NBC promotes Universal Orlando with a look at the making of Diagon Alley
The Hogwarts Express soft-opened this morning to all Universal Orlando guests with Park-to-Park passes.)
Last night, NBC helped promote its corporate sibling Universal Orlando's new Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley with an hour-long primetime special on the making of the new land. I haven't found yet a full video of the episode online, but here's a clip from the network:
I can't recall a theme park company in recent years doing so much to promote its creative talent on a recent project. Obviously, Universal and Disney enjoy a huge promotional advantage over other theme park companies in that they are part of corporations that own major broadcast networks. And Disney has promoted its theme parks via its networks even more aggressively than NBCUniversal has. (I've long ago lost count of the number of ABC and ESPN shows that have filmed episodes at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.)
But Disney's long had an attitude toward its theme park creative talent that, as Imagineer Marty Sklar has said, "there's only one name on the door, and it's not yours." When Disney does promote its Imagineers, that tends to happen at the end of their careers, with Disney Legend status and Main Street window ceremonies. I can't recall Disney giving primetime access to an Imagineer to talk about his or her work on a current project since Walt himself was hosting the original Disneyland TV show.
According to the Nielsen overnight ratings, the special reached about 3 million viewers, for an 0.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic. That put the show in last place among programs on the big four networks last night. But still, that's three million people.
Will NBC's promotion of its creative talent expose more young viewers to themed entertainment design in any significant way? Will it lead to any change in the perception of Universal Creative relative to Walt Disney Imagineering among those who follow this industry?
Alan Gilmore, far left, Thierry Coup, Mark Woodbury, and Dale Mason
If you missed the special, or just want to hear more from Universal Creative's leaders, we've got highlights from their recent media day press conference on the making of Diagon Alley:
And you can take take a look at the finished product with our video tour of Diagon Alley:
All ready to watch this and the really bad storms move in... power went out multiple times and no sat signal... ugh.
Hmmm... if you're only counting the network specials, you're right: Disney tends to focus on celebrities and characters over the talented designers and engineers. But all those Disney produced (or Disney involved) specials on the Travel Channel, from rehabs of the Disney Cruise Line to the premiere of Expedition Everest, are chock full of the people "behind the magic." Of course, none of those shows had 3MM viewers!
I know Disney Legend Status, but what's a Main Street Window ceremony? I know I'm labeling myself as a non-Disney nut, but it sounds interesting.
Hogwarts express Now Open!
Yes, Hogwarts' Express is now open to guests with park to park tickets. Reports of lines at the new ticket windows to up the single park tickets. James Rao, please take note.....Why did I do that, not smart, now comes James park to park rants. Well, we needed some fun on this thread....LOL
^No worries, Rob. By the time I get back to Orlando (next year maybe) Universal will have either come up with a round trip option for single park guests, or I'll be slopping down some Butterbeer ice cream while waiting to ride the Gringott's dark ride for the umpteenth time. And while others are scrounging around for the extra $40 needed to ride a train, the Gringott's line will be zipping by! ;)
I will agree with you, James -- the NBC network has gone down the toilet. But who knows... Maybe all of those would-be viewers were too busy standing along the DA fence on #potterwatch last night.
^Great point, Melissa, everyone who cares was already in line!!! :)
I didn't even know it was on until I stumbled on it. Did they give any advance notice? I would have loved to watch it. Will it be re-aired?
Maybe it's just me, but doesn't it look to me like that Universal Creative guy Dale Mason (far right) is wearing Mickey Mouse ears?
^Yeah, for the season ending in May 2014, NBC's 18-49 was .3 higher than CBS and Fox who tied for second (FYI - total viewers - which no one cares about - went to CBS, as usual). Interestingly though, NBC canceled ten shows this season, compared to six each for CBS and FOX (ABC had the most canceled shows with 12). NBC doesn't have many popular shows, but the few they have are very popular (personally, there is not a single NBC show I follow - though my friends tell me Blacklist is worth a look).
NBC doesn't have popular shows?!? What about their huge Thursday lineup, with Friends, Seinfeld, and Frasier?
NBC cancelled Community, so it is dead to me...for now. Until the Apprentice comes back (incidentally with yet another episode at Universal Orlando), I'll support the competitors at ABC (Disney).
Interesting stats, gentlemen.
For those of us in the UK, here's a link so we don't miss out!
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