Handshake will keep Burn Notice
By Catherine Lackner
Producers of the hit "Burn Notice" TV series say they and the City of Miami have reached a handshake deal that will allow production to stay in its current 107,000-square-foot space for one more year, provided the show is renewed for its seventh season.
Fox Television Studios has agreed to raise its rent to $450,000 and won't seek further lease extensions beyond the end of next season. The agreement, brokered by Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, must still be approved by the full commission.
The show has filmed in the space, adjacent to City Hall, for six years, paying $240,000 a year, but Miami wants to demolish the building for a waterfront park as part of its Coconut Grove Waterfront Master Plan.
During lease negotiations last year, Miami commissioner suggested the show move to the Miami Entertainment Complex, a city-owned building on Northwest 13th Street that is meant to be a film studio. Terry Miller, the show's executive producer, said then that wasn't feasible, and he reiterated it this year.
Producers said if their dispute with the city couldn't be resolved, they would probably leave Miami, possibly for Broward County. A move out of Florida was also a possibility, they said.
The prospect galvanized the film industry, which bombarded commissioners with emails, letters, phone calls, and visits.
"We had tremendous support, not just from the Miami film industry, but from throughout the state," said Leah Sokolowsky, president of the Film Florida advocacy group. "People were really interested in this, and they got involved. The city listened."
Despite protracted discussions and public comments that at times were contentious, she said she doesn't feel Miami's long-term reputation as a film-friendly city has been damaged.
"These are odd times economically and this is a one-time situation," which probably wouldn't have arisen in a privately owned studio, she said. "I think it's great that the city has offered this facility to [Fox subsidiary] TVM Productions for these all these years. I'm amazingly happy and hopeful at the outcome. It shows they do get it — they do understand the value of this industry."
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