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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

Filming for the pilot of ABC’s latest series starring Reba McEntire kicked off right here in Downtown Madison last weekend. 

Hundreds of local extras crowded Main Street on Sunday to film parade scenes for the new show.

McEntire plays a sheriff in a small southern town whose world is turned upside down after a mysterious crime is committed on her watch. According to The Hollywood Reporter,  the show has been described by creators as a “Southern Gothic soap opera” that is “set in motion after a horrible, suspected act of terrorism happens at a Fourth of July parade in the small town of Oxblood, Kentucky. The FBI sends a cocky agent of Middle Eastern descent to investigate and he teams up with the mercurial local Sheriff to uncover secrets far darker than either could have ever imagined.” The plot will center around these two “unlikely partners” who form an “uneasy alliance” while encountering other unusual characters who harbor their own secrets throughout the series. The new ABC program was created by Marc Cherry, who was also the creator of ABC’s hit Desperate Housewives. When the program airs, many Madison faces will surely appear in the background of the show’s pivotal parade scenes. 

The serious tone of the new show is a departure for McEntire who previously starred in her own sitcom entitled Reba and another lighter comedy-show called Malibu Country. McEntire will serve as an executive producer on the new television venture. It’s a busy year for McEntire, who also recently released a new gospel album in early February entitled Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and Hope.

The ABC drama is just the latest in a string of filming project to come through Madison and Morgan County, with surely more to come. According to the Madison-Morgan Convention and Visitors Bureau (MMCVB), Madison and Morgan County are prime locations for film projects. 

“The MMCVB, which serves as the Camera Ready office for Madison and Morgan County, has seen an unusual number of applications for film projects since the beginning of the new-year,” said Ellen Sims, director of the MMCVB.  “There are a few reasons for the surge in filming, including our proximity to Atlanta, new film studios being built closer to Madison, and, most notably, the attractive tax credit offered by the state to any film project with a budget of $500,000 or more.” 

The MMCVB has been a proactive force in securing film project throughout the county.

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