At Syfy’s upfront presentation in New York today, president Dave Howe introduced what he said is the largest original programming slate in the channel’s 18-year history, featuring 14 new original series and movies comprising more than 100 hours.
The event was a hot ticket as it was held at the Foxwoods Theatre, where Syfy hosted a live performance for ad buyers of the much-talked about musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Syfy is the official media partner of the Broadway show, a decision that no doubt sounded great when it was made before the musical was hit by a series of setbacks, including actor injuries, safety violations and abysmal reviews leading to a creative overhaul.
Syfy is coming off a year marked by disappointing ratings for Caprica and Stargate: Universe, both canceled after short runs. But with new series Being Human and Face Off both renewed and doing solid business this year, Q1-to-date Syfy is up 13% among total viewers and 7% in adults 18-49 vs. last year.
In July, Syfy will launch four scripted series in the same month — for the first time ever — new drama Alphas and returning series Warehouse 13, Eureka and Haven.
Also announced today was the launch of a new Syfy publishing business of genre games under the Syfy Games banner. Here is detailed information on all upcoming Syfy series and original movies as well as scripted and unscripted series in development:
NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
Alphas – Premiering in July – Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Leigh Rosen (Emmy Award-winner and Oscar nominee David Strathairn) investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able, or willing, to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.
Alphas also stars Malik Yoba, Warren Christie, Laura Mennell, Ryan Cartwright and Azita Ghanizada, and is a production of Universal Cable Productions and BermanBraun Television. Executive Producers are Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein for BermanBraun, Zak Penn and Ira Steven Behr.
NEW REALITY SERIES
Haunted Collector (working title) — Premiering in June — Ghosts and spirits inhabit more than just homes and buildings — they can also live in objects. John Zaffis and his family are renowned paranormal investigators, tracking down haunted items like paintings, guns, jewelry and dolls. Once identified, the items are collected and stored in their museum, helping John’s clients bring normalcy back to their lives. Produced by Gurney Productions. Executive producers: Scott Gurney and Dierdre Gurney.
Legend Quest — Premiering in July — This fast-paced action-adventure series follows Ashley Cowie, a real-life symbologist, as he travels the world in search of some of history’s greatest relics and artifacts, all of which are believed to hold hidden powers and mystical significance for ancient and modern cultures. Each episode will include Indiana Jones-type adventure and Da Vinci Code-style connections as the hidden truths and alternative theories of these mythical objects are explored. Legend Quest is executive produced by John Brenkus and Mickey Stern for BASE Productions, and is a co-production with Universal Networks International.
Paranormal Witness – Premiering in September — From Raw TV, the acclaimed creative team behind Locked Up Abroad and Gold Rush Alaska, this tense, filmic and high-octane drama-documentary series brings to life the stories of people who have lived through paranormal experiences that defy explanation. Using the mixture of intimate first-hand testimony and grittily realistic drama that Raw TV is known for, Paranormal Witness will transport the audience into a world turned upside down by extraordinary and terrifying events. Paranormal Witness is produced by Raw TV. Executive producers: Dimitri Doganis and Bart Layton.
Battlestar: Blood & Chrome – Luke Pasqualino (Skins-UK) and Ben Cotton (Hellcats) star in Battlestar: Blood & Chrome, which takes place in the 10th year of the first Cylon war. As the battle between humans and their creation, a sentient robotic race, rages across the 12 colonial worlds, a brash rookie viper pilot enters the fray. Ensign William Adama (Pasqualino), barely in his 20’s and a recent Academy graduate, finds himself assigned to one of the most powerful ships in the Colonial fleet…the Galactica. The talented but hot-headed risk-taker soon finds himself leading a dangerous top secret mission that, if successful, will turn the tide of the decade-long war in favor of the desperate fleet. Executive producers: David Eick and Michael Taylor. Written by Michael Taylor from a story by David Eick, Taylor and Bradley Thompson and David Weddle. A production of Universal Cable Productions.
SCRIPTED DEVELOPMENT/SINGLE CAMERA HALF-HOURS
Three Inches – In Three Inches, professional daydreamer and underachiever Walter Spackman is struck by lightning and develops a unique “super” power — the ability to move any object using just his mind… but only a distance of three inches. He’s soon immersed in a world of extraordinarily ordinary people like himself and learns that “super” is just a state of mind. The pilot is written by Harley Peyton (Twin Peaks), who also serves as executive producer. Fox Television Studios is producing with executive producer Robert Cooper, through his company Landscape Entertainment.
