Why 'NCIS: New Orleans' May Move Production From The Big Easy

NCIS: New Orleans is one of those shows that has an authentic feel, mostly because primary filming actually happens on the streets of the Big Easy. While fans have enjoyed that consistent authenticity over the years, there is talk about moving to film to another location – and it all has to do with new abortion restrictions in the state of Louisiana.

Why is ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ on the move?

Louisiana is on the verge of approving a new law that willplace tighter restrictions on abortions throughout the state. According to CinemaBlend, the state legislature in Louisiana just approved a law that will banabortions the moment a heartbeat is detected in the fetus.

Celebrities have not responded positively towards the newlegislation and are doing everything in their power to fight it. Producers of NCIS: New Orleans have found themselvesin the middle of the drama and are reportedly thinking about leaving New Orleansaltogether.

Filming NCIS: New Orleans in a different location would have a more noticeable impact than it would for a typical show. The Walking Dead, for example, is also thinking about pulling out of George because of similar issues. But TWD could easily be adapted to a new location. NCIS: New Orleans, on the other hand, features a lot of famous landmarks on each episode, many of which are just as important to the show as anything else. That is not to say that NCIS producers could not pull it off, but it would take away that feeling of authenticity.

Will ‘NCIS’ leave the Big Easy behind?

Despite the potential downsides, NCIS: New Orleans showrunner Christopher Silber is not afraid tolook for a new filming location. Silber and his team are already filming thenew season in New Orleans so it is too late to pull out now, but they areconsidering leaving the city for future seasons. If lawmakers follow throughwith the new abortion legislation, there is a very real possibility that theshow films in a new location next year.

“As the show continues production in New Orleans thisseason, we will monitor developments and wait to see how this plays out in thecourts. Should the legislation take effect, it would be unconscionable to me tocontinue production in a state that enacts a draconian law putting women’shealth and rights at risk,” Silber shared.

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Fortunately, the law has not been put into practice yet andthere is a possibility that it never does. If that happens, Silber will likelykeep the cast and crew rooted in the Big Easy. Despite the controversial newlaw, the head of Louisiana’s entertainment office, Chris Stelly, revealed thatno production teams have left the state so far. Those numbers, of course, willprobably change if legislatures move forward with the new abortion plan.

Where would ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ relocate?

NCIS: New Orleansdecided to film in its namesake city for various reasons. For starters,producers wanted the series to have an authentic feel, a goal they accomplishedby showcasing some of the city’s most famous landmarks. Louisiana also offerstax breaks as an incentive to film within its borders. In the event that Silbermoves production to a new state, there is a way they could still incorporatesome of the iconic landmarks moving forward.

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Producers could easily build new sets in a studio and thenshoot a handful of scenes in New Orleans. The landmarks would not be featuredas heavily as they are now, but it would still give fans a feeling that theyare actually in New Orleans. We can only hope that it does not come to that andthat lawmakers in Louisiana come up with a better plan for abortions.

A look at Louisiana’s filming industry

Apart from NCIS,there are other shows and movie projects that are continuing to film in thestate despite the looming legislation. As of 2019, there are around 18 projectsunderway throughout the state, including ThePurge, Queen Sugar, and Bill and Ted Face the Music. Thesevarious projects account for close to 7,500 jobs in Louisiana and havecontributed over $940 million in spending. Although this is significant forLouisiana, it pales in comparison to Georgia’s entertainment sector, whichboasts some 92,000 jobs and $9 billion in revenue.

It is unclear when the new abortion law might take effect,though filmmakers are hoping that it never gets enacted into law.

NCIS: New Orleans is scheduled to return for a newseason this fall.

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