Syfy Upfronts: Several Original Scifi Scripted Series in the works
SYFY UNVEILS NEW QUARTERLY MULTIMEDIA EVENTS RINGWORLD, HELIX, DOMINION, UNBREAKABLE AND OPPOSITE WORLDS OSCAR-WINNER JAMIE FOXX TO EXECUTIVE PRODUCE, WRITE AND DIRECT HORROR ANTHOLOGY SERIES UPCOMING REALITY SERIES JOE ROGAN QUESTIONS EVERYTHING, COSWORLD AND FANDEMONIUM
NEW YORK – April 10, 2013 – Syfy and Chiller President Dave Howe today unleashed the imagination of the advertising community by announcing an original programming slate featuring Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx (Ray, Django Unchained) executive producing, writing and directing a horror anthology series, a trio of new reality series – Joe Rogan Questions Everything, Cosworld and Fandemonium – and 19 scripted and reality development projects, including The Jim Henson Creature Shop, a creature competition program.
Howe further announced a groundbreaking strategy of major quarterly multiscreen events showcasing new high concept programs, including Ringworld, a miniseries based on Larry Niven’s classic novel; Helix, an epic thriller from Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore; the scripted series Dominion (working title) from Sons of Anarchy writer Vaun Wilmott; Opposite Worlds, a real life Hunger Games-type competition, and Unbreakable, an unscripted program testing contestants through mental and physical extremes.
In making the announcement, Howe said: “This upfront season, we’re embarking on a bold and ambitious new programming strategy that further reinforces Syfy as the premier destination for high-concept, boundary pushing entertainment experiences. Building on the transmedia sensation Defiance, Syfy will create and deliver buzzy and highly social event programming every quarter that will stand out in the marketplace. These interactive tent-poles embrace the second screen experience our unique and valuable Igniter viewers now expect, and deliver greater and deeper partnership opportunities for our advertisers’ brands. Going forward Syfy is committed to delivering innovation through smart, upscale, aspirational original content, backed up by the scale and gender balance of a top 10 network.”
Bolstering its powerhouse scripted programming lineup, Syfy announced that the five-episode series from Jamie Foxx will join Defiance, Warehouse 13, Being Human, Haven and the upcoming Helix from Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica). Syfy will also begin production on the pilot of High Moon, from Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies), based on John Christopher’s best-selling novel The Lotus Cave.
Said Mark Stern, President, President, Original Content, Syfy, and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions: “By shattering the boundaries of conventional storytelling, Syfy has become synonymous with provocative, quality television. Each year, the bar for success is raised by the expectations of our audience – and ourselves. We’re always reaching for greater imaginative heights. These new creative alliances, with this illustrious roster of award-winning talent, underscores Syfy’s commitment to bringing our viewers the very finest programming.”
New original scripted development projects – including 8 from Universal Cable Productions — will include No Place from Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future), Clandestine from Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) and Sojourn from Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity). These will expand the existing development slate highlighted by Proof, produced by M. Night Shyamalan (After Earth), the British cult favorite Blake’s 7, directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), and Dominion from Defiance director Scott Stewart and writer Vaun Wilmott (Sons of Anarchy).
From MGM Television and Universal Cable Productions (UCP), Syfy announced that it is developing miniseries based on Larry Niven’s award-winning novel Ringworld, as well as Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, from executive producer Michael DeLuca (The Social Network) and UCP.
Previously, Syfy announced it is developing Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions, writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz, Headline Pictures and FremantleMedia International; Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon, from UCP and Ostar Productions, and Darkfall, from UCP and Jim Henson Productions, as long form productions.
Building on Syfy’s hit reality programming like Face Off and Ghost Hunters, new unscripted series will range from Fandemonium, a dizzying ride into the fan girl and fan boy cultures, Cosworld, which follows the country’s hottest cosworld players, and Joe Rogan Questions Everything, an investigative series hosted by Joe Rogan (Fear Factor).
