The Chicago Fire confusion has begun.
Taylor Kinney — star of the upcoming NBC firefighter drama “Chicago Fire” — told reporters during a conference call last week that some Chicagoans get the wrong idea when he tells them what he does for a living.
“If you (say) ‘We're working on “Chicago Fire,”' they ask you if you're a soccer player,” said Kinney, according to RedEye.
The Major League Soccer team — which is named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 — is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The team has the third-best record in the league but continues to battle for fans and media attention in one of the most crowded sports cities in the country. Fire forward and leading scorer Chris Rolfe said he thinks having the same name as a primetime TV show will help his team more than hurt it.
“I think (it's confusing),” Rolfe said. “But I think it's a good thing for the organization. If people are confused, at least it means they're talking about the Fire.”
Executive producer Dick Wolf — who also produced “Miami Vice” and “Law & Order” — said the name can benefit both sides.
“I would hazard to guess it's to our mutual benefit,” Wolf said during the show's red carpet premiere Tuesday at the Chicago History Museum. “All the soccer fans will tune in, and people outside of Chicago might know the soccer team, which I don't think is really nationally top of the mind.”
In addition to Kinney, “Chicago Fire,” which premieres Wednesday, stars Jesse Spencer (“House”) and Eamonn Walker (“Oz”) and revolves around firefighters and paramedics working in the Chicago Fire Department. Walker took part in the ceremonial coin toss before Wednesday's Fire game at Toyota Park in Bridgeview and also hosted a screening of the show's premiere after the game on the jumbotron.
Players were expected to attend Tuesday's screening but had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts, according to the Fire.
“There are plenty of potential opportunities,” Fire team president Julian Posada said. “We're starting that dialogue. We're both working on the same thing — promoting in our own way. I wish we had the money to spend advertising what we're doing during their shows.”