Last year, the publicly funded Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency announced it was teaming up with film studio company EUE/Screen Gems Studios to build a brand new television and film studio right in the heart of the city.
And perhaps everyone's biggest curiosity was, "Well what, uh, exactly are they going to be filming there?"
Today, we've officially got an answer. Viacom International Studios will be the chief tenant at the Florida Film and Television Center. That's the media conglomerate that owns cable networks like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, and Comedy Central, and they're planning to shoot lots of new content here in Miami.
“We have had terrific success with the recent live action productions we have coming from Miami, and we are very excited to be committed to doing more,” said Cyma Zarghami, president of Viacom Kids and Family Group, in a statement. “We are constantly looking for new creative ideas and content formats that allow us to tell stories in a completely different way, and this facility will certainly forward that effort.”
Current Viacom productions include Nickelodeon hits like Every Witch Way and Talia in the Kitchen, two kids telenovelas reworked for American audiences. In case you're wondering what exactly those shows are, well, here's a recap of three seasons of Every Witch Way in under three minutes, in which you can clearly see multiple exterior shots filmed around the city.
Yes, it's exactly what you'd expect a Nickelodeon-produced telenovela to be. The show has completed its four season run but will be replaced with a spin-off.
Viacom cites Miami's local acting talent, especially those experienced in novela production, in deciding it needed its own production hub in the city instead of leasing out existing space.
"Talent is easily accessible in Miami," Pierluigi Gazzolo, president of VIMN Americas and executive vice president of Nickelodeon International, tells the Hollywood Reporter. "And it is a very accessible city from around the world and allows us to showcase diversity."
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Gazzolo added that Miami compliments production facilities in Los Angeles and New York rather than directly competing with them.
Viacom space in the building will include two 15,000-square-foot sound stages and 88,000-square-foot of production space. In addition to moving its current Miami-set shows to the studio, Viacom will also create film, television, and web-based productions for all of its channels at the studio. Viacom will take over the lease in November, and production is expected to be up and running by January. The lot is located at 50 NW 15th St., just across the street from the Ice Palace Studios.
"Building on the strength of the Miami brand and leveraging our popular location as a top destination for business and pleasure, the film studio will attract new opportunities and employ hundreds locally. The establishment of the Viacom International Studios in Partnership with EUE/Screen Gems Studios will develop Miami's creative industry, one of the fastest growing and most exciting sectors of south Florida's economy," added city commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who is also the chairman of the Omni CRA.
The city of Miami invested about $11.5 million in the studio through the CRA.