[01/13/05 - 12:00 AM]
Sci Fi Channel Announces New Development Deals for Alternative Programming Slate

[via press release from Sci Fi]




NEW YORK - January 13, 2005 - SCI FI today announces a slate of new development projects, and the appointment of Rob Swartz to the position of Vice President, Alternative Programming. Building on the success of hit SCI FI reality series such as "Ghost Hunters" and "Scare Tactics," the network is developing innovative new programs that push the envelope of traditional reality shows. By pioneering bold hybrid programming formats, which yield truly unique adaptations of popular genres, SCI FI adds its own distinctive signature to upcoming series in development.

The channel of "imagination," SCI FI is uniquely positioned to explore and develop creative new programming concepts that will appeal to a broader spectrum of viewers. Swartz's appointment marks SCI FI's interest in developing programming that puts a futuristic spin on the human drama of docu-soaps and competition reality shows as well as animation, specials, and comedy. Swartz joins SCI FI Channel from A. Smith and Company, where he served as Vice President, Development, supervising alternative and scripted programming for broadcast, cable and syndication. He also ran the television division of MXG Media, where he executive produced shows for USA Network and Fox Family Channel. Prior to that he served as Director of Creative Affairs at Disney/Touchstone Television and as Manager of Primetime series at NBC Entertainment.

"Rob brings a wealth of programming experience spanning the entertainment industry, having distinguished himself in Network, Studio and Production management roles. We are fortunate to have an executive with his expertise on board as we build our alternative programming strategy," comments Mark Stern, EVP, Programming, SCI FI Channel.

Greenlit for production:

"Master Blasters"
Imagination literally takes flight with "Master Blasters," the new daredevil stepchild of the reality genre. A high-octane ride into the wild blue yonder, "Master Blasters" pits teams of amateur rocket scientists against each other in a race to design, build and launch some very bizarre things into orbit. From rocket-bolstered La-Z-Boys to fuel injected Mini-Coopers, "one small step for man" becomes one giant leap for mad science! A healthy dose of teamwork, competition, and creativity mixed with jet fuel and a strict defiance of the laws of physics makes for television's most explosive half-hour in this weekly docu-style show produced by First Television.

SCI FI's alternative series new to development include:

Also from First Television is "Gordian," a bizarre futuristic world where humans and robots live side by side in relative disharmony, are plagued by crippling societal ills and behave as badly as the most obnoxiously shallow washed-up actor you've ever met. Such is the twisted and subversively funny world of ex-video jockey Jake Gordian and his merry band of laser-cowboys, robots, animal freaks and talking body parts. This half-hour weekly animation series offers a hilarious look at the world going to hell in a spaceship.

"Mind Game"
A fast-paced, half-hour reality competition series, "Mind Game" is the ultimate brainteaser. Contestants count on their highest powers of observation, recall, judgment and intuition in a breakneck race to collect clues and be the first to claim the grand prize. The Mastermind, a mysterious unseen figure, guides contestants through a series of situations that offer signs to advance them toward to their goal. On the flipside, scenarios can provide damaging misinformation, costing the team valuable time. In the surreal world of the "Mind Game" competing teams learn that there are no coincidences, and that random clues and trivial occurrences can hold important significance - a passing comment from a stranger, a pay phone ringing in the distance, the numbers on a digital clock. This hour-long weekly series is produced by Hallock-Healey Entertainment, creators of SCI FI's smash hit hidden camera prank show "Scare Tactics."

"The Gauntlet"
Life nearly spins out of control for those who walk "The Gauntlet," a fast-paced weekly reality competition that challenges contestants to navigate an elaborate, futuristic maze for a frenzied 24-hour period. With no sunlight, no rest and, seemingly, no way out, "The Gauntlet" is the ultimate test of physical endurance and mental stamina. "The Gauntlet" is produced by Reveille and Hoegl/Singer in association with Princess Productions.

"Dallas in Wonderland"
Series host Dallas Campbell dreams the impossible dream in this uproarious weekly half-hour reality series that dares to go where no man has gone before. Our determined host leaves no stone unturned as he earnestly attempts to succeed at a bizarre set of outrageous, self-inflicted SCI FI challenges. Some challenges seem vaguely possible, others are clearly impractical, and some are downright crazy - but all are ingeniously lofty. From applying to NASA to fulfill his dream of space exploration to hitting up the Raelians for help with some narcissistic cloning, to journeying to the center of the Earth, Dallas' hilarious never-say-die approach to a good challenge will feed the wanderlust in all of us. Executive Produced by R.J. Cutler. Actual Reality Pictures.

"Still In Search Of" (working title)
The hallmark of supernatural investigative reporting gets a mockumentary makeover in this hilarious half-hour docu-spoof from FremantleMedia North America. Series host Jonathan Frankle goes in search of the paranormal on a shoestring budget, but instead finds trouble with his producer and crew. Production chaos and behind-the-scenes dysfunction bleed into each episode - the make-up artist negotiates a raise using a voodoo doll, a Nostradamus prediction about the end of the world causes administrative anarchy and an investigation into a legendary cannibalistic monster degenerates into a "Survivor"-like discussion about who among the crew would be voted onto the menu first.

Previously announced alternative series in development include "Monster Smash," which puts a SCI FI spin on competitive wrestling by introducing fictitious, genetically engineered monsters into the sport best known for brutish excitement and infamous characters, and "Amazing Screw On Head," which chronicles the outrageous adventures of a robot secret agent charged with defending President Lincoln against a band of evil villains. This high-flying animation series is written by Bryan Fuller (award-winning Creator of "Dead Like Me") and Mike Mignola (writer of "Hellboy").

SCI FI Channel is a television network where "what if" is what's on. SCI FI fuels the imagination of viewers with original series and events, blockbuster movies and classic science fiction and fantasy programming, as well as a dynamic Web site (http://www.scifi.com/) and magazine. Launched in 1992, and currently in 84 million homes, SCI FI Channel is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies.

  [january 2005]  


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