Sci Fi unveils 'Battlestar' prequel

5:00 AM PST 03/19/2008 by Paul J. Gough, AP

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'Battlestar' to stick to the small screen

Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" will live on with "Caprica."

At its upfront presentation Tuesday in New York, the cable channel said that it has greenlighted a two-hour back-door pilot for the prequel, which had been in development for two years.

Sci Fi also has given the go-ahead to "True Believer," a two-hour back-door pilot created by Rosario Dawson and David Atchinson -- who co-wrote the comic book series "Occult Crimes Task Force" -- about a comic book enthusiast who hires a former superhero to teach him about crime fighting. It joins "The Stranded," a two-hour pilot of a Sci Fi/Virgin Comics joint venture.

The network also plans an "Alice in Wonderland"-based six-hour miniseries titled "Alice," from RHI Entertainment. A two-hour comedy-drama pilot, "Deputized," follows a man who fights crime around the galaxy after getting super powers.

"Caprica," which is set 50 years before the events in the departing "Battlestar," will begin production in the spring. It hails from the "Battlestar" masterminds Ronald D. Moore and David Eick.

As for "Battlestar," the series' final-season premiere will debut online nine hours before it airs on TV.

Sci Fi's reality slate includes "Estate of Panic," an Endemol USA series about seven people who compete to find millions of dollars at an estate, and Idiot Box Prods.' "Brain Trust," in which a group of geniuses bands together to solve problems. The channel also announced new seasons of "Scare Tactics," now hosted by "30 Rock's" Tracy Morgan; "Mind Control With Derren Brown"; and "Ghost Hunters International." And a May 18 special by NBC News correspondent Lester Holt will feature "Mystery of the Crystal Skulls," about the real-life search for what the latest "Indiana Jones" movie is based upon.

The channel also will expand its digital offerings with a game site launching in mid-April as well as "Battlestar" webisodes and a social game based on the show. An original Web series, "Starcrossed," produced by Universal Media Studios and Jane Loughman and John Lenic, is planned to debut in the fourth quarter.
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