Sci-Fi looks into future with ‘X-Files,’ Spielberg

Apr 8, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Reruns of “The X-Files” and “Roswell” are coming to the Sci-Fi Channel.
“X-Files” is expected to debut this October. The eight-year deal calls for a shared window with TNT. The 202 “X-Files” episodes will be exclusive to Sci-Fi during Monday-through-Friday prime time, while TNT will have rights to other times and dayparts. The 62 “Roswell” episodes are expected to come in a five-year exclusive deal, with a debut window that opens in fall 2002 and runs until January 2003.
At Sci-Fi’s small upfront press presentation last week in Manhattan, the cable network unveiled a slate of new programming, including “Tripping the Rift,” its first animated series; a miniseries based on Myst, the CD-ROM adventure-puzzle game; “Colosseum,” a back-door pilot about a fast-talking African American fight promoter from Brooklyn who is magically transported to the Rome of Emperor Nero; and a new miniseries version of “Battlestar Galactica.”
Meanwhile, Sci-Fi is rebranding in time for “Taken,” its epic 20-hour alien-abduction miniseries from Steven Spielberg that will air in December. Sci-Fi President Bonnie Hammer called the new focus “sci-fi plus,” and said the intention is to marry science-fiction concepts with thriller, drama, action and comedic elements. That will make the channel more “relatable” to its expanded target audience, not just to the hard-core genre fans. The intention is to draw in the larger audience that made hits of such films as “The Matrix” and such series as “Smallville.”
Other series programming on the way from Sci-Fi:
* “Scare Tactics,” a weekly half-hour that proposes to be the channel’s version of “Candid Camera” and will include such ploys as a mock alien encounter and a night in a supposed haunted house.
* “Dream Team,” a daily half-hour for late-night in which dream expert Michael Lennox analyzes in-studio and call-in viewers’ dreams. The series will be a companion to “Crossing Over With John Edward.”
* “Starport Authority” (working title), a weekly half-hour satire in which cops in the near future contend with illegal aliens from outer space.
* “The Belzer Connection,” a limited-run one-hour series hosted by actor/comedian Richard Belzer that is positioned as the network’s answer to “Politically Incorrect.”
The network intends to offer a big event every quarter, starting with “Taken.” In the first quarter of 2003, Sci-Fi will present its six-hour miniseries “Children of Dune,” a follow-up to the network’s “Frank Herbert’s Dune” miniseries. In the second quarter of next year, the network will offer the four-hour “Battlestar Galactica” miniseries.
Other miniseries in development:
* “The Forever War,” a four-hour miniseries based on Joe Haldeman’s science-fiction tale set during a 1,000-year war.
* “The Chronicles of Amber,” a four-hour miniseries based on Roger Zelazny’s 10-volume science-fiction and fantasy series.
* “On the Seventh Day,” a seven-hour limited series set in a future world so overcrowded that citizens are kept in cryonic suspension six days a week and then are allowed to live only one day a week.