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Sci Fi Renews Battlestar Galactica

Sci Fi Channel renewed Battlestar Galactica for a fourth season, the network said Tuesday. Production on at least 13 new hour-long episodes will begin this summer, working toward a premiere in January 2008.

Separately, NBC Universal will likely create a direct-to-video Battlestar movie which will come out in between seasons three and four, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. The film would fill in plot gaps and give information not previously unveiled in the TV show.

The decision comes after Sci Fi moved Battlestar, currently in its third season, from Friday to Sunday nights. The show's fans had a scare when it premiered to lackluster ratings (1.8 million total viewers, according to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen Media Research) on the new night Jan. 21.

But that was against football on CBS, which drew 50 million, and Battlestar rebounded in subsequent weeks. Week two grew to 2.1 million viewers - 2.5 million accounting for playback on DVRs within the week. The Feb. 11 episode drew 1.5 million viewers (live-plus-same-day).