Location: Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando®
Dates: October 9-10, 2011
The event kicked off on Sunday night at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort’s Wantilan Luau. This wasn’t just your normal luau since Syfy put their spin on it and called it “Destination Luau”. It was hosted by “Destination Truth” star Josh Gates and was attended by most, if not all attending Syfy talent. Following the luau, the event was moved over to Universal Studios for a guided VIP tour of Halloween Horror Nights. What was really great about this press tour was that it was very intimate and personal, that does not happen often (if ever). Don’t let the size deceive you though, since it was packed with great content and scheduled events. I would say that it was a great start to a very informative and unforgettable event. The following day contained the panels and that is where the real magic happened.
On Monday, the event started with a great speech from David Howe, President of Syfy and was handed off to the day’s moderator, Mark Stern, President of Syfy Original Programming. The first panel was “Being Human” and it was attended by Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath. As usual with this cast, the panel was fun, energetic and unpredictable. We were told that season two premieres on January 16th, 2012. We were given a small sneak peak about the new season that showed each character going off on their own path. The new season promises to be a lot darker and will feature a lot of new characters. This is easily one of my favorite shows on Syfy and on television in general right now.
The next panel, one of my most anticipated, was for Syfy’s upcoming two day mini-series event “Neverland”. It is a prequel to the classic story of Peter Pan and stars Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel and Charlie Rowe. I had the chance to watch this mini-series before this event and it is fantastic and right in line with Syfy’s “Tin Men”. The panel was very interesting and fun. The series is set to premiere on Syfy on December 4th & 5th, 2011. We found out that the film was shot in 54 days with shooting taking place in Genoa, Italy and Dublin, Ireland. Also a fun fact we learned was that the location for the Neverland scenes were shot in an unused toilet paper plant. The cast is so charismatic and fun. Make sure you tune-in to this mini-series this December for sure.
Heading into the world of reality TV, “Face-Off” was the next panel with its host McKenzie Westmore and judge Ve Neil. Ve Neil began the panel by explaining about what has happened with last season’s winner, Connor. She hired Connor to work with her on “The Hunger Games”. She also reported that she worked on “The Amazing Spider-Man” with two past contestants Tate and Anthony. McKenzie has such an amazing personality and is a joy to listen to. Both of them gave a sneak preview of what to expect from season two and how the ante has been kicked up. Also revealed was that season two will kick off with challenges relating to “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and season two will consist of 7 men and 7 women.
Next up was a mash-up of “Eureka” / “Haven” / “Warehouse 13” as they approach their upcoming Christmas specials. Colin Ferguson, Emily Rose and Eddie McClintock were in attendance and were all very animated and enthusiastic about their shows. The “Eureka” special is going to be an animated episode with various styles of animation throughout the special and will feature many guest stars such as Jim Parsons and Chris Parnel. The “Warehouse 13” special is a little darker than “Eureka” and will be themed like “It’s A Wonderful Life” and what if Pete Lattimer was not around. The “Haven” special takes place in the month of July where the people of Haven all believe that it is Christmas which may be caused by a “troubled” town member. Having viewed all three episodes already, I can say that they are really great additions to the already great season for each show respectively. They are also said to fit within each current season but are to be considered stand-alone. Tune in December 6th to catch them when they air. BTW “Haven” was not greenlit for season three as of the press tour…but today 10/12/11, two days later, it was announced. So expect more “Haven” in summer 2012. Hooray!!
The next two panels are for two shows that are airing in 2012 on Syfy. The first is called “Lost Girl”, which has already aired two seasons in Canada and was recently picked up by Syfy. The panel featured Anna Silk and Zoie Palmer from the show. The show will premiere January 16th right after “Being Human” as part of Syfy’s Powerful Monday lineup. The second series is a reality show called “Monster Man”, which will take you inside the FX shop of Cleve Hall and his family. Attending the panel was Cleve Hall, his daughter/co-worker Constance Hall and his partner/friend Roy Knyrim. The show airs in March 2012 and carries the tagline “Sometimes making monsters, can be a beast”.
The last announced panel before the “surprise panel” was a WWE Smackdown panel. At this panel, we were told that Smackdown has been on Syfy for 1 year now and on October 14th it will out replace “Gunsmoke” as the longest running episodic TV show with over 650 episodes. Attending the panel was WWE Diva Alicia Fox and WWE Superstar Wade Barrett, who also did most of, if not all of the talking.
The last panel was the surprise panel and it was QUITE a surprise. Syfy announced that Jaleel White (aka Steve Urkel from “Family Mathers” and Syfy Original Movie “Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus”) will host a new reality TV show called “Total Blackout”. The show is created by Henrik Nielsen, who has already adapted this show in 13 other countries. The show features contestants who will compete in complete and total darkness. It focuses on fear vs. danger and will take you as far as your imagination will go. The show starts production 10/18/11 in California and will be airing in early 2012. We were lucky enough to get a test run of what the show will be like with 4 lucky press members and Eureka’s Colin Ferguson. The test run had them walk in a room with three tanks with an object in each one and the goal was to figure out what it was by feeling it in the complete dark. The first item were two giant live snakes, the next was a teddy bear and the last was a human foot (live…body was under the table). It was a laugh riot and we were able to record Colin Ferguson’s try and you can view it below.
Overall the Syfy Digital Press Tour 2011 was very fun, quick moving and entertaining. If the panels weren’t good enough, afterwards Syfy shipped all the press, talent and staff over to Islands of Adventure to get a VIP tour of the closed off “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”. This was a memorable and exciting experience and is something that I will never forget in my entire life. Thank you Syfy for allowing us to cover this event and I will look forward to many more years of covering this event.
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Click here to watch clips from the various panels: