January 31 2013

ABC Orders Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Pilot

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The synergy between ABC and Disney is rearing its head again as the network has ordered a pilot for Big Thunder, a series based on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opened at Disneyland in 1979 and quickly became a success at the park and spread to the other Disney properties around the world. Built around the idea of a train going through an old mine, it actually makes some odd sense that this could be transferred to other media, but a weekly television series?

According to Deadline, ABC had ordered a pilot for a new weekly series called Big Thunder. According to the report, I’m still not quite sure how this ties into the ride:

The TV project centers on a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor. He and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful, but mysterious tycoon but quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems.

I am usually reluctant to report on pilots because it’s a long weird process that not everyone understands. Just because a pilot is ordered doesn’t mean it will be taken to series. It will be filmed, tested and sometimes a second pilot will end up getting made as well to adjust for tweaks. Even after that it still may not make it to air.

All that being said, Disney owns ABC, and it loves when it can make the various properties work together. This has a pretty good shot at making it when you keep that in mind.

Ever since the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies Disney has been looking to get another ride-based property going. The first Haunted Mansion movie was a disaster, and the second attempt seems to be stuck somewhere in development limbo. It has been ages since I have heard any discussion on the proposed Jungle Cruise movie. And after being so gung-ho on a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride movie last year, all chatter on that project seems to have died off. Supposedly Jon Favreau is working on his Magic Kingdom film, but even that has been pretty quiet.

Seeing as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is currently shut down at Disneyland for renovations that are supposed to last nine months, I’m thinking this is a done deal. I mean, I hate go all conspiracy, but that means the ride will be re-opening in an all new, shiny condition just as the fall television season begins.

Gee… I’m sure that is pure coincidence.

Source: Deadline .

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