In the Dark – In the Dark follows a misfit group of third tier ghost hunters whose misguided efforts tend to highlight their incompetence rather than any paranormal activity. From Universal Cable Productions, In the Dark is executive produced by Dan Taberski through Idiot Box Productions, Michael Davidoff and Bill Rosenthal. Teleplay by Michael Davidoff & Bill Rosenthal.
Me and Lee — Me and Lee is about a down on his luck 20-something who goes in for back surgery, but the procedure doesn’t go well. Enter Lee Majors, who claims he has the perfect solution. He entices the young man into his ultra high-tech lab and makes him bionic. Majors becomes the unlikeliest of mentors helping the young man get his life back together. Jenji Kohan, the executive producer and creator of Weeds, serves as the executive producer of Me and Lee along with the writer Matthew Salsberg, Allan Loeb and Steven Pearl. Produced by Lionsgate.
Culture Shock with Tommy Lee – This one-hour investigative travel show follows Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee as he attempts to uncover the various rituals, symbols and other mysteries of secret societies around the world. Tommy Lee will dig into the history behind the secret society, search out its meeting locations and members, and meet with former members to reveal the society’s rituals and deepest secrets. A production of ITV Studios America. Executive producers: Tommy Lee and Carl Stubner. Supervising producer: Jenna Barnes.
Monster Man – When Hollywood studios want a bizarre creature, monster prop or out-of-this world alien, they turn to Cleve Hall and his very unique, family business. This series goes behind the scenes of Cleve’s workshop, where the craziness of this fun family is matched only by the insane monsters they build. Produced by Gurney Productions. Executive producers: Scott Gurney and Dierdre Gurney.
Stunts Unlimited — Stunts Unlimited is an elite and exclusive fraternity of artists committed to a very imaginative, creative, unique and dangerous craft — movie stunts. This series takes audiences behind-the-scenes into a world rarely seen, unveiling the innovations and problem solving necessary to accomplish the most spectacular stunts in Hollywood. With their lives on the line with every stunt, the members of Stunts Unlimited form a close-knit work family, helping them balance the challenges of their jobs and their families. Executive producers: Ric Roman Waugh and Gary Binkow.
Hi Tech Hoaxes — The series where the supernatural, the mythical and the astonishing leave the big screen and step into people’s everyday lives. Each week two teams will go head-to-head to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for an unsuspecting pair of people, who are about to have their world turned upside down for a brief, thrilling moment. Teams of engineers, tech geniuses and pranksters will draw their inspiration from requests sent by ordinary people who want to execute the hoax on friends, family, colleagues, customers, kids, parents or even pupils. They’ll rely on the technical know- how and the resourcefulness of the teams to make it happen. But it needs to be hyper-convincing because these hoaxes are going to be happening in the real world in plain sight. Produced by North One Television.
Dinner with Deepak — If you could invite three people to dinner, who would they be? Best selling author and spiritual teacher Dr. Deepak Chopra dines and joins in conversation with some of the greatest minds and creators in the world today. In every episode, Chopra brings together a group of noteworthy guests to share a meal and a conversation ranging in topic from the spiritual, political and scientific to supernatural, designed to challenge our standard conventions and push the boundaries of viewers’ imaginations and intellects. Executive producers: Deepak Chopra, Gotham Chopra, Tim Piper and Sharad Devarajan.
Tyler Shields – A docu-series featuring unconventional photographer Tyler Shields and his team as they create worlds that are always surprising, shocking, and totally surreal. This Los Angeles-based artist is one of the most creative and original photographers working today. His subjects are celebrities, actors, models, and everyday people captured in magical, beautiful, and often dangerous situations. His eye-popping, jaw-dropping photos are designed to elicit the subject’s purest emotion right in the moment using no special effects. A production of RelativityREAL. Executive producers: Tom Forman, Tyler Shields and Zach Quinto.
