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Sci Fi Orders Third Round of 'Battlestar'

October 31, 2005 12:00 AM

Though it will come as a surprise to no one, Sci Fi Channel is readying a third season of its grim space opera "Battlestar Galactica." The series fell off somewhat during its second season-dropping from an average of 1.7 million 18- to 49-year-old viewers last year to 1.5 million. But the program still helped lead Sci Fi to consistent Friday night victories over all of basic cable, besting runners-up TNT, USA Network and Spike. Sci Fi had no comment as the renewal deal was still being finalized. Last week the network announced fellow Friday night dramas "Stargate SG-1" and "Stargate Atlantis" were renewed for 20 episodes each and noted that the 10th-season renewal of "SG-1" makes it the longest-running science fiction television program of all time, outlasting "The

X-Files," "Twilight Zone" and every iteration of "Star Trek." -JAMES HIBBERD

'Shadow' Emerges From NBA TV

NBA TV is adding reruns of "The White Shadow" to its lineup, marking the first time the network has carried a scripted series. Not coincidentally, 20th Century Fox is putting out on DVD the first season of the show-which ran on CBS from 1978 to 1981 and features Ken Howard as a former Chicago Bulls player who takes a teaching job at an inner-city high school. In addition to running five episodes beginning with the pilot on Nov. 2, NBA Entertainment has created "White Shadow" DVD commercials and a two-minute vignette about the series that will appear during the episodes, in addition to opening and closing billboards promoting the DVD. NBA TV will also telecast live a "White Shadow" event being held Nov. 9 at the NBA Store in New York. While Fox is paying the NBA for the promotion, Steve Herbst, VP and general manager of NBA TV, said the network is "wading into the world of scripted programming and we think 'The White Shadow' would be a great place to start." -JON LAFAYETTE

ESPN Follows the Script

After striking out with scripted series on poker and football players, ESPN's original entertainment division is now looking to basketball players, boxers and NASCAR drivers. The sports network has in development three scripted projects: "Hit Men," described as "'Playmakers' in the boxing world"; an untitled project going behind the scenes of NASCAR auto racing; and another untitled project about a basketball team in a juvenile detention center. None of the series has yet been greenlighted and the direction of the programming division is unclear in the wake of Mark Shapiro's September departure as head of programming. Mr. Shapiro's duties were assumed earlier this month by Executive VP of Content John Skipper. ESPN had no comment on the projects. -James Hibberd