Sci-Fi Drama Enlists 'Buck Rogers' Star Gil Gerard as Executive Producer

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Gil Gerard

'2491' uses the late 1970s series as a reference point and aims to recapture the spirit of the show's early episodes.

Former Buck Rogers in the 25th Century star Gil Gerard has come aboard a sci-fi project that wants to recapture the spirit of the late 1970s-early 1980s NBC series.

The actor will be an executive producer and series regular on 2491, a drama from creator Salvatore Verini (FYI's Country Daze). Verini grew up as a fan of the Gerard-led show and says the new project was influenced by it — down to the title, which refers to the year 20th-century astronaut Buck Rogers returned to a future Earth on the series.

Like Buck Rogers, 2491 "will follow an astronaut as he is catapulted into the future and returns to an Earth far different than the one he left behind," Verini said Monday in a statement. “But the protagonist will follow a direction more the way [Gerard] was originally pushing for Buck to go back in the '80s." 

The Buck Rogers title is tied up in a copyright battle involving a question of whether the original source material, a series of stories by Philip Francis Nowlan that began in 1928, is in the public domain. 

Said Gerard, "I hated the second season" of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, which revamped its premise and cast and sent the lead character on an exploratory ship seeking "lost tribes" of humanity, a la its contemporary Battlestar Galactica. "I always wanted Buck to stay on Earth, but we got a new executive producer for season two that had no respect for the audience and the show."

The new project comes from Verini's Jerico Pictures and does not yet have an outlet attached. Gerard is repped by People Store; Verini is repped by Brandon Blake of Blake & Wang.