Palmetto mayor isn’t thrilled that ‘Claws’ is coming to town

Meet some of the cast and crew of a new TNT show debuting in June and set in Palmetto

"Claws" is about five manicurists at a Palmetto nail salon. The show was being filmed Monday in Sarasota on Lido Beach.
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"Claws" is about five manicurists at a Palmetto nail salon. The show was being filmed Monday in Sarasota on Lido Beach.

You live in a small town, population about 13,000. There’s a new TV series set in your town, with some pretty impressive people involved. It’s going to premiere in a couple of weeks, and commercials for the show already mention your small town by name. Pretty exciting, right? The whole town is abuzz, right?

Apparently not, if you live in Palmetto. At least not yet.

The new show is called “Claws,” and it’s a comedy-drama that’s set in a fictional nail salon in Palmetto, Fla. Its first episode is set to air June 11 on TNT.

Some residents of Palmetto don’t seem to know or care too much about it.

“I actually have never heard about it,” said Jessica Robinson.

Robinson might be the kind of Palmetto resident who you’d expect to care about “Claws.” She owns the non-fictional Off 7th Hair Studio, a hair and nail salon right here in Palmetto. She thinks that maybe she heard a customer mention something about the show, but that’s about it.

TNT bills the hour-long show as “a midnight-dark, wickedly funny meditation on female badness set in a South Florida nail salon.” A television industry publication reported this week that “Claws” is getting the biggest promotional push of any show on TV. Among the stars are Niecy Nash (“Scream Queens”), Kevin Rankin (“Breaking Bad”), Carrie Preston (“True Blood”), Karrueche Tran (“The Bay”), Harold Perrineau (“Lost”) and Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”). Rashida Jones is one of the producers.

The story line, judging from the commercials and some published synopses, has to do with a group of woman with various backgrounds who open a nail salon. They start to launder money from a neighboring pain clinic that’s taking in way more money than it should. They soon end up getting in way over their heads.

Even Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant doesn’t know much about the show that’s set in her own town. She didn’t know that some scenes had been filmed in Palmetto. (The series also uses other locales in Manatee and Sarasota counties, although most of the shooting took place in New Orleans.)

“You’re the first person who has asked me about it,” Bryant said when asked about her take on the series, only 18 days before it was set to air. “I think it’s pretty under-the-radar. I don’t expect it to last long.”

The mayor isn’t hiding her trepidation about the series: “Did you think I’d be happy about it?” she asked incredulously. “If you were the mayor, how would you feel?”

Bryant has lived in Palmetto for her entire life, and from what little she knows about the series, she’s pretty sure it doesn’t have anything to do with the real Palmetto. No one from the show has spoken to the mayor about her city.

I think it’s good for our town. It puts us on the map.

Asia Le

“I don’t know why they decided to set it in Palmetto,” she said. “I’m not thrilled about it because it doesn’t have anything to do with the characteristics of Palmetto. If they had talked to me about it, it might have been a different story.”

Bryant allows that “Claws” could have a silver lining. More people outside of Manatee County will know that there’s a town called Palmetto, and maybe they’ll take the time to check it out and discover Palmetto’s small-town charm, its historic elements and its revitalization.

Some Palmetto residents are more upbeat about the show. Asia Le is the manager of Natural Nails, and she’s heard about the show from some of her customers. She doesn’t know much about “Claws,” but customers have mentioned to her that there’s a new series set in a business that’s kind of like hers, right in her town.

“I think it’s good for our town,” she said. “It puts us on the map.”

Still, she said, she’s not likely to tune in on June 11.

“I don’t watch cable,” she said.

Marty Clear: 941-708-7919, @martinclear