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Steven Spielberg's 'Terra Nova' Is Nothing Like 'Lost,' Producers Insist

Terra Nova
David Strick

PASADENA -- Will Terra Nova, Fox's big-budget Steven Spielberg drama, be another Lost or be doomed to obscurity like so many high-concept, science-fiction series?

Neither, says Alex Graves, one of the executive producers.

"This has nothing to do with Lost, for one major reason," Graves said at the Television Critics Assn. press tour. "It's made for a massively broad audience. [Terra Nova] is for everybody ... from my kids to the gamer to my dad."

The show's producers worked hard to dispel any inclination to pigeonhole Terra Nova as a sci-fi series. The show follows a family as they journey back in time to prehistoric Earth in a daring experiment to save the human race. But when they get to the Cretaceous period, they find the world isn't so hospitable.

The series, which will get a May preview before joining the Fox schedule in the fall, will use CGI dinosaurs and green-screen technology to recreate the prehistoric world.

But it's not a sci-fi show.

"It's really about this frontier family trying to survive," says Brannon Braga, the series' writer/executive producer.

Braga, of course, is a sci-fi superstar, having worked on all three Star Trek series (Voyager, Next Generation and Enterprise). Graves is an executive producer on Fox's Fringe. And Rene Echevarria, also an executive producer on Terra Nova, worked with Braga on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Terra Nova, the most expensive first-year series ever for Fox, is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Chernin Entertainment and DreamWorks Television. Spielberg and Peter Chernin are among the show's executive producers. And while Terra Nova comes with an impressive pedigree, such high-concept shows have lately had trouble sustaining the commitment they require from audiences inundated by entertainment choices.

Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment, Fox Broadcasting, acknowledged the challenges but said the crowded entertainment space almost requires network's to take big swings.

"You're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't," he said. "But this doesn't have as many plates in the air [as Lost]. This is one big buy-in."