Among the unscripted shows in development is a paranormal project with Meat Loaf; The Jim Henson Creature Shop, a creature competition program from Jim Henson Studios; Unbreakable, based on The Death Race, an extreme endurance race held annually in Vermont, along with current reality pilots such as Opposite Worlds, in which twenty people live in two distinctly different worlds – the Past and the Future.
Syfy further announced that upcoming second screen initiatives will be included in Helix, where viewers can use Syfy Sync to gain real-time access to the research lab depicted in the series through a two screen experience called “Access Granted”; for Unbreakable, viewers will be able to Skype with contestants via a Facebook App to predict who’ll win each week’s challenges; Google Plus Hangout Chats with the cast of Fandemonium; the Cosworld cast vlogging to share fantasy secrets with fans, and viewers will have the ability to select alternate endings for Jamie Foxx’s horror anthology series.
In delivering valuable viewers to its programming, Syfy’s Igniters drive consumer behavior and new products through social media. Compared to viewers of the top 10 cable networks*, Igniters are:
* 62% more likely to be “Super Influential” video game consumers
* 40% more likely to have friends ask their advice before buying electronics
* 32% more likely to keep up with the latest advances in auto technology
* 32% more likely to have people copy what they do/wear
* 24% more likely to have family/friends ask for and trust their advice on soft drinks
* 16% more likely to recommend vacation travel to people
* 14% more likely to see movies opening weekend
*based on Simmons/MRI data
A global brand, Syfy is currently available in 60 countries, reaching nearly 145 million households.
NEW REALITY SERIES
Joe Rogan Questions Everything (working title) – Premieres Tuesday, July 16 at 9PM — Life-long unexplained paranormal mystery-addict Joe Rogan ventures into unknown worlds and untapped territories to search for answers to life’s most startling theories. Having explored these questions for years on his podcast, Joe now takes his journey to the next level, traveling the country and knocking on any door necessary to find the truth. In his own unique and inquisitive style, Joe will stop at nothing to quench his curiosity for the unknown. Production company: A. Smith & Co. Executive producers: Arthur Smith, Joe Rogan, Kent Weed, Frank Sinton, Michael Braverman, Tod Mesirow, Barry Bloom, Jeff Sussman and Chandra Keyes.
Cosworld (working title) – Premieres Tuesday, August 27 at 10PM— Cosworld is a tantalizing six-episode docuseries that lifts the veil on the imaginative world of cosplay competition. The series follows some of the hottest cosplay stars as they make a splash at comic book conventions around the country. The show dives deep into their lives, following their process as they create extravagant and visually arresting costumes each week. These individuals will constantly defy odds and race against the clock to transform themselves into amazing fictional characters that push the boundaries between fantasy and reality, all in hopes of impressing the convention judges to win a cash prize and the chance to become a cosplay legend. Production company: 51 Minds, an Endemol Company. Executive producers: Mark Cronin, Courtland Cox and Dave Caplan.
Fandemonium (working title) – Premieres Fall 2013 — From the producer of Jersey Shore comes Fandemonium – a six-part docuseries that celebrates the incredibly unique, often misunderstood, and infinitely fascinating fan girl and fan boy culture. Living together in an LA apartment complex, a tight-knit group of pop culture-obsessed fans continue to find their place in the world and flourish, thanks to their passions and personalities. Whether it’s being first in line for the latest blockbuster, making a lasting impression upon getting the chance to meet their heroes, or just figuring out how to balance their passions with making a living – when these friends get together, it’s flat out Fandemonium. Production company: 495 Productions. Executive producer: SallyAnn Salsano.
NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
Untitled Jamie Foxx Project (five episodes) – Premieres October — Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx will executive produce, write and direct this half-hour, horror anthology — in the vein of Tales from the Crypt/The Twilight Zone – which tells creepy morality tales addressing themes such as envy, jealousy and superficiality. Troy Miller (Flight of the Conchords, Brand X) will serve as executive producer through his production company Dakota Pictures. Writers on the project include Foxx, Mike Ferris (Terminator: Salvation) and John Pogue (Army Wives, Everwood). Writer Jeff Stilson, Jaime King and Julie Yorn will also serve as executive producers. Studio: Universal Cable Productions.
