An original comedy named for and filmed in Santa Clarita premieres worldwide on Netflix on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. “Santa Clarita Diet” stars Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore as Joel and Sheila Hammond, husband and wife realtors leading vaguely discontented lives in the northern LA County city with their teenaged daughter Abby, played by Australian native Liv Hewson. Sheila goes through a dramatic change sending their lives down a road of death and destruction, but “in a good way.”
The show represents a new stage of growth for the streaming service, as “one of the first shows to get produced in house by Netflix itself,” said location manager Brooks Bonstin. “We’re doing it entirely in-house; it’s an interesting experiment.” It is very much a locally-based production, with all but one scene (shot nearby in Stevenson Ranch), filmed in Santa Clarita. Filming last summer at a local studio and on location around town was kept under wraps.
“It’s a pretty standard size TV crew. We have 50 to 60 working on the set; then the office staff and folks at base camp,” Bonstin said. “We’re employing well over 100 people.” Those are decent, good paying jobs, Bonstin noted. Eighty percent of the crew positions are union. And the show is employing “lots and lots” of Santa Clarita Valley residents. Filming locally spares them a commute, so they try hard to get work on this and other shows that film in Santa Clarita, he said.
Having done location work for several years, Bonstin, a Burbank resident, said it’s a pleasure to work on a show in Santa Clarita. Residents aren’t jaded by the blitz of location filming that Los Angeles area residents have endured for decades, and the city’s film office is truly helpful, he said. There’s a return on the investment to Santa Clarita being film-friendly. The city estimates some 6,000 people in the film industry live in Santa Clarita and those salaries go right back into the community.
Showrunner Victor Fresco, Barrymore, Olyphant, Aaron Kaplan, Tracy Katsky, Chris Miller and Ember Truesdell are executive producers on the series. Nancy Juvonen is a producer.