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HBO to film Julia Louis-Dreyfus pilot in Baltimore

A new HBO pilot starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus will be produced in Baltimore, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Tuesday.

Filming will start in late February on a comedy titled "VEEP" about a former senator (Louis-Dreyfus) "who finds being vice president of the United States is nothing like she expected and everything everyone ever warned her about," according to a release from Maryland's Department of Business & Economic Development.

Baltimore will be standing in for Washington in the production.

Louis-Dreyfus, whose credits include Seinfeld and New Adventures of Old Christine, is also producing. The pilot will be directed by Armando Iannucci. He and Simon Blackwell wrote the script, and he, Chris Godsick and Frank Rich are executive producers. Iannucci previously wrote and directed In the Loop, a 2009 political satire, and The Thick of It, a British TV series.

The Maryland Film Office estimates that production of the pilot could have an economic impact in excess of $6 million and could create more than 700 jobs for Maryland crew and actors while "prepping and filming" in the state.

“Maryland has had a long and successful relationship with HBO,” Gov. O'Malley said in a statement making the announcement. “We are pleased to welcome HBO back to our state for another first-class filming experience.”

Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office, said Tuesday that it is "premature" to talk about whether or not "VEEP" will be filmed in Baltimore if HBO takes the pilot to series.

"Right now, we're concentrating on making sure the production team and HBO have another great experience while shooting the pilot here," Gerbes said as he was running out to meet with members of the production team who were in town to look at locations for filming.

Previous HBO productions that were filmed in Maryland include Shot in the Heart, Something the Lord Made, The Corner and The Wire.

Maryland’s Film Production Rebate Fund helped to secure the HBO production, according the release from the state. The fund offers a partial rebate for local production expenditures and encourages producers to use local film crews.

Film and TV production in Maryland became as issue during the recent governor's election when GOP challenger Bob Ehrlich charged that Maryland was losing jobs in the entertainment industry because O'Malley's administration was not offering enough in the way of incentives to attract producers to the state. O'Malley said during the campaign that the state was committing as much money as it could in harsh economic times to such incentives.

Read some of my reporting on the issue here

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