Zombie TV show 'Z Nation' to be shot in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Zombies will soon be overrunning Spokane.

Producers of the new Syfy Network series "Z Nation" plan to shoot all 13 episodes of the zombie television show in Spokane.

Rich Cowan, co-founder of Spokane-based production company North by Northwest, told The Spokesman-Review that the five-month shoot will begin next month.

The show is expected to provide work for nearly 200 actors, 1,300 extras and more than 100 crew members.

"We've done about 50 feature films, but a television series, 13-episode television series, is 12,000 worker days of employment here," Cowan said Wednesday. "These are union jobs that pay pension and health care."

A typical North by Northwest feature film shoots in about a month.

"We're really excited about having this in Spokane," Cowan said. "Spokane is a wonderful place to shoot and is a perfect fit for a television series."

North by Northwest will share producing duties with two California companies: the Asylum, the company behind last year's SyFy movie "Sharknado," and Go2 Digital Media, which works on Lisa Kudrow's Showtime series "Web Therapy."

The executive producer and showrunner is Karl Schaefer, whose producing credits include "Eureka" and "Stephen King's The Dead Zone."

The series is set three years after a zombie apocalypse decimates the United States. The only known survivor of the zombie plague must travel from New York to California, where scientists hope to retrieve antibodies from his blood to create a vaccine.

Spokane will stand in for a large swath of the nation.

"That's what's really great about Spokane. We have all kinds of different locations," Cowan said. "We have a desert. We have wheat fields. We have mountains, lakes. Then we have lots of different kinds of neighborhoods in the city."

The show will include nine lead characters. Primary casting hasn't been announced.

Greg Smith, a member of the Washington Filmworks Board and president of the Pacific Northwest Studio Mechanics Local 488, which represents most of the crew base that will work on the show, said having an episodic show film locally will mean a great deal to local production workers.

"It allows established crew members to build a career, with livable wages and health care coverage for their families, which is fantastic and so hard to come by in a piecemeal, job-to-job industry such as ours," Smith said. "And new crew members will come into the market as well, which supports future productions and builds a deeper market going forward."