Thursday, October 22, 2015

Schuylkill County Native Writing Pilot for New NBC Drama "Centralia"

Written by: Jay Skook

Last week, Skook News published an article regarding NBC buying a pilot for a new drama named "Centralia". The idea for the show actually came from a Schuylkill County native.

Meredith Averill, a native of Pottsville, who now lives in Los Angeles, California is the currently working on the pilot for the new drama. Skook News was able to track down and get in touch with Averill and we spoke to her Wednesday afternoon.

Averill is not new to television. She has written and produced for the CBS show "The Good Wife", as well as Star-Crossed and Jane the Virgin, both on the CW Network.

She graduated from Pottsville High School and is a graduate of NYU. Averill still has family that live in Schuylkill County.

Averill's inspiration for writing and coming up with the idea for "Centralia" came from her fascination with the abandoned town since childhood. She recalled travelling through the town as a child when her parents would take her to Knoebel's Amusement Park.

She noted that "Centralia" will not be a documentary but a story inspired by the town and the people that still live there. The story will be based on the same events that took place over the years, but Averill will add her own elements to the story.

In reality, Centralia currently has around 5 residents, but in the story, Centralia will have roughly 100 residents. Averill wants to portray the current Centralians as heroes who still have hope in saving their town. There will be an element of sadness felt but you will want to be rooting for them to succeed.

Within the timeline of the show, the government is threatening eminent domain to take the town but in the shows timeline, it has not taken it YET. The government's reason for removing the residence of the town will be for their safety, due to the fire burning below, but the feds will have ulterior motives. The tourism draw of the town will also come into play, where they will have their own walking tour. Graffiti Highway will be included in the show. Averill also said characters will be unaware of the "evil" lurking below.

Averill says she got the idea for the show earlier this year and began pitching to television executives in August. NBC beat out one other major network that was interested in the pilot.

The purchasing of the pilot was a huge step in the process but doesn't necessarily mean the show will be on television. The second step to the process is writing the pilot, which Averill is currently working on. Around Thanksgiving, the written pilot will then be given to NBC executives who will decide whether or not to film a pilot. A decision on filming the pilot will be decided in January and if chosen will be filmed roughly in March/April. The pilot will then be shown and a final green light for the show would be given in May.

Many have asked where the show will be filmed and Averill says at this time, it is not known. She noted that the production locations are decided once the show has been given a budget.

Averill is very excited to be working on the project and has been overwhelmed with the response she has received since the news broke last week. She says that even though she has worked on other well-known show, this is by the biggest reaction she has received.

As the project moves forward, Skook News will continue to update you on developments.