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'The First 48' Decides to Film Entire Season in Birmingham
BPD Learning From Film Crew's Expertise
Birmingham (DB)- Granada Entertainment issued a press release on Tuesday stating that their popular reality show 'The First 48' would move shooting and production of its ninth season to Birmingham, AL. Currently airing on A&E, 'The First 48' follows a team of police detectives through the first 48 hours of a homicide investigation, offering an unprecedented look into the collection of forensic evidence, autopsy reports, and suspect interrogations. The show has been filming on location across the U.S. since 2004, with Birmingham being added in August of 2008.

Producers said they were overwhelmed by the warm greeting they received by the Birmingham Police Department and were able to cut costs significantly as two unrelated homicides occurred on the weekend after their arrival. "Our HD camera equipment hadn't even arrived when the calls started coming in," said pre-production manager Harold Adams, "It's definitely the quickest turn around time we have had outside of Vegas."

The production team was disappointed at first with long delays in getting the Death Investigator for the Montgomery Medical Territory to the crime scene and the lack of suspects for both initial cases. "We like to give our viewers a story over the course of an hour. When we have to wait for the coroner to arrive from several counties over, we lose the sense of urgency and narrative flow," claimed a team member who wished to remain anonymous. However, low production costs, mild weather, and the number of homicide cases within the metropolitan area have convinced Granada to focus entirely on Birmingham for at least one season.

City and county officials were quick to seize on the announcement as a sign of regional economic progress. Mayor Larry Langford told reporters, "We hope that Birmingham can become the Montreal of true-crime reality television." An unnamed source within the mayor's office claimed that the city was in talks with Dateline producer Lynn Keller to film one or more episodes of 'To Catch a Predator' with the cooperation of Birmingham Police, "While summer is usually the most violent season, we hope that with the current economic downturn, we can continue to provide content year round for both cable and network programmers."