[06/05/03 - 12:00 AM]
USA to Air Banned Episode of 'Dead Zone'
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- USA plans to air the "banned" episode of its original series "The Dead Zone" as part of the drama's extended season this summer. The episode, "The Hunt," involves Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall) being recruited by a covert branch of the government to track down Osama bin Laden. The cable network originally pulled the installment earlier this year due to its sensitive subject matter. It is not clear if any cuts or edits will be made to the episode when it airs this summer (the exact date is still to be announced).

The news came as part of press release issued by the network:

"The Dead Zone," the hit series starring Anthony Michael Hall ("61*," "The Pirates of Silicon Valley," "Sixteen Candles"), kicks off an exciting summer run on USA Network Sunday, July 6 at 10:00 PM ET/PT as season two expands to include seven new episodes. Based on characters from the Stephen King novel, "The Dead Zone" is produced by Lions Gate Television and Paramount International Television in association with Piller(2) and The Segan Company. The series was created for television by acclaimed writer-executive producer Michael Piller ("Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Star Trek: Voyager") and his son, supervising producer Shawn Piller.

The series stars Hall as Johnny Smith, a man injured in a near-fatal car crash who emerges from a six-year-long coma with the blessing and curse of second sight. His startling psychic abilities allow him to see into the past and future through visions triggered by touch - visions he is unable toignore, especially when others are at risk.

In the first of this summer's gripping new adventures, Johnny is caught in a deadly storm and forced to come to terms with his own destiny in order to save those he loves. As the summer unfolds, Johnny races to solve a medical mystery to save the life of his son, J.J. (Spencer Achtymichuk); meets a beautiful woman in danger and must consider the potentially dire consequences of his choices; fights to save himself, Walt (Chris Bruno), Sarah (Nicole deBoer) and J.J. when they are taken hostage by thieves; struggles to stop a boxing match after foreseeing the death of one of the heavyweight contenders; sets out to discover the secret of a mysterious man who appears to be stalking him; and is recruited by a covert branch of U.S. intelligence to track down the world's most wanted terrorist.

Executive produced by Michael Piller and Lloyd Segan ("The Bachelor," "Boondock Saints," "Bones"), "The Dead Zone" also stars Nicole deBoer ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Rated X") as Sarah Bannerman, Johnny's former fiancee, who is now married to the county sheriff and raising the son she conceived with Johnny on the eve of his tragic accident; Chris Bruno ("All My Children," "Another World") as Walt Bannerman, Sarah's devoted husband and a dedicated cop, who continues to develop what began as an uneasy alliance with Johnny through their work together in solving cases; John L. Adams ("The Parenthood," "Pacific Blue") as Bruce Lewis, Johnny's physical therapist and close friend; Kristen Dalton ("Gleason," "Beverly Hills 90210") as Dana Bright, a local reporter with more than a professional interest in Johnny; David Ogden Stiers ("Curse of the Jade Scorpion," "Lilo & Stitch") as Reverend Gene Purdy, an ambitious televangelist who inherited a fortune from Johnny's late motherand still controls Johnny's trust; and Sean Patrick Flanery ("The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Powder") as Greg Stillson, a polished but ruthless young congressional candidate backed by Reverend Purdy.

In their brief initial encounters, Johnny sees glimpses of Stillson's unsavory past and is plagued by visions of a future disaster that destroys the nation's capital.

"The Dead Zone" is backed by an outstanding production team headed by executive producers Piller and Segan, and co-executive producer Karl Schaefer ("Strange Luck," "Eerie, Indiana") who recently joined the series for its upcoming summer run. Anthony Michael Hall is co-producer. Shawn Piller ("Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Voyager") and Craig Silverstein ("The Invisible Man") are supervising producers; Robert Petrovicz (The Outer Limits, Smallville) and Michael Taylor ("Star Trek: Voyager," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") are producers; Kira Domaschuk ("Higher Ground," "Mysterious Ways") is co-producer; and Harold Tichenor ("Marine Life," "Children of the Dust," "Higher Ground") is consulting producer. The series' visual effects are produced by Stargate Digital Studios.

  [june 2003]  

· 61* (HBO)

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