NBCUniversal’s newly named streaming service, Peacock, is revisiting Battlestar Galactica with a new, straight-to-series take from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, set as part of its initial content lineup. Peacock will also be the streaming home for Ron Moore’s Syfy take on Battlestar Galactica.
Details about the new take on the beloved drama are being kept under wraps, though sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that it will be an updated, more modern look at the world as told through the lens of the sci-fi favorite. The updated Battlestar Galactica, sources say, will be inspired by Syfy’s 2004 series, developed by Ron Moore, and not based on the 1978 original from creator Glen A. Larson.
Esmail is attached to executive produce. A writer has not yet been hired. The drama hails from Universal Content Productions, where Esmail remains under an overall deal. UCP produced the original series. Esmail’s manager, Chad Hamilton at Anonymous Content, will also exec produce.
Larson’s original BSG, starring Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict, ran for one season in the late ’70s before being canceled. A fan campaign led to a 10-episode revival, Galactica 1980.
Moore’s BSG, meanwhile, started as a re-imagining of the original series and originally aired as a three-hour miniseries in December 2003 on Syfy. The pilot proved so successful that Syfy launched it into a weekly series starring Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, James Callis, Tricia Helfer and Grace Park. Moore’s BSG ran for four seasons and remains a critical favorite. It spawned two spin-offs, the one-season run Caprica and web series turned TV movie Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.
For Esmail’s part, the showrunner renewed his overall deal with UCP in February after being among the more highly pursued writer-exec producers. Sources say he was close to a deal with Amazon when UCP stepped up with a rich counteroffer to keep him in the fold, with the goal of having him be a central contributor to the streamer. BSG comes as the show that put Esmail on the map, USA Network’s Mr. Robot, wraps its run this year with its fourth and final season. He is also exec producing USA’s Briarpatch, starring Rosario Dawson, and Amazon’s Homecoming.
BSG will be Esmail’s second show for NBC’s streamer, joining Angelyne, the limited series starring his wife, Emmy Rossum, and based on a Hollywood Reporter feature. He’s also adapting Fritz Lang’s seminal 1927 sci-fi classic Metropolis as part of his overall deal.
Speaking at San Diego Comic-Con in 2017, where the show’s cast reunited for the show’s 25th anniversary, Moore noted the show — which he created in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks — would be “fundamentally different.” “We wrote the show and made it at a very specific time in the country’s history. We were reflecting what was going on through a science-fiction prism,” Moore said at the time, adding that a reboot would need to take an approach that isn’t “obvious,” one that finds empathy for things that seem unworthy of it.
BSG is part of the initial originals programming slate for Peacock. That includes a Saved by the Bell sequel, new series from the likes of Mike Schur (The Good Place) and a number of dramas. (Click here for the full slate of originals.) Reboots remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets alike look for proven intellectual property in a bid to help cut through a cluttered scripted landscape expected to top 500 originals this year. Key to them is having the original producers involved, which BSG has, since its original studio is also on board. Both Saved by the Bell and BSG arrive as NBC’s streaming service is looking to its deep bench of IP to provide a roster of must-see originals for the upstart platform.
Launching in the spring, with originals joining in the summer, NBC’s streaming offering is one of multiple new platforms to launch in the coming months. It joins Disney+, HBO Max and Apple, among others. BSG is but one of the many announcements NBC’s streamer made Tuesday as details of its lineup of originals, acquired programming (including The Office) begins to come into focus.