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Singer spaced out; scribe rewrites history


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 Galactica.
spacer.gif (836 bytes)Singer has made a deal with Studios USA to reinvent the series and exec produce it with Tom DeSanto, and he’ll direct the pilot if it doesn’t clash with the X-Men 2 shooting schedule.
spacer.gif (836 bytes)The studio is finalizing deals with show runners, and will shop to networks shortly.
spacer.gif (836 bytes)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.
spacer.gif (836 bytes)Despite its brief run, the series has attracted a cult following.
spacer.gif (836 bytes)“The lesson I learned on X-Men is to have a healthy respect for the fan base of sci-fi fantasy franchises, and I’m 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 there’s a great deficit of scifi programming.”
spacer.gif (836 bytes)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 Singer’s direct approach.
spacer.gif (836 bytes)“I never dreamed a filmmaker of Bryan’s 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 wasn’t so. He’s got a whole mythology and arc for the series already worked out.”
spacer.gif (836 bytes)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. “We’ll shop it right away with the goal of having it in a prime time slot on a network, but it’s possible that we might be able to do a dual window scenario with the SciFi Channel,” said Kissinger. “With Bryan’s vision and a brand name which has international appeal, we’re optimistic we’ll be able to make it on the grand scale he imagines. The visual imagery he’s talking about is unprecedented in its effects and scope.”
spacer.gif (836 bytes)The show’s being packaged by WMA, which teamed with lawyer David Feldman to make Singer’s deal. The drama will be shepherded by USA senior veep of drama programming Dan Pasternack, with creator Larson also aboard.
spacer.gif (836 bytes)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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