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Comcast Takes Full Control Of FEARnet, To Fold It In Into Chiller & Syfy

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 10:56am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It’s the end of the road for thriller, suspense and Fearnethorror-themed FEARnet. Comcast has bought out its partners in the joint venture — Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate Entertainment — to take 100% ownership. Following the transaction, which closed this morning, FEARnet will no longer be a stand-alone brand but will be folded into Comcast’s NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment division. “NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment has acquired all remaining interests in FEARnet from its productive venture with Lionsgate and Sony,” the company said in a statement to Deadline through a spokesman. “FEARnet, along with its popular content, will be integrated into NBCU Cable Entertainment. This process will take place over a yet to be determined period of time.”

FEARnet is expected to be folded mainly into Comcast/NBCU Cable Entertainment’s similarly thriller, suspense and horror-focused Chiller, though some content could also migrate to Syfy. I’ve learned that 10 of FEARnet’s 25 employees will stay on through the transition. The other 15 are being let go today. NBCU would try to find job opportunities for some of them across the company. FEARnet president Peter Block will stay at least through the transition. Read More »

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Syfy Gives 10-Episode Order To Space Opera ‘The Expanse’ From Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby, Alcon Entertainment

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 3:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

expanseSyfy continues to aggressively build its original slate with a 10-episode order to The Expanse, a series based on James S.A. Corey’s series of novels. The project, which received a very rich straight-to-series order in a competitive situation, is in the space opera genre in the tradition of Battlestar Galactica that Syfy brass had been looking to bring back to the network. The Expanse was put together as straight-to-series by Alcon Entertainment’s TV arm Alcon Television Group and Sean syfylogo1Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Co., who developed the original pitch with Oscar-nominated writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man). This marks the first series order for ATG, which launched two years ago. Fergus and Ostby wrote the script on spec and will continue as writers and executive producers.

Related: 2014 Syfy Pilots

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NBC Press Day: ‘Sharknado 2′ Blows Up Sharks With Bombs While Keeping Characters ‘Grounded’

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 9:59am PDT

Syfy‘s Sharknado 2: The Second One is similar to the original Sharknado — but in New York, director Anthony C. Ferrante told reporters at sharknado-attackNBCU’s Summer Press Day. “We never stopped making the first movie,” he told a reporter who asked how the second would differ from the first. “This thing never stopped…If it stayed in Los Angeles it would have been boring,” he said, but the sequel will feature the Statue of Liberty and Broadway, which, of course, the original could not. In the sequel, killer sharks get caught up in a massive tornado that invades Manhattan, making life a living hell for the locals. “This to me is the most important film ever made about climate change,” snarked cast member Judah Friedlander today at the NBCU Summer Press Day in Pasadena. Read More »

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Syfy Orders Zombie Action-Horror Series From ‘Sharknado’ Producers

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 9:17am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Syfy is entering the hot zombie genre with Z Nation, sharknado-attacka 13-episode series from Asylum, the company behind the network’s hit schlocky horror franchise Sharknado. Executive produced/showrun by Karl Schaefer (Eureka), Z Nation is set three years after the zombie virus has gutted the country, and a team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood. Although the antibodies he carries are the world’s last, best hope for a vaccine, he hides a dark secret that threatens them all. syfylogo1With humankind’s survival at stake, the ragtag band embarks on a journey of survival across three thousand miles of rusted-out post-apocalyptic America. “Z Nation is a unique new journey into the long established zombie genre,” said Syfy SVP Chris Regina. “Instead of existential despair, the series offers hope that somehow, some way, humanity will not only survive, but triumph.” Added Schaefer, “Our everyday heroes take the fight to the zombies.” Z Nation, set to premiere this fall, will be produced by Asylum, in its debut doing a regular series, and sold internationally by Dynamic Television. Schaefer is repped by APA and Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox & Light LLP.

Related: Syfy Picks Up 13-Part Mythological Drama ‘Olympus’

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Syfy Picks Up 13-Part Mythological Drama ‘Olympus’ From Robert Halmi Sr.

