Spielberg, The Thing to Materialize on Sci-Fi

The Sci Fi Channel is currently in negotiation with Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks TV and the folks behind last December’s hit miniseries Taken to develop a new epic fantasy slated for the 2004-05 season. “I look on it as a three-part franchise, similar to Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter movies,” said the cable channel’s president Bonnie Hammer at the cabler’s spring unfront presentation. She noted that the network would spend more than $200 million on both original and acquired fare in 2003.

Among Sci Fi’s upcoming miniseries are 6 Days ‘Til Sunday, a six-hour thriller about a man who tries to rewrite the future after discovering that he’ll be murdered in six days, and The Thing, a remake of the popular science fiction franchise. This new four-hour version will rely heavily on special effects and will tell the conflict between scientists in Antarctica and their battle with a human-like alien.

Other original series include Dead Lawyers, about corrupt lawyers having to pay for their crimes after death; The Divide, focusing on a crimefighting team made of a psychic deejay, his dead twin sister and a local coroner; Legion, a drama about a young man who sells his soul to the devil, and Stargate: Atlantis, a spin-off of the hit show Stargate: SG-1

The Sci Fi Channel has been on a ratings roll of late, coming off another record-breaking primetime quarter, its second in a row. The cable channel has increased its ratings in each of the last 11 months.