'Dawson's Creek' to Bring Fictional University to Duke


Portions of the upcoming season of the popular TV series "Dawson's Creek" will be filmed at locations around the Duke campus, beginning later this month.

The series, now in its fifth year on the WB Network (locally on WB22), will follow its main characters as they depart their hometown of Capeside and begin their college years. Duke's campus will be the setting for "Worthington," a fictional New England university where Joey Potter, played by actress Katie Holmes, will be a freshman.

The preliminary production schedule for the show's upcoming season calls for filming one or two days a month at Duke, beginning July 23 and running through early next spring. Filming will take place at locations on East and West Campus and in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Most of the series will continue to be filmed in Wilmington, where production has been based since 1997.

John F. Burness, Duke's senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, said the university and community benefit in several ways from commercial film projects on campus. The primary benefit, Burness said, is the opportunity for students, particularly those in the Program in Film and Video, to gain valuable educational experience working on actual movie and television productions.

"One of the most encouraging aspects of our discussions with the 'Dawson's Creek' producers was the degree to which they want to work with us to involve our students, both in academic projects and extracurricular activities," Burness noted. "The producers have also been very responsive to our request that they involve students from Durham School of the Arts and other Durham Public Schools students in outreach programs during the coming year."

The university also receives a daily location fee for the use of its facilities, which is distributed to those programs and departments assisting with the campus filming sessions.

David Hartley, producer of "Dawson's Creek," said he and his colleagues "fell in love" with Duke's campus when they scouted potential locations earlier this year.

"The setting has always played a big part in 'Dawson's Creek,'" Hartley said during a recent visit to Durham. "We think of it almost like a character on the show. The beauty of the architecture and surroundings at Duke will let us create exactly the campus environment we had envisioned for the upcoming season."