Helix — A team of scientists investigate a possible disease outbreak in an Arctic research facility and find themselves trying to protect the world from annihilation. Co-executive producer & writer: Cameron Porsandeh. Executive producers: Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Steven Maeda (Lost, CSI: Miami), Lynda Obst (Contact). Production company: Lynda Obst Pictures & Tall Ship Productions. Studio: Sony Pictures Television.
NEW SCRIPTED PILOTS
High Moon — High Moon is an imaginative, out-of-this-world series exploring what happens when the countries of Earth establish colonies to mine the Moon’s resources and discover a new form of life. Chaos erupts in a genuinely emotional, humorously thrilling and always unexpected fashion as the people of the Moon race to uncover this life form’s powerful secrets. Co-executive producer/writer: Jim Danger Gray (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal). Executive producer/writer: Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies). The pilot is written by Gray from a story by Fuller and Gray. Executive producers: Cary Granat & Steve Granat of Reel FX and Don Murphy & Susan Montford of Angry Films (Real Steel, Transformers). Studio: UCP.
NEW LONG FORM DEVELOPMENT
Ringworld — In Ringworld, based on the Hugo Award-winning novel by Larry Niven, a hastily-assembled team of explorers travels to the farthest reaches of space to investigate a mind-blowing alien artifact called Ringworld – an artificial habitat the size of one million Earths. As they crash land on this enormous structure, they discover the remnants of ancient civilizations, technology beyond their wildest dreams, mysteries that shed light on the very origins of man and, most importantly, a possible salvation for a doomed Earth. Adapted by writer Michael Perry (The River, Paranormal Activity 2), Ringworld is being developed as a four-hour mini-series Syfy event. The project is a co-production of MGM Television and Universal Cable Productions (UCP), with MGM as the lead studio. Executive producers are William S. Todman and Edward Milstein.
Childhood’s End — Based on the Arthur C. Clarke novel, the story follows a peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war and turns the planet into a near-utopia. Childhood’s End will be executive produced by Michael DeLuca (The Social Network) with Universal Cable Productions serving as the studio.
NEW SCRIPTED SERIES DEVELOPMENT
No Place — The residents of a high-tech gated community arise one day to find themselves cut off from the rest of reality. Outside the walls of Paradise Hill is…nothing. Now the neighborhood must figure out how to survive as resources dwindle and tensions rise. Writers: John Brancato & Mike Ferris (Terminator Salvation, The Game). Executive producers: Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Brancato and Ferris. Circle of Confusion will also produce the project with David Alpert (The Walking Dead) and Rick Jacobs as executive producers. Matt Hawkins and Marc Silvestri serve as executive producers for Top Cow. Studio: Fox Television Studios.
Dominion (working title) – In this series (formerly called Legion), 20 years after evil angels descended from heaven to lay waste to the human souls they felt God had favored over them, a reluctant “savior” must arise to protect Vega, the last remaining stronghold of humanity. The savior has more to fear than just angels, as the elites of this new society conspire to gain power for themselves. Writer/CO-EP: Vaun Wilmott (Sons of Anarchy). Director/EP: Scott Stewart (Defiance). EP: David Lancaster. Studio: Sony Pictures Television. Based on the feature film “Legion’” produced by Bold Films.
Orion –In this space opera Orion, an adventurous female relic hunter, tracks down valuable artifacts while trying to piece together her past. Set amidst an intergalactic war pitting humans against a terrifying alien race, Orion must decide whether to use her abilities to save herself or commit to the cause and unearth long hidden artifacts that could free all of humanity from a horrible fate. Executive producers/writers: Ron Milbauer & Terri Hughes Burton (Alphas). Co-executive producers: George Krstic & Ryuhei Kitamura. Supervising producer: F.J. Desanto. Studio: UCP.
