ABC’s ‘Nashville’ doesn’t need taxpayer dollars for authenticity

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE — Did you know “Cheers” was filmed on a Hollywood soundstage and not in the actual bar in Boston?

Did you know the mission control scenes for the movie “Apollo 13” were filmed on a staged replica of the actual room?

How about some more Hollywood trivia?

Green screen techniques have advanced so much that actors and actresses no longer need to film on location for authenticity’s sake, provided only a few camera operators travel to the actual location.

NASHVILLE: A scene from ABC’s “Nashville.”

So, Tennessee officials, please explain why you’ve given away millions of taxpayer dollars to the producers of ABC’s “Nashville” to film on location, supposedly so the show can retain a sense of authenticity.

If last night’s episode was any indication, state taxpayers aren’t getting their money’s worth.

I admit I’m not a regular viewer.

This 30ish male doesn’t seem to fit the target demographic for this soap opera — and the show’s advertising seems to confirm it.

The only two episodes I’ve seen are the 2012 pilot and what aired last night, complete with a special appearance by Michelle Obama.

Granted, there was that scene in one of Nashville’s high-rise office towers, with the city’s Pinnacle Building clearly visible in a background window.

For certain other episodes the “Nashville” crew has filmed on location at the Grand Ole Opry stage, the Parthenon building, and the recently renamed John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.

The show has certainly filmed on location in other parts of the city.

But most of last night’s episode was obviously filmed inside a Nashville production studio — the crew could just as easily film those scenes in Hollywood.

Even scenes taking place at the real-life “Bluebird Café” are filmed on a recreated set.

ON-LOCATION: Nashville’s Broadway Avenue has plenty of tourists, but ABC’s “Nashville” might not depict the city accurately.

The crew could also just as easily film those scenes in Georgia or Texas, which is where producers are threatening to relocate if state officials don’t pony up millions more for a possible third season.

Tennessee officials shouldn’t even bother pretending to care.

If the crew really cared about authenticity they could do what scores of other television shows have done in the past — film the majority of their scenes on a Hollywood soundstage.

If the script calls for location shooting a Hollywood soundstage can’t recreate, then travel to the actual location and spend a few days or weeks filming there.

Additionally, audiences won’t know the difference if you use the already mentioned green screen techniques, which are stellar.

Either way, you save your own money.

But cash is apparently easier to waste when it’s someone else’s dough.

Hollywood took advantage of the Tennessee government’s zeal to market the state for national and international audiences and wasted millions of dollars that could have gone elsewhere.

Certain Nashville residents — taxpayers — call the show “smut” and don’t care to see their city depicted in the way the ABC series presents it. At the very least, state officials would never manufacture a tourism brochure showing Tennessee residents involved in blackmail, casual drug use and adultery.

State officials must realize that if the show is cancelled or, heaven forbid, relocates its production to another state, the sky will not fall and the tourists will still come.

Big government types already waste enough taxpayer money on the illusion central planners can run our lives more efficiently.

They shouldn’t waste millions more on a fantasized version of Nashville that will never amount to anything more than pure fiction.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org. or follow him and submit story ideas on his official Facebook page.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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