Media Center

Lincoln’s Rogers House Bed and Breakfast the Inspiration for an American Downton Abbey of the Heartland TV Series with a twist

Efforts to bring to the television screen the series "The Rogers House"formally
commenced the evening of December 5, 2013, from 5:30-7:30pm, at the Rogers House,
Lincoln, Ne, when a reception of invited community & state notables were informed of
the development of this proposed television series taking place at the Rogers House itself.
Those invited guests were presented with information of developments up to that point
and what the expected next steps were to be. Since this Kickoff affair Alan Sands has
been busy pounding the pavement looking for investors in Lincoln as well as Omaha to
provide the initial funding for the filming of a five-minute teaser, a type of commercial
that is meant to engage the interest of studio heads and programmers of the National
cable networks.

The idea was to take Nebraskan’s along on this creative journey from the Rogers House
itself to the neighborhood where the original Russ’s Market started 50 years ago. This
store which will actually be in the series has been promoting the Rogers House film
project for the last couple of months. Now it’s time to bring the project to the entire
community. This is exactly what “The Rogers TV Series” is all about: Family,
neighborhood and community. These ideals are also what makes our city of Lincoln so
unique and why Alan has decided to produce this series here. It’s Alan’s philosophy that
art follows real life which will be reflected in the characters, human stories, and subject
matter of The Rogers House TV Series.

On Sunday, March 16 the entire community is invited to the Haymarket IceRink between
1:00-4:00 to help show their support in Alan’s efforts to produce “The Rogers House TV
Series”. This event is free to the general public who will be treated to an afternoon of
iceskating, music video’s from local bands on the cube, Alan Sands/executive producer/
creator giving a detailed explanation of the Series, and various local & Hollywood guests
speaking about the TV Series. The theme of this event is to show our pride for Lincoln’s
people, neighborhoods, and the community in which we live. There will be individual
Sponsors echoing these ideals including Russ’s Market who is a major Sponsor of this

At the center of all this is the very venue in which the reception is taking place, the
Rogers House in Nebraska’s state capital, Lincoln, Nebraska. Opened in 1984, after
nearly thirty years in business under the same ownership, the Roger’s House has long
been an institution in the lodging life of Nebraska’s capital and has had thirty years to
garner a large number of stories that can be fed into the series which will be loosely based
on it.

But the Rogers House, built in 1914, is more than just a bed and breakfast. It’s part of one
of the most distinctive neighborhoods in Lincoln, and being in Lincoln, Nebraska’s
capital city, it has links to all parts of the state from the capitol spire to Chimney Rock.
Lincoln, the city in which Nebraska’s most prominent university and the seat of
Nebraska’s government are found, is the one large city in Nebraska where one can expect
to see license plates from all ninety-three counties in the state without having to search
hard. The Rogers House, being in the near south neighborhood close to the capitol and
the university, exists amidst all that diversity, a diversity which is reflected in the
episodes envisioned for the series, which sees the Rogers House as the center stone for a
depiction of life expanding out of that near south neighborhood all across the city and the
rest of the state. Emphasizing both the rural and the urban cultures, highlighting
Nebraska’s Good Life.

The series, utilizing the dramatics of Downton Abbey combined with the comedy of
Fawlty Towers, with an infusion of the endearing warmth found in the characters of the
old ‘70s series, "The Waltons", aims to show life in the Cornhusker State in a light rarely
shown before, a positive light, but not without its ups & downs. It does so by focusing on
a number of continuing characters, some of them employees of the Rogers House
(including several student innkeepers from UNL), some of them oft-returning guests to
the B & B, others residents of the neighborhood, and still others linked in various ways to
the Rogers House. Many of these characters are based on actual people, which is one of
the reasons that Alan Sands, the executive producer of the project, conceived it in the first
place. He came to Lincoln, his hometown, on his way to London to develop a film project
"Stanley's Gift", expecting to stay at the Rogers House for a couple of weeks while
awaiting developments on his film project, set in London, England. While at the inn, he
became fascinated with several of those connected with it. Filled with this motivation
Sand’s creative mind exploded with ideas. This is when the original concept of a
television series, loosely based on Downton Abbey, with a mixture of the BBC series
Fawlty Towers thrown in began, with the often outright zaniness that life at the Rogers
House involved. Things developed from there, and his two weeks in Lincoln has now
extended into almost a year as he has put together a team that now seems well prepared to
actually make the project come to fruition and grace the TV screens of America.
Alan Sands is at the head of the series production team, but working with co-creators
Paul Pender (an Oscar-winning screenwriter) and Rogers House worker M. W. Nisbett
(PhD), the project has fleshed out, acquiring a fully fledged pilot script and concrete steps
towards the creation of the ‘teaser’ required to open the doors in Hollywood to the
making of the series. Along the way Sands has enlisted the help of Michael George and
David Forbes, partners in Balance Pictures (David was formerly senior vice-president for
marketing and distribution at MGM, Orion and Columbia), along with Sandy Veneziano
of the UNL Johnny Carson School of Film faculty and also a member of the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Thus a fully professional team is gradually forming to
make into a reality this series which seeks to show Nebraska in a way never shown
before, a way that brings out the core values and integrity that this state displays when it’s
truly being Nebraska.

Alan Sands, Paul Pender and other Hollywood members of the creative team will be
speaking at the Fundraising event on March 16 in the Haymarket either in person or by
way of the cube at the IceRink. It is because of this potential value to the community &
state that a website "indiegogo" campaign has been organized to enlist the aid of people
across the state who, with their donations, can help finance the initial developmental
stages of the series. Offering a number of levels of perks, this indiegogo campaign seeks
to involve individuals from all over the state in the making of the short teaser film. The
goal of Alan Sands is to allow all Nebraskan's to personally participate in this journey to
make "The Rogers House" TV series. This involvement will not only be financial, but
also in terms of personnel, as the teaser cast & crew will be drawn from Omaha and
Lincoln (including UNL) and utilize Nebraska resources in virtually all aspects of its

The ultimate goal, almost a mission, of the Rogers House is to show off a state that still
upholds those core values that helped build this country and make it so truly exceptional,
and to do it in such a way as to show a way of life that has all but vanished in many parts
of this country, to show a Nebraska that is evident not just on Football Saturdays on
national TV, but evident every day in the ordinary events that make up life in this state.
Nebraska is a state that lives close to the earth (though it built towards the sky in its
Capitol), to show the rest of America that, indeed, there is no place like Nebraska.
To be personally involved in this exciting Nebraska project, go to the indiegogo
website after March 8, 2013,, and search for the title “Rogers
House Project."