Sojourn — The first detective ever in space is tasked with investigating a murder on a starship — headed to colonize another planet – and instead becomes embroiled in a vast conspiracy involving a mysterious terrible crime dating back to the original launch of the ship 50 years ago. Writer: Phil Levens (Smallville). Producer: Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity). Studio: Lionsgate.
Clandestine – After a clan of bandits are nearly destroyed and left for dead by Coalition forces, they take refuge in the nearest safe haven, a derelict Coalition starship floating in space. Once onboard, they masquerade as Coalition officers while continuing their criminal ways – until they stumble upon a shocking realization about the true nature of the Coalition. Writers: Todd Stashwick & Dennis Calero. Executive producers: Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) and John Shiban (Hell on Wheels). Studio: UCP.
Infinity — When an alien armada is sighted in the region of Pluto, the Earth government turns to a young billionaire industrialist — who has the only ship ready for interstellar travel — to greet the aliens and avoid a catastrophe. Powered by secret alien technology discovered on Earth in the 1960’s, the ship engages in a firefight that sends them spinning through a wormhole into an uncharted region of space. Lost in the universe, the team struggles to survive as they encounter new planets and alien species, searching for a way back home. Writer: Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost). Producer: Berman/Braun Television. Studio: Universal Television.
Silver Shields — When his father is slain by assassins connected to the government of the large nearby city of Pont Royal, farm boy Caymer journeys there to continue his father’s legacy as a member of the local police force — and to solve the mystery of his father’s death. He discovers that his simple country view on life is at odds with the big city, filled with orcs and other magical creatures. Executive producer/writer: Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Alphas). Producer: Aaron Kaplan. Studio: UCP.
Shelter – A massive meteorite is headed toward Earth, forcing 30,000 hand-picked humans to live underground in a government funded shelter in order to start a new society. What begins as a Utopia quickly succumbs to the old human faults and jealousies as certain members of society create alliances to gain favor and power. Meanwhile things on the surface are not what they seem. Humans slowly realize that this event may have been fated and the survivors meant for a greater purpose in rebooting life on Earth. Executive producer/writer: Bruce Joel Rubin (Deep Impact) and co-executive producer/writer Ari Rubin. Studio: UCP.
Untitled Alfonso Moreno Project — After a meteorite strikes a plane, the only two survivors find themselves sleepwalking and waking up with no memory of their actions. On the run from the government, they must figure out what happened to them and prove their innocence. Executive producers: Alfonso Moreno (NCIS) & Ross Fineman (Lights Out). Studio: Fox Television Studios.
LONG FORM SCRIPTED DEVELOPMENT
Eyes Of The Dragon – Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel. A kingdom is in turmoil as the old king dies and his successor must battle for the throne. Pitted against an evil wizard and a would-be rival, Prince Peter makes a daring escape and rallies the forces of good to fight for what is rightfully his. Writers: Michael Taylor (Defiance, Battlestar Galactica) and Jeff Vintar (I, Robot). Executive producers: Michael Taylor and Bill Haber. A production of Universal Cable Productions and Ostar Productions.
Darkfall – When, without warning, modern forms of power and technology become a thing of the past, Los Angeles, and the world at large, becomes a place where magic rules and life as we know it is turned upside down. Writers: Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (Kung Fu Panda, Sleeper Cell). A production of The Jim Henson Company and Universal Cable Productions.
NEW REALITY SERIES DEVELOPMENT
Opposite Worlds –– Opposite Worlds is based on the mega-sensation Latin American reality series, Mundos Opuestos, in which twenty people from all walks of life are mixed together in two opposing teams that live in two distinctly different worlds – the Past and the Future. The Future is a Utopia where every wish can be granted with a push of a button; the Past is a constant struggle for survival. Each week, players compete in a series of challenges to determine who lives in the Past and who lives in the Future, and fight to be the last man standing. Production company: Smart Dog Media. Executive producer: Craig Plestis. Format devised by Canal 13, Sergio Nakasone, Juan Pablo Planas and Veronica Ruaro.
