ATLANTA — State Sen. Hardie Davis was one of four Democratic legislators at a Capitol news conference Tuesday to welcome producers of the Lifetime Entertainment/A&E show Catering Wars and to congratulate the General Assembly for enacting tax breaks to bring them and other producers to Georgia.
He said the Senate Economic Development Committee he serves on invited him and his colleagues to the event.
Even the politicians were a little surprised at how much impact they had in creating the state’s multi-billion-dollar industry with 25,000 jobs.
“We didn’t have an expectation that it would be at this stage,” said Davis, D-Augusta. “When you look at the different TV shows that have made Georgia, and quite frankly Atlanta, their home, we got a tremendous return on our investment.”
He said he’d like to see more productions made in Augusta. Better marketing of the types of filming locations would help, he said.
Davis doesn’t favor creating a special office just to work with film and television producers the way Savannah and Atlanta have. Instead, he wants the city to establish what he calls a cultural affairs office.
“That office would, in fact, involve not only arts and entertainment from a local perspective, but, more important, look for ways to capitalize on investments in the state of Georgia that we can leverage in Augusta,” he said.
Producer Rhona Siver didn’t mention the tax breaks or marketing push as reasons for filming in Georgia. Instead, she said she liked the variety the state offers.
“We chose to come to the state of Atlanta, uh Georgia … because it’s an incredible place in that it’s so full of city life and country life,” she said.
The show which premiered Tuesday night creates a competition between four catering companies from the Atlanta area: Atlanta’s Finest – Lorie Bomar; Pat’s Party Perfect – Pat Jackson; Hottie’s Hawgs BBQ – Kyle Vaughn; and Ocean Catering Co. – Shane McIntosh.
Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta, joked that holding the news conference at the Capitol was fitting.
“Everything here centers around food,” she said. “Everyone who meets with you wants to bring you some food.”