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Sci Fi to Bolster Scripted-Series Lineup

Hoping to push its ratings performances into orbit, Sci Fi Channel Wednesday released a slate of new original scripted and reality series for the 2005-06 season.

Looking to build on the heels of its ratings-rich Friday-night original-programming block of Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1, the network will roll out several new scripted shows later this year into 2006, including Urban Arcana, a drama about mythical creatures causing mayhem on Earth; Tomorrow’s Child, in which a young burn victim gets healed through “skin” of extraterrestrial origin; Time Tunnel, an updated version of the classic 1960s television series; and 3:52, a series that examines what would happen if 2 billion people suddenly vanished from the earth.

Also on the docket is Those Who Walk in Darkness, a near-future drama based on a John Ridley novel; and Heroes Anonymous, a live-action series chronicling the lives of aspiring superheroes seeking to balance daily life with their secret identities.

The network will also tap actor Michael Douglas to produce an as-yet-untitled project based on the works and life of suspense author Shirley Jackson, and it will venture into the world of comic books to produce Painkiller Jane, a series based on a superheroine.

On the reality front, the network will bow animated series Barbarian Chronicles, an ensemble comedy that will feature “middle-earth metrosexuals” living in a new magical world; and Seriously Baffling Mysteries, a spoof on the supernatural-investigative craze, produced by FremantleMedia North America.

The series will join previously announced reality series Dallas in Wonderland, where host Dallas Campbell attempts to accomplish bizarre science-fiction challenges.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.