Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, May 2, 2001

HBO kills proposed
Oahu-based war
drama ‘Lessons Learned’

By Tim Ryan

HBO Pictures' proposed Oahu-based Vietnam War-era series "Lessons Learned" is dead.

An HBO official said the hour-long weekly drama "at this time does not fit (the network's) needs in the overall scheme of our programming."

The executive emphasized that HBO "very much" wanted to film the series in Hawaii. The decision was not because of the writers' strike that started yesterday, the official said.

"We developed a wonderful relationship with HBO through this process," said Walea Constantinau, Oahu film commissioner. "Of course we're disappointed at their decision ... but we know they'll look at us seriously for another show."

HBO last October filmed a $4 million pilot with an ensemble cast of about 40 actors on an extensive set in Maunawili Valley. The cable network had hoped to begin filming 12 hour-long episodes this month.

Patrick Shane Duncan, who wrote "Courage Under Fire," "Mr. Holland's Opus" and "84 Charlie Myopic," wrote the pilot for "Lessons Learned" and was going to direct the series.

The stories were to center around a survival school in Vietnam and what the soldiers needed to learn to survive.

Hawaii lost its only television series, "Baywatch Hawaii," in February to poor ratings after two seasons. "Lessons Learned" was the bright spot in an otherwise bleak production year -- after a record $135 million in production revenues in year 2000.

With the writers' strike in force and a pending actors' strike slated to begin June 1, Hawaii state and county film commissioners are channeling their efforts into attracting more commercial makers.

HBO will demolish its Windward Oahu set and restore the location to its previous condition.

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