Unbreakable — Based on The Death Race, an extreme endurance race held annually in Vermont, Unbreakable sets to test competitors’ inner resolve to persevere through mental and physical extremes. Nothing is as it seems in this competition, where contestants must navigate through a seemingly natural but altered environment full of obstacles and challenges. Testing each individual’s spirit to its limit, the contestants will either self-eliminate or fall by the wayside, until only one will remain to conquer all. Production company: Pilgrim Studios. Executive producers: Craig Piligian and Joe Desena
The Jim Henson Creature Shop – For generations the craftsmen at The Jim Henson Creature Shop have brought to life imaginative, lovable and memorable characters that have enthralled audiences around the world. Now, aspiring creature makers will have an opportunity to win the job of a lifetime—an apprenticeship with the Creature Shop. Teams of amateur creators will face off to build elaborate and awe-inspiring creatures, ranging from animatronic monsters and fantastical puppets, to life-like beasts and beyond! Creations are judged by Brian Henson – son of Jim Henson and Chairman to the Henson empire – along with top industry experts. Executive producers: Brian Henson (The Jim Henson Company) and Joseph Freed.
Meat Loaf Rocks the Paranormal (working title) — Meat Loaf Rocks the Paranormal features rock legend Meat Loaf and his colorful but divided family of skeptics and believers. Unlike the typical family vacation, Meat Loaf, his two daughters and rock star son-in-law Scott Ian of Anthrax travel to America’s most haunted and famous locations to settle the family’s paranormal debate. Production company: Thinkfactory Media. Executive producers: Adam Reed, Adam Freeman and Leslie Greif.
The Gadget Show – Based on the popular UK series, The Gadget Show previews and reviews the latest technological gadgets fit for mass consumers. Traveling around the globe, the show’s gadget-obsessed hosts highlight the coolest tech trends, world premiere inventions and engineers of the future. Mixing in-studio segments with out-in-the-world product testing, the hosts perform adrenaline-fueled stunts to determine the quality of the hottest new devices about to be put on the market. Production company: All3Media America/North One Television. Executive producers: Stephen Lambert, Eli Holzman and Ewan Keil.
Dead Famous (working title) — When celebrities pass before their time, questions are often left unanswered with their loved ones and fans. Dead Famous sets out to find answers to those questions and to provide closure via a LIVE séance, led by a medium and with friends, family and paranormal investigators in attendance. Leading up to the séance, the Dead Famous host will visit the celebrity’s private locations and collect personal items which will then be used to help make contact. Production company: Smart Dog Media. Executive producers: Craig Plestis, Guiliana Rancic and Colet Abedi.
Graveyard Shift — Graveyard Shift follows Josh Gates as he journeys alongside people whose extreme jobs and bizarre lives start after the sun goes down. Whether holding the night guard position at a notoriously haunted graveyard in Baltimore, installing neon lights in the most extreme skyscraper in the Chicago skyline, or journeying through mysterious underground tunnels with a city’s public works department, Gates will battle his fears and imagination while venturing to places where few dare to go. Production company: Discovery Studios. Executive producers: Josh Gates, Eddie Barbini, and Gary Shapiro.
Make Me a Millionaire Inventor — Based on the British series, Make Me Millionaire Inventor follows a team of engineers and scientists as they hunt through the U.S. Patent Office for the best inventions — never made — to make inventors’ dreams come true. The show will pick different patents each week and track down the original inventors to surprise them with the offer of a lifetime: a chance to finally bring their idea to fruition. The team will then coach the inventors as they prepare to pitch a working prototype to industry pioneers – in hopes of making the most important sale of their lives. Production company: Objective Productions/Kalel Productions/All3Media America. Executive producers: Nick Parnes, Andrew O’Connor and Eli Holzman.