Disney Channel’s new series Secrets of Sulphur Springs, which at one point was set up at Disney+, is getting a second window on the global streaming platform in the first such arrangement for a Disney linear TV series. It signifies the new levels of collaboration within the Disney Branded Entertainment Group following the recent company restructuring.
The suspense and time-travel series premiered on Disney Channel Jan. 15 with three episodes, with a new episode released weekly every Friday since; Episode 8 debuts tonight, the season finale is slated for March 12.
Following its success on the linear network, with Secrets of Sulphur Springs ranking as the #1 series across all basic cable with Girls 6-11, as well as on Disney Channel’s digital platform, DisneyNOW, where it is the #1 series, the show is getting a high-profile run on Disney+. It will debut on the streamer on Friday, Feb. 26, with the first five episodes, and a new (for Disney+) episode available to stream each Friday through April 9.
The move opens another avenue for family friendly Disney linear fare. If Secrets of Sulphur Springs does well in expanding its reach on Disney+, it is conceivable that the series could become a Disney+ original in Season 2.
The Disney+ run also adds marks a homecoming of sorts for Secrets of Sulphur Springs.
The series was originally developed for Disney Channel. At some point, the project, described as a Stranger Things-like supernatural drama for the younger set, was pitched to Disney+. Its development team liked it, and gave it a cast-contingent series order. A director was hired, and Sulphur Springs entered pre-production. But after a months-long casting search did not yield results, Disney+ in spring 2019 opted not to go forward with the hourlong series. Pre-production was paused and it returned to Disney Channel. The kids network’s brass remained high on the project, giving it a pilot order and continuing casting. It was subsequently picked up to series.
A lot has changed since the early days of Disney+ whose in-house development team often didn’t see eye-to-eye with its sister studios. That team has been disbanded, with Disney Channels Worldwide President Gary Marsh, whose team championed Secrets Of Sulphur Springs, taking oversight of all shows made for Disney+ as President and Chief Content Officer of Disney Branded Television.
Filmed and set in Louisiana, the series follows 12-year-old Griffin Campbell (Preston Oliver), whose world has been upended by his father, Ben (Josh Braaten), after he moves the family from Chicago to take ownership of an abandoned hotel property, The Tremont. Now, the family—which also includes Griffin’s mother, Sarah (Kelly Frye), and his younger twin siblings, Wyatt (Landon Gordon) and Zoey (Madeleine McGraw)—live in The Tremont in hopes of restoring it to the lively vacation destination it once was. On his first day at his new school, Griffin hears rumors that the hotel is haunted by the ghost of Savannah (Elle Graham), a girl who disappeared decades ago. He soon meets and befriends Harper (Kyliegh Curran), a thrill-seeking classmate, and they discover a secret portal that allows them to travel back in time and uncover clues about the town mystery.
Secrets of Sulphur Springs is from creator, writer and executive producer Tracey Thomson. Charles Pratt Jr. also serves as executive producer. The series is produced by Gwave Productions. Here is a trailer, which does evoke Stranger Things: