Syfy is having its Upfront tonight, during which they present their schedule and slate of projects in development to potential advertisers, and the announcements are flowing. An adaptation of a Stephen King novel into a miniseries, a new Charlaine Harris weekly series, a great movie being adapted into a weekly series, and a whole load of new reality shows may be in our future. Where to begin? We’ll break this down into manageable bites, but have included the entire press release below for your study.
First up, new series! We’ve already told you about some of these, but now we’re getting official word. For scripted series, Syfy is now confirming that Defiance, the series that will affect and be affected by the game of the same name, will be coming in 2013.
All other new series on or soon to be on the schedule are unscripted/reality shows – eight of em! – one of which, Hot Set, is a spinoff of the special effects makeup competition show FaceOff.
In development (so, not yet ready to schedule, and maybe not even yet in production) WOW. A series based on another book series by the author of the True Blood books, Charlaine Harris, Grave Sight. An Adjustment Bureau series is also in development, and we’ve been telling you already about the Jack Bender-directed Rewind which is currently in production. The Bryan Fuller-written script based on the book The Lotus Caves that we told you about in August 2010 is finally making the list, now under the name High Moon. The Platinum Studios comic Grey Legion is being developed under the title Seeing Things.
The Family, a hidden-aliens-amongst-humans series, is being written by Dan Harris (Superman Returns, X2) and executive producers include Neal Moritz (Total Recall) and Mark Verheiden (Falling Skies, Battlestar Galactica). We’ve already told you a tiny bit about the Untitled Booster Gold series, and rounding out the in-development group is the space-based Defenders.
One of the most exciting announcements about scripted programming development is Syfy‘s “longform” (miniseries) adaptation of Stephen King‘s Eyes of the Dragon, co-written by Michael Taylor (Defiance, Battlestar Galactica) and Jeff Vintar (I, Robot). Other longforms in development are submarine-exploring-hidden-ocean-revealed-by-earthquake miniseries One Mile Straight Down, and modern-technology-disappears-and-magic-takes-over miniseries Darkfall.
Finally, Syfy announced no fewer than 17 reality shows in development, from the study of fanboys and fangirls to cosplay stars to competitions to real life Alphas; it should prove interesting to see which ones actually make it on to the schedule, and when.
Whew! Now for the details, or at least as many as they’re ready to disclose:
April 24, 2012
SYFY IGNITES THE IMAGINATION WITH MOST ORIGINAL PRIMETIME PROGRAMMING HOURS
RECORD 28 SCRIPTED AND REALITY PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT
EPIC TRANSMEDIA EVENT DEFIANCE TO PREMIERE IN 2013
NEW YORK – April 24, 2012 – Coming off Syfy’s most watched First Quarter ever in total viewers, Adults 18-34 and key women demos, Syfy and Chiller President Dave Howe today ignited the imagination of the advertising community by unveiling the next phase of the channel’s largest original programming slate in history. This will feature Syfy’s most original primetime hours ever, a record 28 scripted and reality development projects and the 2013 premiere of the highly-anticipated Defiance, the visionary transmedia experience that will unite television and Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) gaming for the very first time.
Said Howe: “Syfy’s Upfront celebrates the power of Igniters, our influential audience who has the highly coveted ability to move brands forward faster. This audience Imagines Greater and, as a result, we will be bringing them the most groundbreaking entertainment phenomenon in 2013. Nearly four years in the making, Defiance is the first ever, weekly scripted television and Massively Multiplayer Online game, converging to create a singular, interactive and epic story. Along with this unprecedented experience, we will be unveiling our most ambitious development slate ever of relevant and contemporary original programming.”
The diverse Syfy reality slate features six new series: School Sprits, Paranormal Highway, Collection Intervention, Viral Video Showdown, Ghost Mine and, from the producers of the smash hit series Face Off, Hot Set. Unscripted development projects include a chilling “found footage” paranormal experiment; an extreme concierge company; Destination Truth’s Josh Gates transforming awesome ideas into awesome reality and the unearthly challenges of selling haunted houses.
Among the scripted development projects are adaptations of popular works by best-selling novelists such as Stephen King (Eyes of the Dragon), John Christopher (The Lotus Caves) and Charlaine Harris (Grave Sight), as well as the hit movie The Adjustment Bureau and the DC Entertainment Comic Booster Gold. Syfy further announced shows about a Fifth Column of feuding aliens and a time-traveling elite military squad.
This record expansion, including eight scripted development projects from Universal Cable Productions, builds upon the channel’s powerhouse lineup of hit series such as Warehouse 13, Being Human, Alphas, Face Off and Ghost Hunters. These programs have transformed Syfy into a top 10 cable entertainment network among Adults 25-54 for 16 consecutive years.
Said Mark Stern, President Original Content, Syfy, and Co-Head Original Content, Universal Cable Productions: “Over its 20 year history, Syfy has always pushed the boundaries of our genre and the entertainment experience. This new crop of innovative, thought-provoking, emotionally-charged programming will propel us even farther as we imagine all the greater possibilities ahead for the powerful Syfy brand.”
For the gala, star-studded Upfront event at the American Museum of Natural History, Syfy created an opportunity for guests to live like an Igniter – highly imaginative people who move brands forward as showcased in the channel’s groundbreaking study with Simmons/PSFK — along with celebrity Igniters from the worlds of business innovation (Sir Richard Branson), music (Young the Giant, DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid) and the culinary arts (Marcus Samuelsson).
Syfy is also expanding its multi-platform growth. Syfy Ventures announced a partnership with Hasbro to develop the first online social game based on the iconic G.I. JOE franchise. G.I. Joe: Special Ops, published by Syfy Games, will debut in June on Facebook and Syfy Games.com, among other platforms worldwide.
Continuing its expansion of original video content, mobile reach to new platforms and commitment to cutting edge technology, Syfy Digital unveiled four new initiatives, from its first ever unscripted program, new apps for Windows Phone and Roku and the upcoming addition of sync-to-broadcast functionality to its successful Syfy app for iPads and Android tablets for season three of the hit series Face Off.
A global brand, Syfy is currently available in 75 countries, reaching nearly 150 million households.
NEW SCRIPTED SERIES
Defiance – 2013 – Defiance is in collaboration with Trion Worlds, with the Syfy series and Trion’s multi-platform shooter MMO poised to debut simultaneously. The series stars Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Fionnula Flanagan, Mia Kirshner and Oscar-nominee Graham Greene. Set in the near future, Defiance introduces a completely transformed planet Earth, inhabited by the survivors of a universal war. Forced to co-habitate, the disparate group struggles to build a new society among the devastation. The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of the game will exist in a single universe where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story. Defiance is directed by Scott Stewart (Legion, Priest) and written/executive produced by Rockne O’Bannon (Farscape), Kevin Murphy (Desperate Housewives, Caprica, Hellcats) and Michael Taylor (Battlestar Galactica). Kevin Murphy serves as showrunner. Defiance is produced by Universal Cable Productions.
NEW REALITY SERIES
School Spirits – Premieres June 2012 – School Spirits will tell true ghost stories of hauntings that have happened at schools across the country. The stories will be told in first person narratives through the testimonials of real students, teachers, parents and staff that have encountered the paranormal activity, blended with bone-chilling cinematic reenactments to further bring the haunting experiences to life. Executive producers: Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice) and Seth Jarrett & Julie Insogna Jarrett (Celebrity Ghost Stories).
Paranormal Highway – Summer 2012 – Paranormal Highway puts the pedal to the metal as Jack Osbourne and Dana Workman investigate the most frightening claims of paranormal activity along America’s remote back roads. Fueled by eyewitness interviews and evidence collected by state-of-the-art equipment, Jack and Dana will travel alone, self-documenting their harrowing road trip while coming face-to-face with paranormal legends. Production company: BASE Productions. Executive producers: John Brenkus, Mickey Stern, Ron Ziskin.
Collection Intervention – Collection Intervention follows Elyse Luray, a sharp and to-the-point collectibles expert as she helps couples who are divided over what to do with an overwhelming collection of memorabilia. Whether it’s a husband’s collection of mint-condition G.I. JOE action figures worth thousands of dollars or a girlfriend’s treasure trove of Star Wars movie posters, Elyse helps couples decide what’s worth keeping and what they can sell. For each couple, their new cash windfall will make their dream come true, whether it’s an engagement ring, a down payment for a home, or the honeymoon they never had. Production company: High Noon Entertainment. Executive producers: Pam Healey, Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees, Jim Berger.
Hot Set – From the producers of Syfy’s hit series Face Off, Hot Set is an extreme design challenge pitting two Hollywood production designers each week in a head-to-head battle to design, build, decorate and ultimately create an original and signature movie set that transports the viewer into an immersive world. Production company: Mission Control Media. Executive producers: Michael Agbabian and Dwight Smith.
Viral Video Showdown – The greatest viral video creators on the planet go head-to-head each week in an epic battle for bragging rights and a cash prize. Two teams will have to dig deep into their bag of viral tricks to create a video that best captures that week’s theme and impresses the expert panel of viral video judges. Production company: 495 Productions. Executive producers: SallyAnn Salsano, Kevin Pereira.
Ghost Mine – In the remote woods of Oregon lays one of the richest gold mines in the United States. For the last 100 years, it has remained abandoned — until now. Soon to be re-opened by a scraggly group of miners, these hardy souls will battle the elements to find their fortune. But with a rich history of paranormal activity surrounding the mine, they may just find something else. Production company: 51 Minds. Executive producer: Mark Cronin.
Rewind – Rewind revolves around a team of military field operatives and civilian scientists who must use untested technology to travel back in time to alter events and change the future — and avoid a devastating terrorist attack. Shane McRae stars as Sean Knox, ex-Special Forces who ranks as a field operative in a special division of the Department of Homeland Security. The pilot also stars Jennifer Ferrin, Academy Award nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider), Robbie Jones and Keon Mohajeri, and is currently in production in Toronto. Jack Bender (Lost, Alphas) is directing the pilot, written by Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li), who will also executive produce with Tom Spezialy, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein. A production of BermanBraun and Universal Cable Productions.
The Adjustment Bureau – In this drama, based on the hit movie starring Matt Damon, guardian angel-type agents work to keep the world according to The Plan. They create everything from plane crashes to coffee spills in order to steer people to realize their true destiny. But there is one thing the operatives and their Chairman can’t control — free will. Writers: Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer (Melrose Place, Smallville). Executive producers: George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau, The Bourne Ultimatum), MRC, Slavkin and Swimmer. A production of Universal Cable Productions.
High Moon – Based on the novel, The Lotus Caves, by John Christopher, this imaginative, out-of-this-world series explores a world where the countries of Earth have established colonies to mine the Moon’s resources. When a new life form is discovered, chaos erupts as various factions race to uncover its powerful secrets. Executive producer: Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies). Co-executive producer: Jim Danger Gray (Pushing Daisies). Writers: Bryan Fuller and Jim Danger Gray. Executive producer: Granat Entertainment. A production of Universal Cable Productions.
Untitled Booster Gold Project – Based on the best-selling DC Entertainment Comic, this is the story of a washed-up athlete from the future who travels back to the present in hopes of becoming the greatest superhero of all time. But instead of chasing criminals, his main priority is chasing fame and money. Booster Gold discovers that being a hero takes more than just a megawatt smile. Writer: Andrew Kreisberg (Arrow, Warehouse 13). Executive producers: Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern, Arrow) and Andrew Kreisberg. Producers: Greg Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television. The Booster Gold comic book series is published by DC Entertainment, which will also act as an executive producer.
Grave Sight – From the best-selling author of True Blood, this Charlaine Harris book series follows Harper Connelly – a young woman with a unique gift. After being struck by lightning as a teenager, Harper can sense the location and last memories of dead people. She teams up with her protective stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, to help find a missing teenage girl — only to uncover a network of lies and murders throughout a small town in the Ozarks. Writer: Kam Miller (Law and Order: SVU). A production of Universal Cable Productions.
Seeing Things – Based on the comic Grey Legion from Platinum Studios, after a cop meets his violent demise, he returns as a ghost to close his last case. But the only person who can help him is a socially awkward man who is realizing for the first time that his hallucinations may not be all in his head. Writers: David Slack (Person of Interest, Lie To Me) and Gabrielle Stanton (Haven, The Vampire Diaries). Executive producers: David Slack, Robert Cort and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. A production of Fox Television Studios.
Defender – In the aftermath of an intergalactic war between humans and transhumans, the starship Defender, populated by a combustible mix of former enemies, is sent on a seemingly simple goodwill mission, which turns into a fight for their lives and for the safety of the Universe at large. Executive producer/writer: Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Alphas). A production of Universal Cable Productions.
The Family – For generations, an alien family has hid amongst humans in plain sight using their advanced intellect to carve out a life for themselves as their family grew. But when the family patriarch that kept peace amongst the factions dies, a war begins to brew with some members believing the time has come to reveal themselves, and their superior power, to the inferior human race. Writer: Dan Harris (Superman Returns, X2). Executive producers: Neal Moritz (21 Jump Street, Total Recall), Mark Verheiden (Falling Skies, Battlestar Galactica). A production of Sony Pictures TV.
LONGFORM 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.
One Mile Straight Down – When a powerful earthquake hits California and opens up a chasm bigger than the Grand Canyon, it reveals an enormous hidden ocean lying deep beneath the earth’s crust. Billionaire adventurer James Exeter works with the government to take an advanced nuclear submarine down to explore it and discovers more than he ever could have imagined. Writers: Skip Woods (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Naren Shankar (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) and Deran Sarafian (CSI: NY). Executive producers: Skip Woods, Naren Shankar and Deran Sarafian. A production of Universal Cable Productions.
The Genie – The Genie follows Steve Sims and his extreme concierge company, Blue Fish, as they make outlandish experiences and imaginative adventures come to life for their clients. Whether it’s rebuilding the chocolate river from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or experiencing life as a Hobbit, making the impossible possible is the job of “The Genie.” Production company: Smart Dog Media. Executive producer: Craig Plestis.
Stranded – In each episode of this frightening paranormal social experiment, a family or group of friends moves into an infamously haunted location, self-documenting their experience in total isolation. Production company: Ping Pong Productions. Executive producers: Brad Kuhlman, Casey Brummels, Josh Gates.
Awesome Foundation – In this new project starring Destination Truth’s Josh Gates, each week inventors, artists and regular people from all over the country pitch their amazing and imaginative ideas to the Awesome Foundation, a group dedicated to turning awesome ideas into awesome reality. The members grant their own money to the lucky three people with the best ideas, leading to a race to complete the projects in the given time and budget. Production company: Idiot Box Productions. Executive producer: Dan Taberski.
Exit – Based on the hit Japanese format, Exit is a nail-biting game show where two teams of contestants battle to escape three diabolical rooms. To do so, they must beat the clock while solving rapid-fire brain games and navigating booby-traps and bottomless pits. Production company: Zig Zag Productions. Executive producer: Danny Fenton.
Buyer Beware – What does someone do when they need to sell their house — but it’s haunted? They call in a real estate professional who specializes in matching haunted properties with eager buyers. In each episode, viewers will see what it takes to sell a home — still occupied by the spirits — and what kind of buyers have the guts to take it off the market. Production company: Zodiak USA. Executive producers: Natalka Znak, Claire O’Donohue.
Untitled Mark Burnett Project (wt) – From acclaimed producer Mark Burnett comes a competition show where fans of science fiction/fantasy books and movies compete to create the most flavorful and inspired dishes from the foods featured in the imaginary worlds that they love. Production company: Mark Burnett Productions. Executive producer: Mark Burnett.
