Sci Fi, Spielberg Teaming Up Again

A Taken sequel is not in Sci Fi Channel's future, but a new venture
with Steven Spielberg and the production team behind the hit maxiseries from
last December is.

The network announced Monday afternoon that Spielberg, DreamWorks Television
and Taken writer/producer Leslie Boehm are discussing plans for a trio of
six-hour miniseries, each one premiering on Sci Fi within a three-month period
starting in 2004.

The programs will have the same concept and characters and, if successful,
would become an ongoing franchise on the service.

"We want to do something as rich with them as Lord of the Rings or
Harry Potter
," Sci Fi president Bonnie Hammer said at a New York press
briefing. "We don't want to repeat Taken. This is about creating a set of
epic events."

With Sci Fi's original-programming budget doubling over the next few years,
Hammer unveiled projects intended to run in 2004 and 2005.

Eight new drama series are in development, joining previously announced
projects Anonymous Rex, the revival of Quantum Leap and comic-book
adaptations 1000 Days and Brother Voodoo.

Dead Lawyers, another DreamWorks project about attorneys who return from
the dead to straighten out miscarriages of justices they caused, is on Sci Fi's
series fast track, as is Legion, a look at demons co-executive-produced
by Whoopi Goldberg; The Divide, a supernatural crime tale from The
Dead Zone
distributors Lions Gate; and Stargate SG-1 spinoff
Stargate: Atlantis

Two new miniseries were green-lighted: Six Days 'til Sunday, where
someone attempts to solve his own murder and the show unfolds one hour at a time
over six days; and The Thing, a TV remake of the 1950s film classic. Both
programs are targeted for 2004.

Meanwhile, production starts Tuesday on Sci Fi's four-hour miniseries revival
of Battlestar Galatica, starring Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell.
That effort is aimed at a December 2003 premiere.

In other Sci-Fi news:

\u0007 On the heels of Scare Tactics premiering Friday, three more reality
series are in the hopper: Life on Mars, Lab Rats and Mad Mad

\u0007 Two original action movies will premiere each month on Saturday nights
beginning later this year. At least 22 first-run flicks will get produced.

\u0007 Tripping the Riff, the animated space adventure half-hour comedy
announced at Sci Fi's press briefing last spring, is now scheduled to debut next
January, nine months behind its original launch date. Hammer attributed the date
shift to a longer-than-anticipated production cycle.