Monday meant a plethora of announcements from the Sci Fi Channel, including new programming on TV and on the Internet, and a new Sci Fi Ventures portfolio.
Sci Fi Channel greenlit three original series at the Television Critics' Association Press Tour on Monday:
CASH OR CAPTURE (working title) (Six 1-Hour Episodes; Premieres November 2008) Cash or Capture is an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat reality competition show that pits a group of contestants against each other in the quest for a cash prize, while being stalked by relentless "hunters." Based on a successful Japanese format from Fuji Television, the action takes place over 60 minutes of real time in various landmark locations. As the clock winds down, the competition gets harder as more hunters appear on the streets, the game perimeter gets smaller, and tasks are assigned that test fraying nerves. Contestants earn money for every second they "stay alive," but if they are overrun by a hunter they lose everything. When only minutes remain in the game a final clue to the game's exit point is revealed, and the first contestant to make it to that spot wins the prize. Rick Telles serves as executive producer. CASH OR CAPTURE is exec produced by Disney's Buena Vista Productions and Fujisankei Communications International.
ESTATE OF PANIC (Six 1-Hour Episodes Premieres November 2008) From the producers of Fear Factor comes the most physically and psychologically challenging competition yet - Estate Of Panic. In each episode, large quantities of cash are hidden in a massive estate and seven strangers are invited to find the money. But all is not what it seems, and the contestants will be challenged throughout the mansion to overcome the terrors that await them. After each of the three challenges, two people are eliminated and their winnings are added into the prize pot. The last person standing walks away with everyone's found money. Estate Of Panic is executive produced by Endemol USA. David Goldberg is the President of Endemol USA. The Exec producer is Richard Hall.
OUTER SPACE ASTRONAUTS (working title) (Five 30-Minute Episodes) In the future, many courageous souls journey to the far reaches of the galaxy, seeking knowledge, adventure, and the thrill of exploration. They are integral to the survival of the human race and truly have 'the right stuff.' The rest are the Outer Space Astronauts. The slovenly Captain Ripley commands the "space-ially" challenged crew of the O.S.S. Oklahoma as they go about their daily routine of... working in space. The show, created by Russell Barrett, is a combination of live action, 3D and 2D animation. Executive Producers are Barrett, Scott Puckett and David O. Russell (THREE KINGS).
Sci Fi also unveiled a slate of innovative new projects in development, including an original miniseries in development with Bryan Singer.
BRYAN SINGER MINISERIES PROJECT (scripted): Sci Fi re-teams with Bryan Singer and his Bad Hat Harry Productions banner to develop an all-new, action adventure miniseries based on an original idea of Singer's. The project will be written by Richard C. Matheson (MASTERS OF HORROR, NIGHTMARES AND DREAMSCAPES). Watch this space for more details. Singer is Exec Producing.
WHAT IF? (1-Hour Scripted Pilot): In the pilot episode of What If?, a near collision with a comet triggers the on-set of Earth's second ice age. The life-changing global event unfolds in a hybrid of mixed media. 'Eyewitnesses' use cell phones, digital video cameras, PDA's and other communication devices to capture and share the cataclysmic event going on around them. In doc-like style, the program will attempt to be as scientifically accurate as possible on how such an Earth shattering natural disaster would actually play out around us while telling a dramatic narrative of how it will affect people's lives. The show is produced by NBC Peacock Productions.
SOUL EVIDENCE (working title): Real life inspiration for NBC's MEDIUM, Allison Dubois leads a team of psychics, scientists and investigators to solve real-life cold case murders. The project is from Red 23 Ent. and is exec produced by Sam Korkis, Mark Ganshirt and Garry Hart. Dubois also serves as exec producer.
DANGER GAME: This alternative series takes viewers behind the scenes at a secretive organization known as Modern Reality Adventures (MRA) that creates alternate reality experiences for select clients. Each episode of DANGER GAME follows MRA as they construct their unnervingly convincing scenarios within the everyday life of one unaware client until a highly choreographed final interface brings the client to the apex of the game. Produced by Superfine Films.
RELIC QUEST (working title): An action and adventure series that goes in search of some of the greatest relics in history from around the globe. Producer/Director Bruce Burgess guides the viewer in a first-hand exploration down mysterious roads to uncover artifacts fabled to hold hidden powers and mystical significance for both ancient and modern cultures. Produced by Bluebook Films.
ESCAPE: Three contestants locked in a room must endure a series of physical challenges, decipher riddles and break codes in order to escape. As the time clock ticks, their prize money decreases and their anxiety builds while three contestants locked in an identical room also race to find their own way out. Produced by Emmy-nominated Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves with Riaz Patel.
