NBC promotes Universal Orlando with a look at the making of Diagon Alley
Written by Robert Niles
(Update: The Hogwarts Express soft-opened this morning to all Universal Orlando guests with Park-to-Park passes.)Tweet
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:
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