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 8:20am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

syfylogo1On the heels of greenlighting its first miniseries since 2009′s Alice, the six-hour Ascension, Syfy has teamed with the producer of Alice, longform veteran Robert Halmi Jr., for a new 13-part series Olympus to premiere in 2015. The project, set in the world of humans, Gods and monsters, hails from Halmi Sr. who also produced the 2007 Syfy RobertHalmiSrmini Tin Man as well as the 2011 Neverland, which was acquired by Syfy, and writer Nick Willing, who also penned Tinman, Alice and Neverland. Olympus tells the story of how a few brave men and women banished the Gods to the realm of the unconscious – a place they called the Underworld or the Kingdom of Hades. It centers on a fresh-faced and raw young man who, through the dramatic experiences of betrayal, love, disappointment, empowerment and exile, transforms into a ruthless leader of men, and a match for the Gods themselves. “Olympus is a fantastic blend of action, intense thrills, creatures and great story telling,” said SyfySVP Chris Regina. “It will feature characters from mythology in a way never before imagined.” Read More »

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‘Ghost Hunters’ Legal Win Means No More Fright For NBCUniversal

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 4:33pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEGhost HuntersSeven years bad luck is what you usually get for breaking a mirror so looks like NBCUniversal has finally put the pieces together and outrun the curse – literally and figuratively. After more than 7 years of legal haunting and a near-trip to the Supreme Court, the media company seemingly has been freed of the Ghost Hunters lawsuit that claimed it lifted the idea for the flagship Syfy reality show. California’s 2nd Court of Appeals this week granted NBCU a summary judgment NBCUniversal__120928224730-200x133and said that parapsychologist Larry Montz and publicist Daena Smoller’s initial 2006 case hadn’t brought their claims within the applicable two-year statute of limitations. “In sum, the undisputed facts and the law established the right of petitioners to an order granting their motion for summary judgment,” said the April 1 order (read it here) by Judge Nora Margaret Manella. Now of course this isn’t totally over as Montz and Smoller could appeal again — though their chances of success at this point look dim. Read More »

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‘12 Monkeys’ Picked Up To Series At Syfy

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 12:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Syfy hassyfylogo1 given a series order to 12 Monkeys, a drama based on the 1995 Universal Pictures film directed by Terry Gilliam. The project, written/co-executive produced by Terry Matalas & Travis Fickett (Nikita) has received a 12-episode order for a January 2015 premiere. 12 Monkeys was one of two pilots most recently ordered by Syfy. The other, Bryan Fuller’s High Moon, is not going forward.

12 Monkeys, from U12 Monkeys - Pilotniversal Cable Prods. and Atlas Entertainment, producer of the movie, follows the journey of a time traveler (Aaron Stanford) from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race.
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Wil Wheaton To Host Summer Comedy Series On Syfy

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 2:19pm PDT

syfylogo1Syfy has greenlighted The Wil Wheaton Project (working title), a 12-episode summer series hosted by actor, blogger and geek culture expert Wil Wheaton. Chris Hardwick Book Release Party For "The Nerdist Way"The 30-minute weekly comedy show is slated to premiere May 27 at 10 PM. Each week, Wheaton will dissect the week’s most popular and trending topics across science fiction film, television and pop culture, video games, viral videos and news. “Wil Wheaton’s rock star status within the genre fan base, along with his insatiable passion for all things pop culture, make him the ideal arbiter of what’s hot and what’s not in the genre space,” said Syfy President Dave Howe. Recently, Wheaton has recurred on Syfy’s Eureka, TNT’s Leverage and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. He played Axis of Anarchy leader Fawkes in Felicia Day’s web series The Guild and currently hosts Falling Skies: Second Watch for TNT. Wheaton also is the creator, producer, and host of web series Tabletop, which is in its second season. Wil Wheaton Project is a production of Pilgrim Studios, with Craig Piligian and Mike Nichols (Ghost Hunters) executive producers.

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‘Today’s Matt Lauer And Al Roker Get In On ‘Sharknado 2′: Video

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 7:47am PDT

“We can officially announce we shot cameos Tuesday,” Today co-anchor Matt Lauer announced this morning on the program, of his sharknadoappearance with Today weatherman Al Roker in Syfy‘s upcoming Sharknado sequel, Sharknado 2, debuting July 30 on the fellow NBCUniversal network. Lauer’s co-host Savannah Guthrie, giving the performance of her lifetime, responded that she is “wildly jealous.” Today played a clip in which Roker, on the Today set, explains to Lauer, “This is a twister with teeth.” Lauer contributes: “Enough said indeed, Al, Thank you very much.”  The cameo was shot yesterday. Lauer also showed a clip in which he uses a Today orange umbrellas to stab something that looked like it came from the fish department of Whole Foods, only wrapped in green fabric. “I can’t believe we gave away the whole climax of the movie,” Lauer said. “I’ll remind you the Golden Globes are next January — who are you wearing?” Guthrie snarked.