Overthunk — A one-hour series that follows two teams of four talented creators as they compete to design, build and set off massive chain reaction machines. The best gizmo gladiators across America will face off in a weekly contest testing their mettle through gears and metal. Each week visits a new city, where natural rivals race against the clock and each other to brainstorm and build a fantastic apparatus that completes a specific task and keeps viewers holding their breath to see if these contraptions will actually work. Along the way, surprise “monkey wrenches” will challenge their minds and their patience. Produced by 25/7 Productions. Executive producer: Dave Broome.
Change the Day You Die — Change the Day You Die is an inspiring new reality series that uses state-of-the-art science to dramatically transport its participants into the future to face their own self-inflicted demise. Each of the seemingly healthy, unsuspecting candidates — nominated by friends, family and loved ones — will go on a 10-week transformational journey where they must master a series of mental and physical challenges designed to reverse their bad habits and add back valuable lost years to their lives. Through medical-condition simulators, life-enhancing technology, unique graphics and special effects, each participant will experience firsthand the grim reality of their potential future so that they have the opportunity to change their ways before it’s too late. Produced by 3 Ball Productions/Eyeworks USA. Executive Producers: JD Roth and Todd A. Nelson (3 Ball Productions/Eyeworks USA) and Danny Fenton (Zig Zag Productions).
Imagination Nation — The innovators behind Hammacher Schlemmer, America’s oldest continuously published catalog that offers imaginatively unexpected and innovative products, go on the road to meet inventors from all walks of life to find fresh offerings for their inventory. Produced by North South Productions. Executive producers: Charlie DeBevoise and Mark Hickman.
America’s Smartest Kids — A thought provoking, reality competition show where the country’s most imaginative, innovative teenagers are challenged to invent a better future while competing for the title of America’s Smartest Kid. Executive producers: David Zelon and Michael Sardo.
SATURDAY ORIGINAL MOVIES
Red Faction: Origins — 2011 — Robert Patrick (Terminator 2), Brian J. Smith (Stargate Universe) and Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica) star in Red Faction: Origins, based on the hugely successful Red Faction video game franchise. Twenty-five years have passed since Alec Mason (Patrick) led the Martian Colonies to freedom …and 12 years since vengeful enemies killed his wife, kidnapped his daughter Lyra (Tamzin Merchant), and left a broken hero in their wake.
Jake Mason (Smith), Alec’s only son and an officer in the Red Faction Militia, has his world turned inside out when he discovers that now, 12 years after her kidnapping, his sister is still alive. As a powerful new enemy swarms across the planet, Jake goes out to find her, only to learn that his lost sister is one of them…a cold-blooded soldier sworn to destroy the Red Faction. Red Faction: Origins is produced by Universal Cable Productions and UFO Films.
Zombie Apocalypse (working title) — October 2011 — Months after a zombie plague has wiped out 90 percent of the American population, a small group of survivors fight their way cross-country to a rumored refuge on the island of Catalina. A production of The Asylum.
Gretl — November 2011 — As an adult, a witch hunter (Hansel) returns to the village where he lived as a child to find and kill the witch who killed his sister, Gretl (Shannen Doherty), only to find that Gretl is not dead and danger lurks around every corner. Produced by Chesler/Permutter Productions & Vesuvius Productions.
Snowmageddon (working title) – December 2011 — A story about a mystical snow globe that makes very bad things happen in the real world when it is shaken. A production of Cinetel.
Bigfoot – 2012 — 1970’s pop culture icons Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family) and Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch) face off in the hunt for the legendary mountain creature. A production of The Asylum.
St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun (working title) — St Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17th, 2012 — An evil leprechaun who has been imprisoned within the roots of a majestic old oak tree, is accidentally set loose on St. Patrick’s Day. Once free, he takes out his bloody revenge on the descendants of the people who originally imprisoned him. A production of After Dark Films.
Roswell — June 2012 – The story selected by fans for Syfy and IGN.com’s B Movie Mogul project, 65 years after the original UFO crash at Roswell, another ship from the same far-off civilization comes to rescue their downed comrades – and continue their preparation to invade the earth. Directed by Jason Connery (Area 51, The Devil’s Tomb). A production of After Dark Films.
Jersey Shore Shark Attack — 2012 – While everyone else runs scared, vacationing Jerseyites fend off shark attacks on the shore. A production of ARO Entertainment.
Dungeons and Dragons 4 (working title) — September 2012 – A princess and a rogue knight become reluctant heroes inside a magical kingdom. A production of After Dark Films with Silver Pictures.
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.