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20th Television to Film "The Spook Who Sat By The Door" Pilot for FX in Maryland

Pilot episode will be executive produced by Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels

BALTIMORE, MD (May 17, 2021) – Governor Larry Hogan today announced that 20th Television will film the pilot episode for its potential new FX series The Spook Who Sat By The Door in Maryland. Based on Sam Greenlee’s fictional spy novel of the same name, the story follows character Dan Freeman, who in the late 1960’s is hired as the first Black operative in the CIA. Filming will begin later this month in Baltimore City and continue over the following three weeks.

“We are excited to welcome another television pilot production to Maryland,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Films and television series have the potential to provide hundreds of new jobs for Maryland residents and thousands of dollars in additional revenue for local businesses in the area. We look forward to working with 20th Television on this upcoming project.”

If The Spook Who Sat By The Door is picked up for a series, the Maryland Film Office – an agency of the Maryland Department of Commerce – believes it could have a similar impact on Maryland’s economy as the Netflix series House of Cards. During its six-season production in Maryland, House of Cards had an economic impact of $118 million, hired more than 2,000 Maryland residents, and utilized more than 2,000 Maryland businesses with purchases or rented goods/services per season.

“We are hopeful that this pilot episode is selected to become a full series, allowing production to continue in Maryland and benefit our highly skilled film crews and local businesses,“ said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “With a variety of locations and resources available throughout the state, Maryland is capable of providing the perfect backdrop for everything from political D.C. thrillers to romantic comedies along the Eastern Shore.”

Since inception of the Film Production Activity Tax Credit program in 2011, Maryland has incentivized 13 major productions that employed thousands of residents, utilized thousands of local small businesses, and generated an economic impact of nearly $900 million in the state.

The Spook Who Sat By The Door, starring Y’Lan Noel (Insecure; The Photograph) as Freeman, chronicles the character’s quest in being recruited as part of an affirmative-action program and being trained in high-level combat and espionage. Christina Jackson (Outsiders; Boardwalk Empire) will star as Freeman’s wife. It will be executive produced by Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels (The United States vs. Billie Holiday; Empire; Precious; The Butler), along with Marc Velez (Waiting to Exhale; Good People), Leigh Dana Jackson (Raising Dion; Foundation), and Gerard McMurray (The First Purge; Burning Sands). Jackson – who will serve as showrunner – wrote the pilot, which will be directed by McMurray. The pilot was optioned through Lee Daniels’ Inclusion Fund, and will be produced by 20th Television (formerly 20th Century Fox Television), one of the Disney Television Studios.

“During filming, different parts of Baltimore will be turned into a 1960’s version of Washington, D.C. There is a lot of time and effort that will go into transforming neighborhoods for this production,” said Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office. “This project could not happen without our partnership with the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore Film Office.”