In Sharknado 2, “a freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a ‘sharknado’ on the city’s population and its most iconic sites,” Syfy has said of the sequel. The original orgy of bad special effects and even worse acting had triggered a social media feeding frenzy among journalists and celebrities when it premiered last July. Read More »

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Syfy’s ‘Helix’ Renewed For Second Season

By | Friday March 28, 2014 @ 9:33am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Ahead of tonight’s Season 1 finale, helix__140113233136-275x267Syfy announced it has picked up a 13-episode second season of scripted drama Helix, from Sony TV. Production will begin later this year with an eye toward a winter 2015 premiere. From creator/co-executive producer Cameron Porsandeh and executive producer Ron Moore, Helix stars Billy Campbell, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kyra Zagorsky and Mark Ghanimé. The thriller, about a team of scientists battling a mankind-threatening outbreak, debuted January 10 to 1.82 million Live+SD total viewers. The premiere broke Syfy L+3 records by gaining 64% in 18-49 to 1.2 million and 53% in total viewers. Since then, the series has averaged 2.1 million total viewers, 1.1 million adults 25-54 and 1 million adults 18-49. “Helix has built one of our most loyal and consistent audiences in its first season on Syfy,” said Bill McGoldrick, EVP Original Content. The incredibly talented writing and producing team have crafted a thriller that consistently delivered suspense, twists and high quality drama. Read More »

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Syfy Greenlights Space Travel Miniseries ‘Ascension’

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 2:56pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

NBC Universal LogosWith event programming making a comeback, Syfy signaled its return to the arena last year when it ramped up miniseries development with such projects as Warriors Of Oz, from director Timur Bekmambetov and four-hour minis based on Larry Niven’s Ringworld and on Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End with producer Michael De Luca. Now the cable network has greenlighted its first miniseries since 2009′s Alice: the six-hour Ascension, which will premiere in the fourth quarter. It marks one of the first major greenlight decisions for Syfy’s new head of original programming, EVP Bill McGoldrick. His predecessor, Mark Stern, serves as executive producer on Ascension alongside microbudget horror film king Jason Blum. Written/exec produced by Philip Levens (Smallville), Ascension is set onboard starship Ascension. Read More »

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Syfy’s ‘Being Human’ Cancelled, To End After Season 4: Video

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 1:28pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

beinhumanThe upcoming six-episode second part of Being Human‘s fourth season will be the Syfy drama’s swan song, with the April 7 closer serving as a series finale. “Showrunner Anna Fricke and the talented producers, writers, cast and crew have done an amazing job bringing this show to life over the past four seasons and we sincerely thank them and the series’ production company Muse Entertainment for their hard work,” the network said. “They’ve saved the best for last with the final six episodes that revisit the story’s beginning, leading to a not-to-be-missed send-off for Aidan, Sally, Josh and Nora.” This marks the first cancellation decision for new Syfy programming chief Bill McGoldrick, who replaced Mark Stern in November. Supernatural drama Being Human was an adaptation of the British series of the same name, which ended its five-season run last year. Here a thank-you video message to the fans from the Syfy series’ cast:

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‘Sharknado 2′ Cast Unveiled; Production Starts Next Week

By | Wednesday February 12, 2014 @ 3:30pm PST

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath, Kelly Osbourne, Andy Dick, Judah Friedlander, and Judd Hirsch have been cast in Sharknado 2: The Second One – set to begin production next week. Throw your mind back to last month, when Syfy announced Ian Zierling and Tara Reid would pack up their chainsaws and head to Manhattan for Sharknado 2: The Second One, which is set to trend on Twitter some as-yet-unspecified day in July. Anthony Ferrante is again directing the screenplay by Thunder Levin – this time about a freak weather system that turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a “sharknado” on the city’s population and its most iconic sites, with sharknado experts Fin (Ziering) and April (Reid) the only ones able to save the city.

