The producers are currently conducting a cost analysis to determine whether to film at another location in the vicinity, or to shift the whole project to Canada where a pilot episode has already been filmed, said Telluride Mayor Stu Fraser, a key local player in working to bring the production to Telluride.
Fraser said he expects producers to announce their decision about where to film the program sometime this week.
Two weeks ago, the whole project appeared to be moving at lightning speed, when Bryan Bird (one of three producers in Frontier Productions, the joint venture company mounting the show) and Donald Zuckerman, president of the Colorado Film Commission, traveled to Telluride to meet with local officials to discuss using the proposed Idarado site.
The deal hinged on San Miguel County Commissioners issuing a temporary special-use permit for the Idarado parcel, as well as on Idarado Mining Company granting permission to use the site.
At a May 15 meeting with the San Miguel Board of County Commissioners, Idarado specified that for the project to move forward, the production company must obtain consent waivers from 37 homeowners in the Idarado Legacy subdivision.
That condition turned out to be a deal-breaker, Fraser said. Given the tight production schedule for mounting the show, there was simply not enough time to contact all 37 homeowners, let alone gain consent from each for the project.
San Miguel County released a statement late last week that the county had not received an application from Frontier Productions following the May 15 meeting for a set to be built on Idarado’s tailings pile, and that a May 28 public hearing on the matter had been cancelled.
The statement indicated that Frontier Productions was exploring other possible sites in the area for the show, including a location near the Matterhorn Mill 2.8 miles south of Ophir.
Local proponents of the proposed television program have touted it as a potential boon to the local economy. Frontier Productions estimated it would spend about $8 million in Telluride this summer alone, filming six episodes of the program, with locals hired to do much of the set construction and even some of the acting. The concept of the show, titled “When Calls the Heart,” is similar to Little House on the Prairie, set in a historic mining town.
At press time, Frontier Productions had not responded to a request for comments.