EXCLUSIVE: Emily Hampshire (Rookie Blue) and Tom Noonan (Hell On Wheels) have been cast in major recurring roles on Syfy‘s adventure thriller series 12 Monkeys, inspired by Terry Gilliam’s 1995 movie starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. The 13-episode show centers on Willis’ character Cole, played in the series by Aaron Stanford. Utilizing a dangerous and untested method of time travel, Cole journeys from 2043 to the present on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will all but annihilate the human race.
Related: Syfy Developing Alien Invasion Drama From Michael Horowitz & Hypnotic
Canadian actress Hampshire, repped by Intellectual Artists Management and Canada’s Creative Drive Artists and K.L. Benzakein Talent, will play Jennifer Goines, a female version of the Jeffrey Goines character played in the movie by Pitt. Jennifer is a dangerous, unstable mental patient who might have the key to unraveling the 12 Monkeys mystery locked away in her head. Noonan, repped by Vanguard Management and AKA Talent Agency, plays a newly created character, a mysterious villain who is the face of the enigmatic Army of the 12 Monkeys. Imposing and intelligent, Noonan’s character will be at the center of the conspiracy. The series, which also co-stars Amanda Schull (Dr. Cassandra Railly), Kirk Acevedo (Ramse) and Noah Bean (Aaron Marker), starts production on August 6 in Toronto. Creators Terry Matalas … Read More »
Syfy has put in development Absolute Zero, a futuristic thriller from former Burn Notice co-executive producer Michael Horowitz, Universal Cable Prods and Doug Liman and David Bartis’ studio-based Hypnotic. Set in 2124, Absolute Zero follows the denizens of a remote mining colony who discover a dangerous new species on a moon of Jupiter, setting off the first stage of an alien invasion ultimately heading for Earth. Horowitz is writing the script and will executive produce with Hypnotic’s Liman, Bartis and Gene Klein.
Horowitz, repped by WME, Magnet Management and Lichter, Grossman, joined Matt Nix’s Burn Notice as a staff writer in the second season, rising to co-executive producer. He currently serves as a co-exec producer on Nix’s new series for USA, Complications, and developed drama Lithium for Fox last season. Hypnotic is repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Syfy is adding a touch of improv comedy to its lineup. The cable network has teamed with Nick Cannon‘s NCredible Entertainment for a weekly one-hour sci-fi fantasy improv series. The show will be taped in front of a live audience and feature a “home” team consisting of 4-6 national comedians who each week will face off against a different improv squad in various sci-fi/fantasy-related sketches. Casting will begin later this summer for the “away” teams. Cannon and Michael Goldman will serve as executive producers for Universal Cable Prods.
NCredible Entertainment produces music video countdown show Teen Nick Top 10 which is wrapping its third season; Nickelodeon’s React To That; Wild ‘n Out, now in its sixth season on MTV2; and an upcoming Drumline 2 sequel, slated to air in October. Cannon also hosts NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
This marks another step in Syfy’s evolution under its new leadership. The network already returned to the serialized, space opera-type dramas in the vein of Battlestar Galactica that had put it on the map and jumped back into the long-form genre with several high-profile projects.
Syfy just put out a trailer for its TV spinoff of the Terry Gilliam film 12 monkeys after screening it at the TCA Summer Press Tour 2014. The series stars Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Noah Bean, and Kirk Acevedo, and is set to debut in January. Have to say that this trailer looks sufficiently creepy and excellent to stir lots of interest. What do you think?
Syfy left 12 Monkeys off the Comic-Con schedule this month. And while it might seem like a missed marketing opportunity to tubthump the series before its potential fanbase, executive producer of the series and production exec on the 1995 Terry Gilliam film Richard Suckle explained that the confab “coincides with when we start shooting. We wanted to put the show first as we’re set to premiere in January. It was a production decision with Syfy and we wanted to have the actors on the set.”
Nonethless, the fanboy press corps was out at TCA and ready to grill about the beloved time-travel film, which sent Bruce Willis’ convict James Cole back into the past to stop a virus destined to kill humanity. Co-exec EP Terry Matalas assured that the series is a “complete reimagining. We didn’t want to redo the movie and so we changed everything from the top down.” Read More »
Syfy‘s miniseries Ascension continues Jason Blum‘s development of intriguing TV projects, and unlike the low budget horror thriller films he’s made his mark with, i.e. The Purge and Insidious, he admitted “The budget for this series wasn’t as low as some of my movies. I’m new to TV. My long-term goal is (creating) lower budget TV series.”
Chalk it up to the demands of the sci-fi genre. Originally Blum was looking to have the all the action for the 600-person deep-space travel story to take place in one location, just like his haunted house pics.
“We thought this was going to be a low budget show, but it grew to be the size of The Queen Mary. The scope of the show is enormous and the only way 600 people (in deep space) can live is if you have crops, and different living quarters,” explained Blum. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Syfy has greenlighted a pilot for The Magicians, an adaptation of Lev Grossman’s best-selling fantasy book trilogy. The pilot for the potential one-hour drama, from Universal Cable Productions, was written by John McNamara (Prime Suspect) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural). Michael London and Janice Williams are producing.
The books — the first of which was published in 2009 — revolve around a group of New York twentysomethings who, while studying magic, discover the fantasy world they read about as children is all too real and poses a grave danger to humanity. The trilogy — The Magicians, The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land – has been published in 22 countries.
This isn’t the first crack at the small screen for the books. In October 2011, a drama series adaptation was pre-emptively acquired by Fox – also produced by London, who had optioned the books. It had X-Men: First Class and Thor writers Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz aboard to do the writing but didn’t go forward. Grossman at the time wrote on his blog he was disappointed the project didn’t stick but that it would be shopped to cable networks.
London brought on McNamara and Gamble, Syfy acquired their new take and developed it further. We’re hearing the story starts earlier in the book series than the Fox project.
Magicians is the latest move indicating Syfy’s push with scripted series. It just finished casting its six-part event series Ascension, which premieres in November, and it has new series 12 Monkeys, The Killjoys and The Expanse on tap for … Read More »
The countdown to social media’s biggest-ever question — Did Syfy‘s Sharknado jump the shark with a sequel? — continues with the latest look at Sharknado 2: The Second One, which premieres July 30 after it storms into Comic-Con. Check it out:
Sharknado 2: The Second One will be chomping its way through the San Diego Convention Center as part of Syfy‘s presence at Comic-Con. While the panel on Thursday, July 24 will occur days before its July 30 premiere, there isn’t any announcement about a screening for the cult TV movie, a treat that TCA reporters are getting prior to Comic-Con. Also missing from the Syfy Comic-Con sked, but not from their TCA sked: The TV adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 1995 time travel film 12 Monkeys. None the less, a slew of Sharknado stars will be present in Room 6BCF from 7:15-8:15 PM including Ian Ziering (Fin Shepard), Tara Reid (April Wexler), Vivica A. Fox (Skye), Kari Wuhrer (Ellen Shepard Brody), Judah Friedlander (Bryan) and director Anthony C. Ferrante. Read More »
Brandon P. Bell, Tiffany Lonsdale and Jacqueline Byers will co-star opposite Tricia Helfer and Brian Van Holt in Syfy‘s six-hour event series Ascension. Set aboard the starship Ascension, it centers on hundreds of men, women and children sent on a covert, century-long mission to populate a new world. But as they approach the point of no return 50 years into the journey, the murder of a young woman causes the ship’s population to question the true nature of their mission. Read More »
Syfy has rounded out the cast for its new zombie drama Z Nation set for debut this fall. From The Asylum, the company behind the network’s hit schlocky horror franchise Sharknado, the 13-episode action-horror series depicts the epic struggle to save humanity after a zombie apocalypse. Harold Perrineau (Oz, Lost) Tom Everett Scott (Southland, Beauty And The Beast), DJ Qualls (Supernatural), Michael Welch (Twilight trilogy) and Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show) have joined the ensemble drama, currently in production in Spokane, WA. Perrineau will play Hammond, the leader of the group headed west; Scott plays Garnett, Hammond’s second-in-command; and Qualls plays the role of Citizen Z, a computer hacker who joins the team and helps them navigate the zombie-infested terrain. Welch and Smith are Mack and Addy, respectively, two disparate wanderers drawn to the team – and to each other – by a shared goal: survival. Rounding out the ensemble are Anastasia Baranova (The Darkness II) as Addy, Russell Hodgkinson (Big Fish) as Doc and Keith Allan (Rise Of The Zombies) as Murphy. Karl Schaefer (Eerie Indiana, Eureka, The Dead Zone) serves as executive producer and showrunner.
A stuntwoman who was burned on the set of Syfy’s Face Off is suing the production companies and others for lost wages, medical expenses and damages. In the civil complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), Tamiko Brownlee claims she was “severely burned over multiple parts of her body” when “a propane ‘popper’ and/or ‘woofer’” exploded on the set and she was “surrounded and consumed by a fireball.” Defendants include Syfy Media Productions, Mission Control Media, T-Minus Productions and HollywoodStuntCoordinator.com. The suit says Brownlee “in her participation of said production of Face Off did not know, was not advised, did not consent, assume and/or agree to participate in any way, manner and/or capacity in said television production with any defendant named herein where here person and/or body would be and/or run the risk of being burned.” The plaintiff is represented by attorney Vincent Vallin Bennett of Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack and Grant in LA.
