Burn Notice: We’ll write the scripts, thanks

In exchange for one final season, the producers of the spy series Burn Notice will pay a higher rent to cover the cost of demolishing the Coconut Grove Convention Center. But they won’t let the Miami City Commission wri

08/10/2012 5:00 AM

08/10/2012 9:25 PM

Memo to Miami city commissioners from the producers of Burn Notice:

You pass the budget, set the tax rate and pick up the trash, and we’ll write the scripts for our show. Thank you.

The popular cable show about an ostracized spy, his mom and his trigger-happy girlfriend has reached a deal to film one more year in Coconut Grove, but it wasn’t exactly as one commissioner envisioned.

For years, Miami City Commission Vice Chairman Marc Sarnoff has wanted to raze the old Coconut Grove Convention Center and build a waterfront park.

The problem is, that’s where the show films.

So when the producers came to City Hall asking to film a seventh season on the city-owned property, Sarnoff pitched a explosive compromise: Instead of paying rent, Burn Notice would blow up the convention center when filming wrapped. Sarnoff wanted the demolition to be written into the final episode.

In the end, Fox Television Studios cut a slighly different deal: The show will increase its rent from $240,000 to $450,000 a year, just enough to cover the city’s demolition costs, plus taxes, a studio spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

But as for Sarnoff playing Spielberg?

“I guess they want the poetic license to decide what to do with the script,” Sarnoff conceded.

Of course, all of this is assuming Burn Notice gets picked up for a seventh season and the deal gets the blessing of the Miami City Commission.

There are also some additional small points that need to be ironed out, Fox Television Studios spokeswoman Leslie Oren said.

Should all of the pieces fall into place, Burn Notice has agreed not to ask the commission for an eighth season in Coconut Grove.

Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, who had offered to help Burn Notice relocate to a facility in Wynwood, said she was pleased to learn the city and the show had reached a deal.

“The film industry is important to South Florida,” she said. “And this means jobs, which are incredibly important during tough times.”

Sarnoff is looking forward to getting started on the park. He noted that the city has already stashed $1.8 million in grant dollars and Burn Notice rent payments for the project.

With the rent increase, “we have another $450,000 now,” Sarnoff said, adding the extra money might mean an amphitheater for acoustic performances or an outdoor CrossFit facility.

He is still holding out hope for some sort of season-ending explosion.

Oren said the studio views the deal as a rent increase — no actual demolition included. That’ll be up to the city to arrange.

“We make television shows,” she said. “We’re not in the business of blowing up buildings.”

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