘North Shore’ gets
9-episode extension

The show, boosted by name stars, will
earn $13.5 million more for the state

Fox Television has picked up the TV drama "North Shore" for an additional nine episodes, meaning $13.5 million in production revenues in Hawaii.

Each "North Shore" episode costs about $2.3 million, with $1.5 million, or 65 percent, spent here.

Hawaii's cut of the first 13 episodes is $19.5 million, making the 22-episode run $33 million.

"It's unbelievable, wonderful," said "North Shore" line producer Harry Bring. "We thought the network was going to give us six more episodes, but to get the whole nine really shows us how much the network is behind the show."

The hotel drama struggled with low ratings before adding more name stars and refined writing. But Bring said the last few episodes have shown "really good signs" of steady audience growth.

"After a one-week pre-emption, we came back with our two strongest weeks ever," Bring said. "And the (audience popularity) of some actors has gone up."

That includes Jason Momoa ("Baywatch Hawaii"), who plays bartender Frankie Seau, and Amanda Righetti ("The O.C."), who plays Tessa, a former con artist who is now putting her skills to use as the fictional hotel's concierge.

"North Shore" stars Kris Polaha, Brooke Burns and James Remar, but added Shannen Doherty this week and Christopher McDonald last month, beefing up the acting corps. Doherty signed on for a three-episode arc to play Alexandra Hudson, the long-lost sister of series star Brooke Burns.

Doherty's deal includes an option to become a regular if the series continues beyond its current 13-episode production run. She arrives in Honolulu today.

Donne Dawson, Hawaii film commissioner, said the nine-episode pickup is "fantastic news" on several fronts, including keeping more than 100 Hawaii crew employed on the show.

Of the 125 people on crew, 109 are local, Bring said.

"North Shore" was the first new network series to air when it debuted in June. Fox executives expected the show would have to find its audience with the uncommon summer launch.

If "North Shore" had not been picked up, the last day of filming would have been Sept. 17.

With the additional episodes, the series wraps in mid-January, about two weeks before the state begins 11 months of renovation and construction at the Hawaii Film Studio.

If "North Shore" returns for a second season, filming and building will have to coexist at the facility. "North Shore" would begin filming season two in April with pre-production a month earlier. The production and the construction teams might have to adjust their schedules, and production staff would have to use trailers for offices.

It is unlikely "North Shore" will vacate the studio, since Fox built a nearly $1 million hotel lobby set in the sound stage. Fox was aware of the state's construction plans when the network signed the lease earlier this year.

"We want to work very closely with the production so they and the state can both achieve their goals," Dawson said.

"It's like everything else that you see in this business: You find ways to work things out," Bring said. "If it's uncomfortable (for us) for a couple of months, so be it."



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