sharknadoThe original orgy of bad special effects and even worse acting had triggered a social media feeding frenzy among journalists and celebrities when it premiered on Syfy last summer. Among them, Mia Farrow tweeted a photo of herself with Philip Roth, with whom she said she was watching Sharknado. Maybe Roth did not appreciate the gag — anyway, the photo that had been taken of them at a dinner party days earlier vanished at some point. Greg Berlanti contributed the somewhat so-so gag, “Somewhere in Hollywood there is a senior executive yelling at a junior executive for not coming up with #Sharknado first.” Damon Lindelof observed, “This movie is such a ripoff of The Bicycle Thief.” Wil Wheaton warned: “You fools! You foolish fools! We should have taken global warming seriously and now there’s Sharknado!” Other celebrities used the occasion to reflect on  themselves:  “Oh Goddamn it, now I want to see it too and then I’m gonna want to quit this business…again!” tweeted Michael Chiklis, for example. Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, and Patton Oswalt also threw in their 2 cents worth, and even the American Red Cross weighed in.

In case you were one of those who did not watch, Sharknado, in round numbers, went like this: The ecological nightmare caused by global warming triggers a freak weather system in Los Angeles that results in a mega tornado choc-a-block with angry sharks who sail through the air attacking innocent children and blondes, and causing to be uttered such lines as “they took my grandfather, so I really hate sharks.” The movie culminated in a mano-a-sharko scene, in which our hero Ziering was swallowed by a flying shark but, happily, he had his chainsaw with him at the time; he sawed his way out, also rescuing the distressed damsel who’d earlier been consumed whole by same shark.

Now, about that Sharknado 2 casting: One of those signed will play a New York City police officer. Another will play a friend of Fin’s who goes by the name Skye. One will play a flight attendant. Another will portray a taxi driver.  Still another will play Fin’s brother-in- law. And someone will play someone named Brian.

Can you guess who will play what? We’ll give you a minute to test your casting skills.  Answers after the jump: Read More »

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Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer To Co-Run Syfy Series ‘Dominion’

By | Friday February 7, 2014 @ 9:39am PST
Nellie Andreeva

DARREN SWIMMER TODD SLAVKIN PHOTO 2.6.14EXCLUSIVE: Former Smallville executive producers/showrunners Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer have boarded Syfy’s upcoming supernatural drama series Dominion. The two will serve and executive producers and co-showrunners alongside Vaun Wilmott, who wrote the pilot.  Based on characters from the hit theatrical film Legion, Dominion is a post-apocalyptic supernatural drama set in the year 25 A.E. when an army of lower angels, assembled by the archangel Gabriel, has waged a war of possession against mankind. The archangel Michael, turning against his own kind, has chosen to side with humanity against Gabriel, and a rebellious young soldier begins a perilous journey as the war between the human race and the fallen angels escalates. Read More »

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Series Adaptation Of DC Comic ‘DMZ’ From ‘Mad Men’s Andre & Maria Jacquemetton, ‘Gravity’s David Heyman Set Up At Syfy

By | Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 1:32pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

DMZ Syfy SeriesEXCLUSIVE: In their major sale under their overall deal at Warner Bros TV, former Mad Men executive producers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton have teamed with Gravity producer David Heyman for a drama series based on the DC comic book DMZ, which has landed at Syfy. Written by the Jacquemettonsmadmenwriters, DMZ  is set in the near future and centers on a young man trapped in Manhattan, which has been turned into a demilitarized zone (DMZ) after a second American civil war. The comic book series, created by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli, was launched by DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint in 2005 and ran until 2012 for a total of 72 issues. The TV adaptation, now in development adavid heymant Syfy, hails from WBTV’s cable division, Warner Horizon, as well as the Jacquemettons’ Slim Chance Prods. banner and Heyman’s Heyday Films. The Jacquemettons and Heyman executive produce alongside Heyday Films’ Jeffrey Clifford.

The husband-and-wife Jacquemettons were among the key writer-producers on Mad Men for its first six seasons, until they left last May. The two were among Mad Men creator Weiner’s first hires, joining the AMC series right after the pilot. They rose through the ranks to executive producers, shared in three of the series’ four best series Emmys and earned three writing Emmy nominations. The Jacquemettons are … Read More »

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‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’ To Trend On Twitter One Day In July

By | Thursday January 30, 2014 @ 3:57pm PST

sharknadoIan Ziering and Tara Reid are packing up their chainsaws and heading to Manhattan for Sharknado 2: The Second One, which will trend on Twitter some as-yet-unspecified day in July, Syfy warned today. Not only are Ziering and Reid back, Anthony Ferrante again will direct the screenplay by Thunder Levin, who also wrote Sharknado, so as to make sure the sequel is as craptastic as the original. And Syfy and producer-distributor The Asylum have hired casting director Mike Fenton and his partner Ann Frederick, of Fenton-Frederick Casting, to supervise cameo casting. So, Damon Lindelof, Mia Farrow, and Greg Berlanti — get in touch with them quickly, because shooting begins next month. In Sharknado 2, Syfy says, “a freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a ‘sharknado’ on the city’s population and its most iconic sites, with Fin and April the only ones able to save the city.”

