Film & TV

Burn Notice: City Commissioners Plan to Evict Production From Coconut Grove

See Burn Notice Resumes Filming With a Homestead-Miami Speedway Explosion.

A day in Miami without a Jeffrey Donovan sighting is worse than piss-warm beer on the hottest day in July.

But Miami could be saying goodbye to its TV spy candy. Those high-speed car chases and bikini clad weapons experts? Gone.

City of Miami commissioners notified Burn Notice that once the production's lease ends in October, the hit USA series will have to find itself a new home to film its seventh season.

The Coconut Grove Exposition Center has been home to the series for the last six years.

According to Miami Today, USA Network pays $240,000 to the city every year. During its first five years, the paper estimates, the network spent over $100 million, mostly in Miami, including almost $63 million in wages.

Now, Commissioner Sarnoff wants them to relocate so he can build a park on the waterfront property.

"The money is there, we are ready to go," Sarnoff said about the plans at last week's Miami City Commission meeting.

Building more parks in Miami is a noble goal. But so is bringing vacationers to a city that could really use some incoming tourist dollars. Burn Notice is a nationally ranked, Emmy nominated cable show; last Thursday, it was the top program on cable TV, with a viewership of nearly 5 million. Leah Solokowsky, president of the Film Florida advocacy group, told Miami Today that equivalent exposure in advertising buys would cost $170 million.

Sarnoff said he is willing to help TVM Productions find another filming facility, suggesting the Miami Entertainment Complex, still under development in the designated Media and Entertainment District and purchased by the city from Miami-Dade School Board for $3.1 million. But the complex requires upgrades and renovations in order to house the studio, and moving the show to the new location could cost up to $1 million.

Despite the predicament, the sixth season of the series is maintaining its composure. A spokesperson for USA Network confirmed that the show is currently being shot in Miami with no plans to move.

Fans of the show aim to keep it that way, as Miami lovers and entertainment enthusiasts fight to keep the city's film industry from letting go of such an asset well before its time is up. A "Keep Burn Notice in Miami" Facebook page collects news clippings and photos like the one below, calling for a reversal of the commission's decision.

A City of Miami Commission Meeting will be held to discuss the issue on Thursday, July 26, 9 a.m. at City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami.

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Briana Saati