FarScape's David Kemper Returns

FarScape creator David Kemper is returning to TV via a five-picture deal with Sci Fi Channel, co-produced by Rigel Entertainment. He also has a new series in development for cable, according to Rigel executives.

FarScape, which ran for four seasons on the cable net, is one of its most popular ever. Kemper was also a writer for Star Trek: TNG, Voyager and other sci-fi series.

Rigel Entertainment’s new president, David Macaione, says the first two Kemper films, creature features Heat Stroke and Tyrannosaurus Azteca, are in development.

They are being targeted for Sci Fi’s Saturday movie franchise, according to network spokeswoman Adrienne D’Amato, who said Sci Fi will be a production partner as well. The first one could hit the network by sometime next year, she said.

There is also a series in development from Kemper, says Macaione, described as a high-concept, post-apocalyptic take on Xena, based on a comic book featuring a strong female lead.

Macaione says three cable networks have expressed interest, though D’Amato could not confirm that Sci Fi was one of them.

Jeffrey Hayes, whose credits include the $32.5 million, eight-hour, limited series Nightmares and Dreamscapes for TNT, will co-executive produce the series.

According to Macaione and Rigel founder John F.S. Laing, Rigel has also just sold a 13-hour "semi-scripted" series to women’s network We. The series features reenactments based on the books of paranormal investigator Hans Holzer.

Laing, who is CEO, had been running the operation, but brought in Macaione from theatrical distributor Regent Entertainment to help him ramp up production.

Macaione says his focus is on boosting the company’s telefilms as well as a "large-scale launch into hour scripted series," with the Kemper series the first volley.

Rigel’s library also includes off-USA episodes of Pacific Blue, the Mary Higgins Clark TV movies that aired on PAX (where Macaione worked before Regent), Robocop, and Showtime’s Universal Soldier pictures. among others.

Laing formed Rigel in 1992, having run Orion TV International from its launch to its 1991 demise. Astronomy buffs--and editors who can Google--will note that Rigel is the brightest star in Orion.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.