In another announcement Monday, Sci Fi has formed Sci Fi Ventures, a new portfolio of media and non-media businesses, which transcend the television screen and leverage the deep affinity the Sci Fi audience has with the most mainstream and profitable genre worldwide.
In addition to the top-10 ranked Sci Fi Channel, Sci Fi Media also includes the category-killing SCIFI.com, the world's #1 genre Web destination. Recent digital expansions include DVICE, the website for the technology obsessed, and Fidgit, the consumer entertainment general game site. Sci Fi Media's portfolio will continue to grow and expand with a new stand-alone Website focused on the latest entertainment news and reviews, and the development of a theatrical film banner, Sci Fi Films.
The popularity of sci-fi/fantasy genre based titles and passion Sci Fi fans have for video games make Sci Fi Games a natural component of the Sci Fi Ventures portfolio. Sci Fi recently announced a groundbreaking partnership with Trion Worldwide to co-develop and simultaneously launch a global TV and MMOG (Massively Multi-Player Online Game) experience. This effort represents the next evolution in deeply immersive dynamic MMOGs and will allow Sci Fi's audience to actually "play out" the story they will be seeing on television inside a video game. Additionally, NBC Universal recently acquired an equity stake in BigPoint, market leader in browser based multiplayer online games, through its Peacock Equity Fund. BigPoint Games will be hosted on SCIFI.com along with a range of more casual games based on Sci Fi Channel shows.
Working with licensing agency BrandSense, Sci Fi Ventures will develop, produce and market licensed product lines for SCI FI's passionate consumer base in retail and on-line. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Brand Sense Partners, was founded by Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR. Their high profile clients include Britney Spears, Halle Berry, and Magic Johnson Enterprises.
With new comic book titles serving as the creative genesis, Sci Fi/Virgin Comics are developing fresh properties that integrate the unique spirit and vitality of both brands. Delivering innovative, multi-platform projects, original concepts are being considered across all mediums from publishing, film and television to digital and gaming.
For many consumers, the passion for the science fiction and fantasy genre starts when they are very young. Accordingly, Sci Fi plans to expand the brand by launching a kid's division to serve the all-important youth market of 2-17 year olds. This business will be analog and digital with physical product extensions to create an immersive world within which young consumers can stimulate their imaginations with fantastical worlds and stories.
For the Internet side of life, SciFi.com also announced their slate of original programming on Monday.
SciFi.com's heavily trafficked entertainment news section SCI FI WIRE will be re-launched and expanded as a stand-alone site in Q4 2008, joining a digital portfolio that already includes SciFi.com, the technology site DVICE.COM and the game site Fidget.com. With expanded coverage as part of the site's growth into the entertainment space, viewers will be able to check out the latest happenings in the entertainment world featuring daily updates on movies, TV shows, games, books and more.
SCI FI WIRE video reports are some of the most viewed original content on the site with celebrity interviews with Steven Spielberg, Tobey Maguire, Robert Downey Jr., Keira Knightley and other favorite Hollywood stars. SCI FI Wire recently had its best month every with nearly one million unique visitors.
This fall, SciFi.com will launch the first-ever GHOST HUNTERS social network, Join the Hunt. Whether you're a seasoned investigator or a novice setting out on your first hunt, this network will serve as the ultimate place to connect with ghost hunting fans everywhere and learn about ghost hunting techniques. Features will include the "haunted or not?" evidence analysis (where users can rate each others' photographic evidence to determine its validity), resources and tutorials on how to plan the perfect investigation and a community where users can share their favorite ghost stories, show off their ghost hunting gear and more.
With the fourth and final season of Sci Fi's award-winning series coming to a close, fans can rejoice with BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Webisodes returning in the weeks leading up to the final 10 episodes. SciFi.com and Universal Cable Production will produce ten 2-3 minute serialized webisode chapters that complement and enhance the action broadcast on Sci Fi. The storyline will give viewers more insight into characters and events from the fourth season.
For viewers who need to know what's next in the world of technology, Sci Fi will air a half-hour TV special based on the broadband series DVICE TV. DVICE TV is the video version of Sci Fi's popular technology site DVICE.COM, which highlights new technonogy that SciFi.com's young, affluent audience needs to know about. Hosted by Vanessa Rae, the DVICE TV special will feature the best-of gadgets from DVICE TV Online, from hot new technology to crazy inventions. The special will air in Q4.