Big Deal? Plans announced to build television studio, broadcast facility in Hopkins County
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Joy Walker, left, received a key to the city from Chamber of Commerce President Bill Elliott, right, Saturday morning following Walker's announcement of plans to bring as many as 4,000 people to the area to support a television production studio. Walker said she has purchased the home of Mary Bonham, center, east of Sulphur Springs and plans to build the studio near the home. Construction is scheduled to begin in early February.
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

Dec. 18, 2005 -- Sulphur Springs may soon find itself listed among cities like New York and Hollywood, following an announcement Saturday morning of the construction of a television studio that will be offering programming around the world and could bring more than 4,000 jobs to the area.

Joy Walker of Florida said her group has purchased the Mary Bonham home on Interstate 30 and will construct the television production facilities on property adjacent to the magnificent home.

Plans call for architects to begin work on the facility in early February.

"We want it done as fast as we can," Ms. Walker said. "We also start casting that week for additional programming."

Mary Bonham said the announcement came as the result of a friendship that developed with Walker. She said the forthcoming television studio would be the start of a big adventure.

"It's going to be a great adventure for Sulphur Springs," Bonham said. "First of all is we know that it can happen, because with Joy behind it, it will be there."

Programs to be produced include soap operas, cartoons and comedies, according to Walker.

"What we are doing is not going be just regular TV," she said. "We are going to have TV on the Internet, something that has never been done."

The programs will only be on the Internet but have worldwide coverage.

Another difference in the programming planned to originate in Sulphur Springs is there will be absolutely no profanity and no nudity, according to Mrs. Walker.

Walker said more than 360 shows have been scheduled per week and will require a large number of people.

"We are going to start with bare minimums -- 1,500 people full time," she said. "We spoke with animators this week and they are going to be bringing in one project that will need over 400 people to get it done."

Included in the 1,500 jobs, Walker said, would be sound people, lighting people, and the people to build sets.

"This is bare minimum," she said. "You could probably count double that, and those are just the full-time people."

Within another 90 days, Walker said the number would grow to 4,500 or more.

"We are hoping that you people are going to begin to help prepare so that these people can have somewhere to live, somewhere to eat and to entertain themselves," Walker continued.

Mary Bonham said Walker would need support from the community in many ways.

"We are going to need housing, which we can get," Bonham said. "We are going to have developments which she is producing, and we are going to bring quite a few people into Sulphur Springs."

Representatives of the city of Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County were on hand for the announcement. Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce President Bill Elliott presented Walker with a key to the city.

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