TV and film industry abuzz about possibility of popular crime drama relocating to Hawaii

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 5:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s film and TV industry is lit up with excitement that a new CBS drama could start filming in the islands.

The industry and its workers have survived a devastating 2020, but this year is looking much better.

Hollywood reports say another CBS crime drama ― NCIS ― could be headed to Hawaii, but there’s no confirmation from the network.

Even the buzz has folks excited.

“The idea that another CBS show could be looking at Hawaii seriously is really exciting especially considering all the other productions we have on the ground right now,” said Donne Dawson, state film commissioner.

Also filming in Hawaii: Disney’s Doogie Howser reboot, Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.

Dawson says in 2019, Hawaii’s TV and film industry brought in $409 million in direct spending. But that was cut in half last year.

“Now we are well on our way to another record year,” said Dawson, adding there are more projects in the works for the Neighbor Islands as well.

“The demand for content is unprecedented. The production has to happen. The show must go on,” she said.

Industry experts say Hawaii remains attractive because of its diverse landscape and low COVID rates.

“The productions have been hyper vigilant,” said Tui Scanlan, president of IATSE Local 665, which represents Hawaii’s TV, film and event technicians.

He says under new protocols, there are masks and shields, compliance officers, safety zones and testing.

“Depending on what zone you are in, there’s more frequent testing. Some of them are once a week, some of them are every day,” said Scanlan.

“We are excited about the resurgence of some film and tv work, but still anxiously await the time we can all meet in public in big numbers,” he added.

Dave Reyes works as a set and lighting technician.

He says last year, he faced an eviction on Maui while battling what appeared to be COVID and had no work for months until reality show, “Temptation Island,” came to the Valley Isle in the fall.

“All of that kind of opened the doors for everyone else, then after that another film shot on Maui and now this Disney film feature here so it’s looking good for the future,” said Reyes.

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