Sundance TV will get to use the old Woman’s Hospital for free for the next six months as the production company shoots a new show, “Hap and Leonard.”
The Metro Council signed off this week on allowing the AMC Network station to use Woman’s Hospital, but several council members questioned the economic impact the show will bring to Baton Rouge. For now, it’s relatively none.
Sundance TV will film a pilot episode and then the following six episodes while using Woman’s Hospital rent-free. If the show is a hit and gets picked up, Baton Rouge Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel said they will renegotiate the terms.
“If it is picked up, that’s when they start doubling down,” said Liza Kelso, executive director of the Baton Rouge Film Commission. “The key is that it is a long- term deal.”
Kelso told the Metro Council that the move is to stay competitive with other Louisiana cities that offer tax credits for filming movies and television shows. While the state offers several incentives for production crews to film here, Baton Rouge does not offer its own additional incentives.
Kelso said the benefit of luring a television show, rather than a movie, to the Capital City is that is has the potential for longevity and could create 75 to 100 jobs in the future.
“Mayor Holden and I have been working for a long time to make a partnership with not only a feature film but also a television network,” she said.
The show is based on a Joe Lansdale series of novels and it will transform Baton Rouge into East Texas in the 1980s. It will follow two best friends — one a white working-class man, the other a black, gay military veteran — as they try to stay out of trouble.