Editorial: ‘Council of Dads’ cancellation a big loss for Savannah

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Editorial from the Savannah Morning News.
The “Council” won’t be returning to Savannah.
NBC canceled the freshman drama series, which is based on the book by Savannah native Bruce Feiler, last week ahead of its final two episodes. The season — and series — finale airs at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Georgia Southern Armstrong becomes ‘Savannah General’ for Savannah-shot ‘Council of Dads’
The move was met with swift reactions from around the area.
Some people were naturally upset — a number of locals worked behind the scenes, performed background work for various episodes and had a steady flow of income for the multiple months the series made Savannah its home base. Others veered more negative, lamenting their opinion of the poor quality of the show as reason enough to ignore its departure from the NBC lineup.
While simply dismissing the series due to one’s opinion of the show’s quality might be an easy reaction, the cancellation of “Dads” is a more direct local issue than just liking or disliking what was on the screen.
The cancellation of the series hurts both Savannah’s economy and growing film industry workforce.
According to the Savannah Regional Film Commission 2019 report, 129 professional projects — including eight feature films, 18 television projects and 12 commercials — filmed across the area, generating a record-breaking $125.6 million in direct spend and $266.3 million in economic impact.
Among those was “Council of Dads” and the other recently canceled series, “Florida Girls,” both of which employed a local workforce of film industry professionals and offered opportunities for current students and recent graduates of the Georgia Film Academy at Savannah Tech and the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Critical acclaim aside, the goal of “Council of Dads” or “Florida Girls” from the Savannah perspective was for the shows to find a long life and offer consistent work for our local industry base, most of which are filled with locals or natives to the area.
Even outside of the pandemic, the film industry is a blustery job field with opportunities overflowing one day and drying up the next. Television series, especially popular ones, can mitigate that and offer a consistent flow of income.
Beyond that, “Council of Dads” was a major selling point for Savannah in all her picturesque glory.
Viewers don’t have to go past the first episode of the show to see Savannah on immaculate display with panoramic views of the Talmadge Bridge sitting above River Street, the marshes of Isle of Hope and the bustling cobblestone streets of the Historic District garnering prominent exposure to the prime-time network audience.
Local shops such as E. Shaver’s and The Crab Shack were scene mainstays in the show’s first season, directing curious viewers to potential visiting spots on their next Savannah sojourn.
While the quality of the eventual product is up to one’s own interpretation, it’s worth remembering with “Council of Dads” — and all of the Savannah-filmed outputs in both TV and film — the production’s underlying economic impact. Success drives industry growth and employment in the Hostess City.
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