'Virtuality' takes off at Fox
EmptyMore pilot season coverage
UPDATED 1:32 p.m. PT April 14, 2008
Fox has given the green light to "Virtuality," a two-hour back-door pilot from "Battlestar Galactica" mastermind Ronald D. Moore.
The sci-fi project, from Universal Media Studios and producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun, is set aboard the Phaeton, Earth's first starship, on a 10-year journey to explore a distant solar system. To help the 12 crew members endure the long trip and keep their minds occupied, NASA equipped the ship with advanced virtual reality modules, allowing them to assume adventurous identities and go to any place they want. The plan works until a mysterious "bug" is found in the system.
"It's very much about what's fantasy and what's reality; what we do to escape our lives and what actually institutes our lives, and are these things very different," UMS president Katherine Pope said.
"Virtuality" is a brainchild of Braun, who shaped the idea with Berman, his producing partner at BermanBraun.
The two approached several writers, including Moore, who sparked to the premise and quickly developed it into what became the concept for "Virtuality." He brought with him "Battlestar" writer-producer Michael Taylor. The two penned the script and are executive producing the project with Berman and Braun. Martin Campbell is in talks to direct.
Under BermanBraun's first-look deal with NBC Universal, "Virtuality" was pitched to UMS and NBC. UMS, which also produces "Battlestar," quickly came on board. After NBC passed on the project, considered to be too sci-fi for the network, it was taken to Fox.
"For all the times we've read that a project has a 'unique point-of-view,' it rarely applies," Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said. "This time it does ... in spades."
The project, slated to begin production in July, reunites Berman with Fox, where she served as entertainment president from 2001-05.
"We are confident that 'Virtuality' is in the right hands" with Fox and UMS, Berman and Braun said.
In addition to "Virtuality," Fox also recently greenlighted "Boldly Going Nowhere," a comedy pilot set on an intergalactic spaceship that chronicles the crew's daily routine.