St. Pete/Clearwater Takes Center Stage in New TV Series

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has taken a novel approach to marketing the destination, with a scripted series – “Life’s Rewards” – which is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video May 10.

The series, a collaboration between Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, the St. Pete/Clearwater Film Commission and Visit Florida, was produced in conjunction with Odyssey, the Studio at Miles Partnership.

It focuses on the privileged Dan Kinney who, through a series of unfortunate events, finds himself stranded at the iconic Don CeSar hotel on St. Pete Beach.

“This is a totally first-of-its-kind television show that’s entirely produced by and filmed in the destination where the story takes place, said Steve Hayes, president and CEO of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. “It’s a new frontier for destination tourism marketing in hopes to capture target audiences via streaming platforms, which we’re confident will happen, given the show is so binge-worthy.”

Previously, St. Pete/Clearwater’s film commissioner, Tony Armer, and the destination’s vice president of digital and communications, Leroy Bridges, had discussed creating a similar project.

“So when Miles Partnership Studio and Visit Florida approached us in July of 2020 we jumped at the opportunity,” Hayes said. “We collaboratively worked on the scripts and locations with Miles Partnership to create the most entertaining show possible while showcasing the destination.”

The series puts the spotlight on a number of local restaurants, businesses and attractions.

“We’re fortunate to have such a willing participant like The Don CeSar that also happened to be our most iconic hotel and internationally known,” Hayes said. “Its beautiful pink facade makes it the perfect backdrop for filming and photography and will only inspire more and more people to want to visit and experience our destination.”

Other filming locations include the new St. Pete Pier and Tarpon Springs’ Sponge Docks and such small businesses as the Hideaway Cafe, Bodega and BLUR.

While Hayes said the St. Pete/Clearwater tourism community lost 35,000 jobs and $2 billion in direct visitor spending due to the pandemic , he noted that it fared better than other destinations, thanks in large part to its myriad outdoor venue options and beautiful beaches.

“In the 30 days since March 12, St. Pete/Clearwater’s occupancy has eclipsed 90 percent 20 times and hasn’t fallen below 80 percent, according to STR,” Hayes said.

“During that time, the destination’s occupancy has averaged 91.3 percent. March of 2019, the destination’s busiest month of all time, saw an average occupancy of 88.6 percent.”

“Life’s Rewards” was written by Tom Crehan and directed by Damian Fitzsimmons. It is scheduled to premiere for a limited audience at the Sunscreen Film Festival on May 1 before its May 10 debut on Amazon Prime Video.

In addition to Amazon Prime Video, the series will also be available on YouTube, GoUSA TV and Places.Travel.

St. Pete/Clearwater Takes Center Stage in New TV Series

Hongxia Sun