Sci Fi Gets Outer Limits

New York-Sci Fi Channel picked upThe Outer Limitsby ordering 22 new episodes of the anthology program, three of which will be pilots for additional series.

Sci Fi and MGM Television Entertainment reached a deal to continue original production for a seventh season ofThe Outer Limits,which launched on Showtime in 1995, the network said Thursday.

The new batch of episodes will start production shortly and begin airing exclusively on Sci Fi in early 2001. The series will then follow its past pattern of moving on to a syndication window, this one starting in September of 2001.

In an unusual arrangement, Sci Fi plans to take advantage ofThe Outer Limits'anthology format to produce at least three self-contained episodes that will act as so-called "back-door" pilots.

Also as part of the agreement announced Thursday, Sci Fi has acquired 49 episodes of the originalOuter Limitsseries, which ran on ABC from 1963 to 1965.

The deal expands on a 1998 MGM-Sci Fi agreement that granted the cable channel the rights to rebroadcast 132 previously aired 1990sOuter Limitsepisodes.That arrangement also included new and previously aired episodes ofPoltergeist: The Legacy,as well as the rights toStargate SG-1,starting in fall 2002.