Blockbuster TV hit: ‘Santa Fe!’
The hit ABC nighttime soap opera “Nashville” portrays, among others:
The city mayor who may go to jail for shady financial deals.
His wife, Connie Britton, who stars as Rayna Jaymes, queen of country music. She can’t decide whether she loves her husband or the guy who fathered her teen daughter. She has a fling with her music producer to help her decide.
Overnight singing sensation Juliette Barnes, played by Hayden Panettiere. Think Carrie Underwood without the class. Juliette beds the guy who drives her to the studio, her druggie mother’s counselor, an NFL quarterback based on Good Guy Tim Tebow, her guitarist, Deacon — who, coincidentally, fathered Connie Britton’s teenage daughter, and the roadie in charge of handing her bottled water. And that is just the first episode.
So, OK, I exaggerate. But just a little. The point is, this series is of interest only to we low brows who savor “Gossip Girl” and “Taxicab Confessions.” Your humble correspondent would like you to believe there is another rationale for his monitoring “Nashville.” It is politically relevant.
This series is a cautionary tale for New Mexico, which lusts for the Hollywood crowd and jiggles her tax system to woo hungry film producers. While the Albuquerque-filmed “Breaking Bad” seems to be a winner, overall New Mexico investment in film hasn’t been a box office hit.
“Nashville” is indeed a catch for her namesake city. The production provided a $40 million jolt to the city economy in the first year alone. The more important spinoff may be tourism.
Nashville has her ugly side, but you won’t see it on this show. The Nashville portrayed in the TV series is one glamorous scene after another, city towers, splendid river shots, fashionable eateries, lush neighborhoods, happening country music nightspots. They all suggest this would be a fun place to visit.
Here’s the catch. “Nashville,” already the beneficiary of an attractive tax incentive, has served notice that it will not film in Nashville next year unless the state coughs up even more tax breaks. City and state officials have responded by saying they “are open to a deal that would keep the production in Nashville this year.”
This is a classic example of what economists call the race to the bottom, states outbidding one another with tax benefits to film producers who hip hop around the country to the latest best deal. It is tricky and fickle business for both filmmakers and state legislatures.
Perhaps New Mexico could get an inside track if we were to write our own TV show. I am thinking of “Santa Fe!” — a totally fictitious story about New Mexico politics, adventure, romance.
In the opening scene, a helicopter provides an aerial view of the Governor’s Mansion, home of Gov. Suzette Morales and her husband, Jacko. The camera takes us inside the mansion to the kitchen where Jacko is preparing breakfast.
“Oh, Jacko,” Suzette beckons in a singsong voice off camera, “big day ahead fighting ugly speculation on the Downs deal, but I have a free hour right now, big guy.”
“Hey, pretty lady,” Jacko calls out, “you better get in here quick. My huevos are getting hot!”
I hoped to write myself into the script as a nasty political blogger, but Joe Monahan already landed that part. Help me out here. What are your plot suggestions for this New Mexico TV soap opera, scenes that might play out anywhere in the state? Name and town, please.
Ned Cantwell awaits your input at email@example.com.