Related: Syfy Sets Dates For ‘Sharknado’ With Sea Vampires And ‘Stonado’ – Seriously Read More »

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‘Haven’ Renewed For Season 5 With 26-Episode Order

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 11:30am PST

haven-tv-show-logoSyfy has greenlit 26 new episodes of drama Haven, the channel said today. The first 13 episodes of Season 5 are set to premiere this fall with the remaining 13 episodes scheduled to air in 2015. Haven’s recently wrapped fourth season was up 11% among Adults 18-34 (314,000) and up 3% year-to-year among Adults 18-49 (926,000). Overall, Haven averaged 1.1 million Adults 25-54 and 2.3 million viewers per week and ranked second in Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54 among original cable series in its Friday 10 PM time slot, Syfy said. Series stars Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour will reprise their roles in Season 5. Production is set to begin in Halifax, Nova Scotia this spring. Haven is produced by Entertainment One and Big Motion Pictures in association with Piller/Segan/Shepherd and airs on Syfy in the U.S., Showcase in Canada and internationally on UNI’s multiple Syfy channels.

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Syfy’s Thriller ‘Helix’ Ratings Soft In Debut

By | Monday January 13, 2014 @ 3:36pm PST

Helix - Season 1A killer virus being barely contained in the Arctic was the launch point for Syfy’s new thriller series Friday. While that’s the premise of the series, Helix wasn’t exactly bubonic with viewers for its premiere. Despite a strong visual and panel Comic-Con presence last summer plus some hefty promotion, the 90-minute Jeffrey Reiner-directed debut episode garnered just 1.8 million viewers at 10 PM. With a 0.6 rating, Helix pulled in 734,000 viewers in among adults 18-49 and 893,000 in the 25-54 demo. That’s a far cry from the 2.7 million total viewers the channel drew for Defiance when that debuted on April 15, 2013. That two-hour Monday opener had 1.3 million among the 18-49 and 1.4 million among adults 25-54, Syfy’s top total viewers and 25-54 performances since 2009’s Warehouse 13. To give some further context of where Helix stands in the Syfy universe right now, Warehouse 13 had 3.5 million viewers with a 2.5 household rating,  1.7 million adults 25-54 and 1.3 million adults 18-49 for the third best viewership debut for any Syfy series behind 2004’s Stargate Atlantis (4.2 million) and 2006’s Eureka (4.1 million). Read More »

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Syfy Picks Up ‘Legion’ Adaptation ‘Dominion’ To Series

By | Wednesday December 4, 2013 @ 1:31pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

eganThings are starting to move quickly at Syfy. In one of the fastest turnarounds at the cable network — known for its lengthy, laborious decision-making process — Dominion has been picked up to series a mere four months after it was greenlighted to pilot. The series, from Universal Cable Prods. and Bold Films, will be filmed in Cape Town, South Africa for a 2014 premiere. “Dominion will continue Syfy’s new strategy to commission stand-out genre series that deliver the high-stakes, sci-fi/fantasy experience our audience demands and embraces,” said Syfy president Dave Howe. Based on characters from the 2010 feature Legion, Dominion is an epic supernatural syfydrama set in the year 25 A.E. when an army of lower angels, assembled by the archangel Gabriel, has waged a war of possession against mankind. The archangel Michael, turning against his own kind, has chosen to side with humanity against Gabriel. Rising out of the ashes of the 25-year-long battle are newly fortified cities which protect the human survivors. Dominion stars Christopher Egan, Tom Wisdom, Roxanne McKee, Alan Dale, Anthony Stewart Head and Luke Allen-Gale. Scott Stewart, who co-wrote and directed Legion, directed the pilot and executive produces with the film’s producers Michel Litvak and David Lancaster of Bold Films and the pilot’s writer Vaun Wilmott. Film Afrika serves as the local production entity in South Africa.

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