Hollywood Cashes In on Mine-Rescue Mania

One reality show and two documentaries shows may just be the exploitative beginning, as story-tellers dig in on the Chilean rescue

There's narrative gold in them thar hills.

Less than 24 hours after the headline-grabbing rescue of 33 men from the Chilean mine, a mining-themed reality-TV project and two topical specials have been announced.

Expect that to be just the beginning.

Also read: "5 Chilean Mine Rescue Projects Hollywood Needs to Make."

Men-of-danger reality specialist Thom Beers ("Deadliest Catch,' "Lobster Wars") was the first to arrive on the scene, with cable channel Spike on Thursday announcing an hourlong series from  focused on Westchester, West Virginia's, Cobalt Mine. Spike has ordered 10 episodes.

Discovery Channel, meanwhile, announced plans for a one-hour special, "Rescued: The Chilean Mine Story." Featuring interviews with the miners, their families, the engineers who planned their rescue — and, hopefully, a mistress or two — the special will air Oct. 28.

And PBS is also getting in on the mine-rescue action with a special episode of "Nova," titled "Emergency Mine Rescue," which will premiere Oct. 28. The "Nova" crew began gathering footage at the mine Sept. 5.

Earlier to the game, ABC aired a mine special of its own in primetime Wednesday night.

Away from the klieg lights, Transworld Publisher announced it has tapped journalist Jonathan Franklin to write a book on the rescue. Franklin had been covering the story for the Guardian newspaper. The book will be published in Britain in 2011 from Bantam Press.

And one studio executive opined to TheWrap Thursday that it will only be a matter of time before the majors begin developing film projects based on the Chilean rescue.

The rescue began Aug. 5 when the San Jose mine in Chile caved in leaving 33 men trapped 2,000 feet underground. Since then, rescuers worked around the clock to drill a path to send an escape capsule down to the mine.

The miners were finally brought back to the surface in a process that took over 22 hours and was completed late Wednesday. Coverage of the rescue generated record internet traffic and huge TV ratings.