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Vampires to descend upon Square
New TV series will begin filming in Covington

COVINGTON - Be forewarned: Vampires will be descending on Covington in just weeks.

A new television series called "Vampire Diaries" will be filmed here beginning July 21.

The show, based on a young adult book series by L.J. Smith, will air this fall on The CW network.

Set in Mystic Falls, Va., "Vampire Diaries" chronicles the love triangle between popular high school student Elena Gilbert and two brothers - both vampires, one good, one evil.

The cast will include Ian Somerholder, best known as ill-fated Boone Carlyle on the TV series "Lost;" Paul Wesley, who has appeared in numerous TV shows, including "24" and "Everwood;" and Nina Dobrev.

Location Manager Jonathan Jansen told the City Council on Monday night that producers hope the show will have a long-term home base in Covington.

Show creators were drawn to Covington in part because of its Hollywood history.

"We've heard a lot about the great experiences you've had with 'In the Heat of the Night,'" he said, referring to the television series starring Carroll O'Connor, which was filmed in Covington and Conyers from 1988 to 1995.

The main filming location will be on the Square in downtown Covington, he said. Downtown locations under consideration are the law office of Jim Alexander, which may be used as the exterior of a restaurant; Scott and Sue Cole's house on Floyd Street, which may be used as the home of the main character; and the former Teacher's Toolbox on the corner of Washington and Church streets.

Twelve episodes of the series have been ordered, Jansen said, with filming to run at least through early December. If an additional nine episodes are ordered, filming could continue through next spring, and then, "We're hoping to get a second season," he said.

Filming will at times require the closing or partial closing of local streets, Jansen said.

Mayor Kim Carter said city ordinance requires prior approval from the council before streets are closed, and, given that the Square is a state route, the Department of Transportation will be involved, as well.

"I hate to sound blunt here but we're not as much worried about your convenience as the merchants and customers on the Square," City Manager Steve Horton added.

Carter and Horton suggested that merchants and nearby residents be notified prior to any filming.

Jansen said filmmakers will cooperate with local officials and be considerate of the community.

"It only behooves us to be communicative and neighborly and professional because it's a long-term relationship we're trying to build," Jansen said.

The City Council gave a vote of support for the initial filming schedule and street closures, though the details haven't yet been finalized.

The series premiere of "Vampire Diaries" is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Sept. 10 on The CW.

The series is presented by Alloy Entertainment and Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Warner Brothers Television and CBS television studios.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.