NEPA Scene Staff

Centralia, the Pennsylvania town that inspired ‘Silent Hill,’ getting NBC TV show pilot

Centralia, the Pennsylvania town that inspired ‘Silent Hill,’ getting NBC TV show pilot
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The creepy Pennsylvania town that inspired the psychological horror movie “Silent Hill” may be getting its own television show.

After competing with multiple bidders, NBC has ordered a pilot for a new drama based in the nearly empty ghost town, where a mine fire has been burning underground since 1962 and only a handful of residents remain. Meredith Averill, the creator and executive producer of The CW’s sci-fi drama “Star-Crossed,” will be writing the show, according to Deadline:

Written by Averill, Centralia is a dark character-driven genre soap based on a real town in central Pennsylvania where an underground mine fire has been burning for over 50 years. The remaining few residents of this ghost town are determined to preserve their homes but remain unaware of the evil that is slowly making its way to the surface. Averill is executive producing with Amblin TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey.

A booming coal mining town with almost 3,000 residents at the end of 19th century, Centralia saw its fortunes gradually falling in the following decades as mines started to close. Then in 1962, an above-ground fire accidentally migrated underground, entering the maze of abandoned coal mines. It has been burning ever since. In 1992, the area was condemned and the majority of residents relocated, turning Centralia into a nearly ghost town. After lengthy litigation, eight determined residents won the right to stay in Centralia for the rest of their lives. One of the town’s churches also remains open.

Also the co-executive producer of “Jane the Virgin” on The CW and the producer of “The Good Wife” on CBS, Averill grew up in nearby Pottsville, so she’s familiar with the town’s unique history and foreboding atmosphere, where smoke still rises from giant cracks in the ground and vandals have trashed the landscape. Deadline also noted that Amblin TV recently received a straight-to-series order for drama “American Gothic” on CBS, due out next summer, and is in production on the movie “All the Way” for HBO starring Bryan Cranston.

WNEP-TV interviewed local residents and visitors about the potential show yesterday:

While writing the screenplay for the “Silent Hill” film adaptation of the video game series of the same name, Roger Avary said he was inspired by the story of Centralia, and the 2006 movie featured scenes that look like they could have been shot in Columbia County, even though they weren’t.

To learn more about Centralia, watch the full-length 2007 documentary “The Town That Was” for free below:

Photo of Centralia from Wikipedia