Deadfinder – When the morgue drawer closes on a Jane or John Doe, rarely is it reopened. Deadfinder follows a group of mediums as they search through the vaults of cold cases using their paranormal skills to bring the mysteries of the murdered back to life. Production company: NorthSouth. Executive producers: Charlie DeBevoise, Mark Hickman.
Ghost Town, USA – Settled in 1677, Mount Holly, New Jersey, is a town teeming with reports of paranormal activity. And for the residents of this town, that’s just the way they like it. Ghost Town, USA follows the colorful characters and real drama that plays out among the town’s living residents, from renovating a haunted house to organizing the annual Witches Ball. Production company: Cream Productions. Executive producers: David Brady, Christopher Rowley.
The Wrights – Joe and Chris Wright are relatives of the famous Wright Brothers, but instead of building airplanes, this father-and-son-duo build paranormal contraptions to communicate with the dead. Each week the show follows the Wrights as they use their inventing ability to gain answers from the “other side.” Production company: Jarrett Creative Group. Executive producers: Julie Insogna Jarrett, Seth Jarrett.
Chris Cox Project – Young and charming, Chris Cox is the mind reader who can’t read minds. Cox has the mind-manipulating abilities of Derren Brown, the mischief of Ferris Bueller and the comic eccentricity of Mr. Bean all wrapped in a style uniquely his own. In everyday situations and locations – at a coffee shop, the post office, or just walking down the street – Chris amazes and confounds real people. Production company: Mission Control Media. Executive producers: Dwight Smith, Michael Agbabian, Erich Recker.
Divas of Dress Up – This program follows the six hottest cos-play stars as they push the boundaries of creativity and costuming in this docu-series that takes viewers inside the amazingly creative world of cos-play competition. Each week, the top women competitors transform themselves into fictional characters with visually arresting costumes, pushing the boundary between fantasy and reality. Production company: Skip Films. Executive producers: Skip Chaisson, Brian Gallagher.
Fan Girl/Fan Boy Project – From the producer of Jersey Shore comes a docu-series that celebrates the incredibly unique, often misunderstood and infinitely fascinating fan girl and fan boy cultures. Production company: 495 Productions. Executive producer: SallyAnn Salsano.
Limitless – Limitless is a cutting-edge series that recounts firsthand, true-life tales of ordinary men and women who discovered hidden powers – that they never knew existed – when faced with extreme life and death circumstances. Every story will explore the often unexplainable potential of the human body and psyche, leaving viewers to wonder what hidden abilities humans might possess. Production company: Karga 7. Executive producers: Kelly McPherson, Miriam Leffert, Sarah Wetherbee, Emre Sahin.
Superhumans – Superhumans uncovers the secrets of unbelievable stunts, record-breaking abilities and exceptional feats of human power and skill by putting real people through physical on-location challenges and a series of tests in a high-tech lab to answer the question: “How did they do that?” Production company: BASE Productions. Executive producers: John Brenkus, Mickey Stern.
Toy Traveler – Shane Turgeon, the Indiana Jones of toy collectors, travels to remote corners of the world to find the rarest and most valuable toys and collectibles. Whether it’s in an old toy warehouse in a remote Guatemalan town or a small swap meet in the Ukraine, Shane will go to all lengths to find the most unique and collectible toys. Production company: Jarrett Creative Group. Executive producers: Seth Jarrett, Julie Insogna Jarrett.
Master Control – Master Control is a weekly competition that pits user-generated videos against each other in a battle for viewer popularity. Each week, self-submitted videos must entertain the host, celebrity panel and the entire viewing audience, who are all simultaneously rating the video and anointing a winner. Production company: The Gurin Co. Executive producers: Phil Gurin, Kevin Pereira.
Stranger than Fiction – Stranger than Fiction is the only viral video clip show where comedians compete for laughs while commenting on and arguing over the strangest clips from the web. Good jokes earn points, while lame jokes lose them. At the end of the show, one comedian is crowned the irreverent victor. Production company: BASE Productions. Executive producers: John Brenkus, Mickey Stern.
Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 98 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)