Will you accept this show?

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MANCHESTER — A "major network TV shoot" will be coming to Manchester in early December, according to ITVFest Director Philip Gilpin Jr., who made the announcement at a meeting of the Manchester Selectboard Tuesday night.

Gilpin, who is also a member of the nascent Vermont Production Council, announced that the VPC has convinced the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) to shoot an opening segment of "one of their hit reality TV shows" on Manchester's Main Street.

"They're doing a big Olympic-style parade opening, and they needed a location for it," Gilpin said. "I went out and said to them `you've got to give me a chance to pitch you Manchester, and you've got to see Main Street before you make a decision.' Sure enough, that's where they're going to shoot it."

Sources have told The Journal that show is "The Bachelor," and it will be filming in Manchester this December. In August, the show announced that it would be filming its spin-off "Bachelor: Winter Games" in Vermont — though they did not specify where in Vermont production would take place.

Though Gilpin and others on the Vermont Production Council signed agreements not to disclose the show's title, he did say that it's an ABC reality show that premiered to an audience of about 5 million to 6 million last year.

"This is going to air worldwide in February up against the Olympics, so that's going to be quite the production," Gilpin said. "Last season's opening viewership was north of 5 or 6 million people, and because this is a special version I think that the viewership may be even greater."

The show will be shooting their "Olympic style parade" on Manchester's Main Street during the first week in December, and Gilpin says that there are a plethora of ways for local residents to get involved.

"We'll actually be inviting people to come out and put their name on a list to be extras in the shoot, because they want to fill the sidewalks with locals," Gilpin said. "They're also looking to hire any local crew that might be available, so they should be reaching out to us at the Vermont Production Council to let us know."

Bringing film and television productions to the state is a major goal of the Vermont Production Council, which announced its formation in September. In doing so, the VPC aims to bring new year-round residents to the state and bolster Vermont's economy.

"The goal in the Vermont Production Council is to attract five to 10 productions here per year," Gilpin said, noting that the VPC is funded and managed by ITVFest. "We think at that number it will give enough of a sustainable income for people to actually move up from the city."

In addition to the production coming to Manchester in December, Gilpin announced two more unnamed projects that are considering shooting in the Northshire.

"The other film shooting here will begin next Fall, and we're also in talks right now with a major TV series," Gilpin said. "There's a very famous Vermont novelist who is turning his novels into a series, and they want to shoot it in Vermont, but all of his big production sources are telling him to shoot it in Georgia or other places with incentives. We're really pushing back and trying to get him to shoot it in Manchester."

In his presentation to the Manchester Selectboard on Tuesday, Gilpin encouraged the Town of Manchester to take a more active role in supporting ITVFest going forward, though he did not specify what that support would look like.

Gilpin estimates that the festival brought approximately 1,500 visitors to Manchester between Oct. 11 and 15, with a total of 1,226 tickets sold. Most of those visitors, Gilpin pointed out, were between 19 and 40 and showed interest in returning to Manchester in the future.

Highlighting the economic impact of the festival, which is slated to return to Manchester next October, Gilpin told the Selectboard that $15.67 was made for every dollar spent locally.

"The more money the local community puts into us, we turn it back," Gilpin said. "This time almost sixteen-fold."

Reach Cherise Madigan at cmadigan@manchesterjournal.com, or by phone at 802-490-6471.

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