DISH: BATTLESTAR RE-IGNITING
Singer spaced out; scribe rewrites history
By MICHAEL FLEMING
NEW YORK -- After transforming X-Men into a hit (headed for a sequel with him
at the helm), director Bryan Singer will steer a relaunch of the cult series Battlestar
Singer has made a deal with Studios USA to reinvent the series and exec produce it with Tom DeSanto, and hell direct the pilot if it doesnt clash with the X-Men 2 shooting schedule.
The studio is finalizing deals with show runners, and will shop to networks shortly.
Hatched in the wake of Star Wars, the Glen Larson-created Battlestar Galactica premiered on ABC in 1978 and ran two seasons, starring Lorne Greene as the commander of the title vessel.
Despite its brief run, the series has attracted a cult following.
The lesson I learned on X-Men is to have a healthy respect for the fan base of sci-fi fantasy franchises, and Im confident that the Galactica brand is a sleeping giant, said Singer. It was a show I watched during its initial run, from the pilot to the final episode. The essence and the brand name is quite potent in a climate where theres a great deficit of scifi programming.
The original series was produced by Universal Television and the assets were inherited by Studios USA when Barry Diller took the helm. While USA Television Production Group president David Kissinger got frequent e-mails from fans, he never considered revisiting the turf until Singers direct approach.
I never dreamed a filmmaker of Bryans stature would be enough of a hardcore fan that he saw this as a franchise that could be reinvented, said Kissinger. In the initial meeting, I was wary that he might be just another feature guy looking to slap his name on a TV project, but it was immediately clear this wasnt so. Hes got a whole mythology and arc for the series already worked out.
At $1 million per episode, the original was the highest budgeted drama of its time. A cutting edge reinvention will be pricier, but Kissinger was confident the revenue would be there. Well shop it right away with the goal of having it in a prime time slot on a network, but its possible that we might be able to do a dual window scenario with the SciFi Channel, said Kissinger. With Bryans vision and a brand name which has international appeal, were optimistic well be able to make it on the grand scale he imagines. The visual imagery hes talking about is unprecedented in its effects and scope.
The shows being packaged by WMA, which teamed with lawyer David Feldman to make Singers deal. The drama will be shepherded by USA senior veep of drama programming Dan Pasternack, with creator Larson also aboard.
Singer unexpectedly has time to immerse himself in Galactica, as the film he planned to direct, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind has been pushed back post-strike. Singer plans to spend the next few months in full scifi mode, having just signed his X-Men 2 deal. He hopes to have that Fox film ready for a possible holiday 2002 bow.
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