[04/23/03 - 12:00 AM]
Lost 'Dead Zone' Episode Found
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- "The Dead Zone" executive producer Michael Piller has shed some light on the "lost" episode of USA's original series. In a post to the series' official web site, Piller told readers:

And there is of course the mystery about "The Hunt for Osama" which many of you have written us about.

Well, first of all, it's now called "The Hunt," and I'll tell you why in a moment.

Second, when will it run? I don't know. USA decided that it might seem exploitative during the war in Iraq. Now that the war is winding down, will they change their minds? I just don't know. The truth is they've always been nervous about this one.

Some months ago, well-connected friends at the University of North Carolina and Duke told me that psychics like Johnny Smith had been in the employ of the CIA doing "remote viewing" - using second sight to gather intelligence in foreign countries. (I'm not making this up - there's plenty of documented evidence online. Check for yourself.) But what was new and what I found impossible to ignore was information brought to my attention suggesting that the American government was actually using psychics to track down Osama Bin Laden.

My old newsman juices started flowing. Here was an untold story about the war - why shouldn't we tell it on The Dead Zone? I approached it as docudrama (I used to run the docudrama accuracy unit at CBS when Cassutt and I worked together). I partnered up with Joe McMoneagle, a psychic who has worked for the CIA in the past (and may or may not still be working for them - Joe's one of those guys who "neither confirms or denies" a whole lot of things.) Joe helped me put together a story that is obviously fictional (since Johnny isn't real), but it is based on information we believe to be accurate. We took no liberties with the facts as they were presented to us.

USA was nervous when they read the story: Johnny Smith chasing Osama? Wasn't that treading into sensitive areas? I argued it was a war story, and a real one, and no different from seeing Humphrey Bogart chase Rommel across the Sahara during World War II, or movies that featured Hitler as a character. (In our story, Osama is never on screen.) I also pointed out that shows like The Agency, 24, and JAG were doing stories about the war on terrorism almost every week.

OK, they said, let's do it.

But when they screened the episode, it made them nervous again. They asked that all mentions of Osama Bin Laden by name be excised. That was actually not a serious problem, since he was only mentioned twice. Thus, the title also changed. Then the war with Iraq broke out, and they just decided this wasn't the time to run it.

It's a very unique episode that avoids adding fake stuff for the sake of pumping up the drama - one of the things I learned running the docudrama unit was that the truth was usually dramatic enough. So this is a lean, no-nonsense look at this incredible story of unusual soldiers in the war on terrorism.

I can say that there are many people here who think it is one of the great episodes of the series. We recreated a Pakistani village in Vancouver and staged a huge battle with a U.S. strike force - with Johnny's vision taking him into the middle of the fight.

If it is scheduled by USA, you'll hear about it here on this site. If not, I'll let you know when it will be out on DVD.

Because of the unusual circumstances, I'm going to break the embargo and post Mike Taylor's remarkable teleplay. I doubt anyone will mind letting you see what we had in mind.

In addition, Piller went on to confirm a new batch of second season episodes is in store for this summer and Karl Schaefer ("Strange Luck," "Eerie, Indiana") has joined the series as a new head writer and co-executive producer to meet the demands of going back into production so quickly. Mike Cassutt ("The Twilight Zone," "Farscape") has also joined the writing staff as a creative consultant.

For Piller's complete post, click here.

  [april 2003]  


[10/27/16 - 02:40 PM]
A&E Network to Premiere New Original Docuseries "Leah Remini: Scientology and The Aftermath"
Remini, along with high level former Scientology executives and Church members, delves deep into shocking stories of abuse, heartbreak and harassment experienced by those who have left the church and spoken publicly about their experiences.

[10/27/16 - 02:06 PM]
Unexpected Motherhood Explored in Lifetime's Two New Series, "30 Something Grandma" and "Knocked Up"
Look for the newcomers on November 15 and December 6, respectively.

