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Feature: The SCIFI Digital Press Event
The SCIFI Channel Spooks Journalists at the Stanley Hotel
By Stephen Lackey
September 30, 2008
The infamous Stanley Hotel, home of the latest Sci-Fi channel press day.
Being non-print media and working with networks can be quite the challenge most days. Many executives still don’t understand just how many fans go to the interwebs for their news rather than, or at least alongside of, print media. This can’t be said of the SCIFI Channel as they brought a group of writers from various websites and blogs together for a special event at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. The Stanley Hotel is the inspiration for the Stephen King book The Shining and he stayed in the hotel and got the idea for writing the book. In room, 217 to be exact. The hotel was actually the set for the mini series adaptation of the book as well. Simultaneous to the press event was a ghost hunt of the hotel by the Ghost Hunters with the winners of a contest the channel had hosted. We were not only given opportunities to interview the stars of some of the SCFI Channel’s most exciting shows but we were also allowed to tag along on an actual ghost hunt!
The friday night dinner at the hotel was quite surprising in that not only did Amanda Tapping end up at our table for dinner but several executives from the network also sat down to chat with us. They all seem very excited about the upcoming new slate of reality based programming which is a mix of investigative shows and game shows along with the buzz heavy Sanctuary. The president of the network even sat for a chat with us. He has a solid grasp on where the future of the network is headed and the important part that digital media and the hardcore fan base will play in the growth of the network.
Here at Mania, reality TV has never been the popular on either side of the website but we all gave Who Wants to be a Super Hero? a shot so if any network can do something offbeat and interesting with the reality/gameshow formula, hopefully it’s the SCIFI Channel. We’ll know soon enough as the new series Chase and Estate of Panic are premiering soon. We were given an early look at Estate of Panic which is a game show where contestants must escape various traps within a mansion set to win money. We didn’t see any footage but from the presentation and still images, the traps that players have to escape from look like fun. Chase is a riff on an Asian game show, which is all the rage these days, and we were given a sneak peek at how the game works via a live demonstration. Players must follow clues that will lead them to a finish line all the while being chased by hunters. The hunters are dressed in black suits Matrix style and stand perfectly still in various locations on the “game board” until the host activates them. The producers are calling this show a live action videogame. Players even have opportunities to find weapons lying around the game board including invisible glasses and freeze rays. This series may be a challenge to put together without being too silly. We’ll find out in November.
We were also given opportunities to speak with Josh Gates from Destination Truth, the Ghost Hunters, and actors and a producer from Scare Tactics, and Amanda Tapping. The weekend was quite an adventure with odd events happening all over the hotel. One journalist had his window break while he was chatting on the phone and another had her sink turn on by itself and the toilet randomly flush on its own. Is the Stanley Hotel haunted? The Ghost Hunters think it is. Will this weekend add up to some exciting new programming on the SCIFI Channel? Find out starting Friday with the premiere of Sanctuary and look for our interviews throughout the week.