Sci Fi on a new venture

Network announces new series, business plans

Sci Fi has expanded and reorganized its wide-ranging businesses under a new umbrella, Sci Fi Ventures, it said Sunday at the TCA press tour.

Sci Fi Ventures will drive maximum value from the unique relationship between the cable network and its audience, said Dave Howe, Sci Fi president. "Sci Fi has the power and the imagination to reach beyond the television screen to become a total global lifestyle brand."

In addition to the cable channel, Sci Fi Ventures is to include Sci Fi Media (, Dvice and Fidgit and a new theatrical film banner, Sci Fi Films); Sci Fi Games (a partnership with Trion Worldwide and an equity stake in BigPoint Games); Sci Fi Gear (licensed product lines); Sci Fi Publishing (Sci Fi/Virgin Comics); and Sci Fi Kids (fantasy and imaginative products for youngsters).

In addition, Sci Fi announced it will move ahead with three new series:

-- "Cash or Capture," a reality competition based on a Japanese show in which the contestant is chased by hunters. Six one-hour episodes from Buena Vista Productions and Fujisankei Communications International, starting in November.

-- "Estate of Panic," a physical and psychological competition with contestants enduring terror in a mansion. Six one-hour episodes from Endemol USA exec produced by Richard Hall, starting in November.

-- "Outer Space Astronauts," a comic combination of live action, 3D and 2D involving an inept crew in space. Five 30-minute episodes exec produced by Russell Barrett, Scott Puckett and David O. Russell.

New scripted series in development include a Bryan Singer miniseries project, an action-adventure miniseries, and "What If?" a one-hour pilot in which a near-collision with a comet triggers a new ice age. New alternative series are "Soul Evidence," in which medium Allison Dubois leads a team of crime-solving psychics; "Danger Game," a look at an organization that creates alternative reality experiences; "Relic Quest," a search for artifacts around the world; and "Escape," in which three contestants try to find their way out of a locked room.

Meanwhile, Sci Fi will boost the number of original movies in 2009 by 50%. Next year, the network will show 36 new movies, 12 more than in 2008. Stars include Peta Wilson, Rick Schroeder, Shannen Doherty, Greg Evigan and Adrian Paul.