[10/27/16 - 02:05 PM]
truTV's Short-Form Comedy Series "Rachel Dratch's Late Night Snack" Returns Wednesday, Nov. 2
In this weekly showcase, comedy fans will be treated to a lineup of original offerings from some of the biggest and brightest creators spanning a variety of styles from character-driven shorts to animation to music videos and much more.

[10/27/16 - 01:06 PM]
Universal Cable Productions Announces Multiple Licensed Product Partners for "Mr. Robot"
Available just in time for Halloween, Rasta Imposta's iconic fsociety mask is available now at retailers nationwide including Amazon, Costume Super Center, Hot Topic, Party City, Spirit Halloween and Spencers.

[10/27/16 - 12:49 PM]
WE tv Announces New Paranormal Docu-Series "Ghosts in the Hood" Premiering on Thursday, January 5, 2017
The show follows the ghost-hunting team of O.P.O. (Official Paranormal Operations), who go where other ghost hunters typically don't - from the LBC to Altadena - bringing their signature humor along with them.

[10/27/16 - 12:46 PM]
Are You Cameron Ready? Netflix Announces Launch Date for Unscripted Series "Chasing Cameron"
The 10-episode series, which follows digital influencer Cameron Dallas, will launch globally on December 27 at 12:01am PST.

[10/27/16 - 11:54 AM]
Video: "24: Legacy" Trailer Reaches 7.0 Million Views in 24 Hours
The two-night premiere event airs Sunday, February 5, following "Super Bowl LI," and continues Monday, February 6, on FOX.

[10/27/16 - 11:33 AM]
Freeform Serves Up a Fifth Season of Popular Comedy "Young & Hungry"
The new season will kick off production next week and will premiere in 2017.

[10/27/16 - 11:17 AM]
Video: Netflix Debuts Trailer for "Dana Carvey: Straight White Male, 60"
Filmed at the The Wilbur Theatre in Boston, the outrageously funny stand-up special features Carvey's distinctive brand of comedy.

[10/27/16 - 11:10 AM]
Ali Khan's Search for the Best "Cheap Eats" Across the Country Continues on the Series Return on Cooking Channel
Come along and join this budget-conscious culinary tour beginning on Thursday, December 1 at 10:00/9:00c.

[10/27/16 - 11:01 AM]
Pop Orders Second Season of Its Original Scripted Comedy "Nightcap" in Advance of Its Nov. 16 Series Premiere
Pop will premiere with two back-to-back episodes featuring guest stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and Andy Cohen in episode one, and Gwyneth Paltrow, Jim Norton and Nate Berkus in episode two.

[10/27/16 - 10:33 AM]
Bravo Media Greenlights Six New and Returning Series Growing the Network's Robust Slate
The network confirmed new season orders for fan-favorites "Southern Charm" season four as well as "Shahs of Sunset" season six and "Million Dollar Listing New York" season six.

[10/27/16 - 10:31 AM]
"Mommy Dead and Dearest," The Shocking True Crime Story About the Murder of Dee Dee Blanchard and the Disturbing Life of Her Daughter, Gypsy Rose, to Debut in March 2017, Exclusively on HBO
In the film, provocative documentarian Erin Lee Carr again explores a crime in the age of social media.

[10/27/16 - 10:00 AM]
Freeform Celebrates 20 Years of Christmas Cheer with the "25 Days of Christmas" Programming Event Starting Thursday, December 1
This year's merriest programming stunt includes the network television premiere of "Holiday Joy" and the Freeform premieres of "Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups," "Snow Buddies" and "Just Friends."

[10/27/16 - 10:00 AM]
"Bones: The Final Chapter" to Premiere Tuesday, January 3, on FOX
The 12-episode run will celebrate the inventive series and bring the storylines of Brennan (Emily Deschanel), Booth (David Boreanaz) and the Jeffersonian-FBI team to a close, allowing the show's loyal fans to say goodbye to these indelible characters.