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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 | Dear Mr. Segall:
You don’t know me, but I am a native San Diegan who watches many of your shows when I am channel surfing. I often feel a sense of pride when I see a scene on, say, “Veronica Mars,” that takes place in Ocean Beach or an episode of “Renegade” filmed near my family’s cemetery plot in Julian.
These must be exciting times for you. Not only is your critically acclaimed series “Veronica Mars” entering its third season, but Stu Segall Productions is the main supplier of shows for MyNetworkTV, the new network starting up on Sept. 5 on stations that were formerly served by UPN.
As I understand it, your production company is making two nighttime soap operas, “Desire” and “Fashion House” that will adapt the Telenovela format so popular everywhere else in the world and air five nights a week for 13 weeks (with Saturday being a recap show) before ending with a big climax.
I’ve seen clips for both shows and they seem like they’re up my alley: Mindless entertainment with good looking people in desperate situations with some kiss-kiss bang-bang thrown in for good measure.
Since you are the only film production company in San Diego, you are helping a lot of talented people live their dream and for that you are to be commended. The fact that your Web site makes a big deal about San Diego – even featuring the city’s skyline – is also nice and appreciated by me, a native San Diegan who would like nothing more than to beat Los Angeles at its own game.
But while I support your efforts and want you to have success, I must admit I am frustrated by your studio’s product.
I have nothing against “Silk Stalkings,” “Renegade,” “High Tide” or even “Pensacola: Wings Of Gold” in theory but I can’t understand why you’ve set up a company here in San Diego; why you constantly film location shots here; why you make a big deal about being located in San Diego on your website but you never ever use your adopted city as a setting for a hit television.
This bothers me. “Veronica Mars” takes place in Neptune City. “Silk Stalkings” was set in Palm Beach, Florida. “Fashion House” and “Desire” are both set in Los Angeles. Yeesh. If San Diego can be used in place of those cities, why can’t it be the setting for a series?
Think about it. “Miami Vice” made people want to visit that humid den of inequity and certainly “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: New York” work as advertisements for those cities. Why can’t you pay back the city that has helped you make a fortune (and probably given you tax breaks) by putting San Diego in the title of one of your hit shows.
Back in the 1970s, shows like “Harry O” and “Simon and Simon” were set here. I remember some of the provincial powers-that-be complaining that being the setting of a crime drama might make the city look crime-ridden to clueless couch potatoes.
Funny, I don’t remember anyone not going to Hawaii because of what they saw on “Hawaii 5-0” or “Magnum P.I.,” but that’s the small-minded boosterism mentality that we’re slowly outgrowing here – and you can help by making a series that is set here.
Things have changed. Now San Diego is a big city and corrupt local politicians and businessmen have proven they can hang with any greedy money baron from New York or Chicago.
So my question is this: San Diego is a very dramatic place so why can’t you set a series that’s filmed in San Diego in San Diego? So far, the closest you’ve come was your 1999 movie “Bring It On,” which was set in the fictional suburb of Rancho Carne.
You’re a big deal at your studio. I’m sure if you demand one of these upcoming soap operas include San Diego in the title, the networks will listen. Try it. It’s the least you can do for a city that you obviously love and loves you back.
Gentleman, scholar, couch potato.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer whose best friend was once an extra on Renegade. Send a letter to the editor here.