Blue in the Face
How best to turn a red state blue? In the internet era, a Charleston woman named Alice Gray Gregory sees the solution in the boob tube, of all places. Gregory is the executive producer of The Connection, a nonprofit independent television program that will be filmed on location throughout the state. With her show, Gregory hopes to change the way South Carolinians think about social issues such as race, gay rights, the environment, education reform, and health care by focusing on local progressive action. It’s her aim that the program raise support for progressive causes in South Carolina, promote discussion about important social issues, and entertain viewers by showcasing local talent.

Beginning in early September, the hour-long show will air weekly on local access cable channels throughout the state and might receive national coverage on Free Speech TV. In addition, Gregory is planning an interactive website that will include streaming audio and video. The website will also allow viewers to directly support organizations or entertainers featured on the show. Gregory’s currently working on fundraising for the program, with about 30 percent of expected revenues in the bank so far.

South Carolina’s hardly the bluest state in the union, but Gregory believes that The Connection will help South Carolinians connect with each other to create positive change. Or at least a few more local Democrats to commiserate with. —Steven Zimmerman

More Moviemaking Bait
With film production in ravaged New Orleans leading a post-Katrina pickup in the Bayou State, South Carolina is stepping up to once again sweeten the incentives that make filming here more appealing. Last month, the S.C. General Assembly increased existing tax rebates for any film project that spends $1 million or more in the state, providing the third lift in two years. The rebates are some of the best in the country, offering quick cash to the producers of big-budget television pilots, commercials, and feature films.

By filming here, production companies are eligible for an employee wage rebate for all cast and crew members and a supplier rebate on all goods and services purchased in S.C. for the film. A bump last year raised both of these rebates to 15 percent, but thanks to strong local support, the wage rebate has increased to 20 percent and the supplier rebate went to 30 percent.Without a new bill introduced early next year, though, both rebates will revert to 15 percent on June 30, 2007. ­­—SZ