MOLINE, Ill. — For a few days, Hollywood came to the Quad Cities!
At WQAD, we're no strangers to television. But in early February, we got a double dose as a TV crew from Chicago took over our building to film the pilot episode to a new sitcom called "Bettendorf Talks."
The show follows a formerly well-known television talk show that's making a comeback after a 10-year hiatus.
Guests of all sorts make an appearance (including a band that we heard all the way in our newsroom during the filming process) as the hosts work navigate working around regular news broadcasts, filming between shows, at night and on the weekends.
"It's called 'Bettendorf Talks' but we think the Quad Cities - all five of them - are a great setting for this kind of show," said David Pasquesi, the sitcom's co-creator, co-writer and co-star. "It's funny and there's also some sadness - which we find hilarious!"
At the moment, the crew doesn't know who might be willing to pick up the new show. They're hoping to have the first episode edited by early summer, to enter the pilot into tv film festivals.
"Anything that allows us a little more latitude with language and content would be a little helpful," said TJ Jagodowski, co-creator, co-writer and co-star. You might recognize him from his work on Sonic Drive-In commercials. "So streaming would be great, but we wouldn't turn down a network!"
So why pick the Quad Cities?
The show's creators say they were searching for a town within driving distance of Chicago when they landed on the QC.
"We'd like to have a blue-collar ethic to the show and picking one of the quads seemed like it would have that feel to it," Jagodowski said. "It was still downhome-touchable, you know? Like it had some roots to it. And if you don't like the quads, there's something wrong with you!"
And filming at WQAD was extra special for one of the show's producers.
Shane Simmons is a Bettendorf native and grew up filming high school and college projects around the Quad Cities. When he got the call for "Bettendorf Talks" he knew he couldn't turn it down.
"The chance to bring a production here is just completely a dream come true," Simmons said. "There's so many options now for where this could live and where it could be released. I want everybody in the Quad Cities to be able to see this first."
So for several days, actors, producers, makeup artists, technicians and camera crews took over our WQAD studios, conference room, break areas, production booth, storage spaces and parking lot.
"It feels like we're stalking the staff here," Simmons laughed.
But hey! It's all in the name of television, which is something we can certainly get behind!
If the show is picked up, the rest of the episodes would, sadly, not be filmed at WQAD. However, the crew says establishing shots of the entire Quad Cities would most likely be used throughout the final product.
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