Hurd On Her Way to Mars

Proving that even a niche cabler can play with the big boys, the Sci Fi Channel has signed top Hollywood producer Gale Anne Hurd to oversee the upcoming six-hour miniseries Red Mars.

“We realized if we are going to maintain a level of quality, we have to work with creatives we respect,” says Bonnie Hammer, Sci Fi’s president. “We’ve proven that we can give them the freedom that is synonymous with Sci Fi and put marketing muscle behind it.”

The series is based on the bestselling novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, a member of NASA’s Mars Committee. Red Mars follows the lives of the first colonists of the planet. Robinson will consult on the series that’s being written by Gregory Widen (Backdraft). The series is scheduled to air in late 2004.

Sci Fi is becoming something of a playground for top talent. Just last month, Bryan Singer and Dean Devlin signed on to executive produce the Bermuda Triangle series Triangle.

And last December, the Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries Taken landed Sci Fi in the top primetime spot among all basic-cable networks for two weeks in a row, averaging nearly 5 million viewers.