Related: Syfy’s ‘Face Off’ Renewed For Sixth Season
Syfy has acquired the supernatural thriller Bitten for a second season. The series from Entertainment One will premiere in 2015 with 10 new episodes. Based on Kelley Armstrong’s bestselling Women Of The Otherworld novels, Bitten stars Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, Ted) as Elena Michaels, the lone female werewolf in existence. During its first season on Syfy, Bitten averaged 1.1 million total viewers based on Live +7 data,. Bitten is executive produced by J.B. Sugar for No Equal Entertainment, John Barbisan, and Patrick Banister for Hoodwink Entertainment, and Tecca Crosby, John Morayniss, and Margaret O’Brien for Entertainment One.
EXCLUSIVE: Popular Ghost Hunters cast members Amy Bruni and Adam Berry have decided to leave Syfy‘s flagship unscripted series. I’ve learned that the duo are teaming to develop a new show idea in the paranormal space. Bruni, who has more than 20 years experience studying the paranormal, has been on Ghost Hunters since 2008; Berry joined the series in 2010. Ghost Hunters is in the process of recruiting new members of Jason Hawes’ The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) team to fill the void left by Bruni and Berry’s departure. Bruni and Berry, repped by Westpoint Entertainment’s Bill Stankey, also are negotiating with a casino company for an ongoing series of appearances in Las Vegas and other markets across the US.
One day after Syfy took a bite out of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, announcing its first Sharknado Week,Discovery Channel returned the favor — releasing its first promo for 2014 Shark Week, which pokes run at Syfy’s Sharknado. In the video, a guy climbs out of a gimongous shark that looks suspiciously like the one out of which Sharknado star Ian Zierling climbed, rescuing a damsel who’d been swallowed whole by said beast. But Discovery’s shark-climber-outer trumps Zierling’s performance; he saves a baby seal — maybe the one swallowed by the shark in last year’s Shark week promo. Judge the winner for yourself:
Related: Shark Week Snaps Up Ratings Records for Discovery Channel
Sixty-nine days before Discovery is scheduled to unveil Shark Week 2014, Syfy this afternoon announced its first Sharknado Week — which, yes, includes the July 30 debut of Sharknado 2: The Second One. It also will feature the unveiling of Syfy’s new Roger Corman film Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda, which premieres Saturday, July 26. That means it will beat Shark Week to TV by more than two weeks. Discovery Communications execs were said to be less than thrilled with Syfy’s announcement, stopping short of calling it a blatant rip-off. But after Discovery had nicely invited Sharknado stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid to be guests on last year’s Shark After Dark, this seems along the lines of stealing the silver on the way out. In its announcement, Syfy even used some of Discovery’s traditional Shark Week slanguage — “fintastic” and such.
Here is Syfy’s announcement: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Syfy has acquired U.S. basic cable rights to all 39 episodes of Starz‘s Spartacus. That includes the three seasons of the swords-and-sandals drama as well as the six-part prequel Gods Of The Arena. Spartacus will make its Syfy debut June 26 and will air at 10 PM, following original series Defiance and Dominion.
The Spartacus deal comes 16 years after then-5-year-old Sci Fi Channel made its biggest acquisition pact to date, spending $150 million for the exclusive basic cable rights to three other Showtime series, Stargate SG-1, The Outer Limits and Poltergeist: The Legacy. Stargate and Poltergeist went on to become original series on Sci Fi, which ordered additional seasons — five for Stargate and one for Poltergeist. Stargate became a signature series for Sci Fi, spawning a franchise. Read More »
Check out the new trailers for the upcoming Syfy drama Dominion, which premieres June 19, and space opera Ascension, which bows in November:
Dominion: Produced by Universal Cable Productions and Bold Films. From executive producers Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer and writer/executive producer Vaun Wilmott.
Ascension: Produced by Sea To Sky Studios in association with Blumhouse Productions. From written/executive producer Philip Levens; Ivan Fecan, Tim Gamble and Brett Burlock also exec produce.
It’s a done deal. NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and WWE today announced a multi-year partnership that will keep Monday Night Raw and SmackDown on USA Network and Syfy, respectively. The announcement was made today by Paul Levesque, WWE’s EVP Talent, Live Events & Creative, during NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s upfront presentation in New York. “USA Network President Chris McCumber, Syfy President Dave Howe and I are incredibly pleased to renew this strategic partnership with WWE,” said NBCU Cable Chairman Bonnie Hammer. “In today’s TV landscape, live event programming is an extraordinarily valuable asset, and WWE remains the only entertainment franchise that consistently delivers this on a 52-week-a-year basis. We look forward to bringing WWE’s action-packed and unique brand of drama to the wide audiences across our cable networks for many years to come.” Read More »