TV show with $70M budget considering shooting in Arkansas; city officials to vote on incentive package

A Northwest Arkansas city that's in the running to be the location for a TV show with a reported $70 million budget is considering an incentive package it hopes will persuade producers to shoot in the Natural State.

Fayetteville is one of two possible locations for the network TV series, said Chung Tan, the director of economic development for the city's Chamber of Commerce.

"We were told that every state in the union wants this project," Tan said. "That is already a win."

On Tuesday night, the City Council will decide whether to contribute $500,000 to a package that includes grants and tax incentives and will hopefully show producers that the city is committed to working with them, Tan said.

She added that the $500,000 is small compared with the project's $70 million budget and the estimated $179 million effect on the city in terms of jobs and revenue.

The City Council would contribute the money over two years as part of a "resolution of intent to participate in funding for a network episodic television series," according to city documents submitted for the 5:30 p.m meeting, which is set to take place at Fayetteville's City Hall.

Devin Howland, director of economic vitality for Fayetteville, submitted the resolution Sept. 15. It states that "a series of this size and caliber" would have a positive effect on the city's economy. The project reportedly has the support of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and the Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Tan said she could not disclose the name of the series, but Arkansas Online reported in September that the third season of HBO's True Detective will be set in Northwest Arkansas.

The official also would not name the other location that is being considered for the show but said it is in a strong state for giving incentives for film projects. She said one of the main drivers for teams deciding whether to film in a certain state is community cooperation.

"If they have to close the street and do a shoot, will everyone be calling to complain?" Tan said. "We believe this is not the case."

She said Fayetteville has a strong creative scene and a fledgling film industry that she believes a project like this one could elevate. The show could pull from Fayetteville's talented workforce that includes University of Arkansas, Fayetteville graduates, carpenters and creatives, Tan added.