The stars and production team of "Detroit 1-8-7" are all over Detroit as they shoot toward its fall TV debut.
From story plotting to integrating local landscapes and faces, executive producer David Zabel ("ER") said much progress has been made since the June 17 announcement that ABC had allocated a budget that will inject more than $25 million into the local economy for the first prime-time drama set and fully produced in metro Detroit.
"So far everything is really going well," Zabel said. Production on the first two episodes began July 20. ABC has ordered a 12-episode season for the drama about a homicide unit in Detroit and targeted Sept. 21 for its premiere. It will run Tuesdays at 10 p.m., the time slot "NYPD Blue" owned for years.
"This is not a short-term game," Zabel added. "We hope to be on the air for years and years."
Zabel's cast, including Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos"), James McDaniel ("NYPD Blue") and Aisha Hinds ("True Blood"), are getting acclimated to Detroit after reporting for duty July 13. Zabel said locations such as the Detroit Princess River Boat, Corktown, Greektown and Chene Park are adding to the series' authenticity.
"We're interacting with real people from Detroit and it's giving the actors a real understanding of what the material is," he says.
The Free Press talked with two of the show's stars, Imperioli and Erin Cummings ("Spartacus: Blood and Sand"), for a briefing on how "1-8-7" is coming along -- and how they're liking their new Detroit digs.