LOWDOWN ON THE UPFRONT: ‘Caprica’ On Sci-Fi’s Launch Pad

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New York--A Battlestar Galactica prequel and a remake on the classic tale Alice In Wonderland are part of Sci Fi Channel’s slate of upcoming programming, the network announced Tuesday.

During its upfront presentation here Tuesday night, Sci Fi said that it has green-lit production on Caprica, a two-hour backdoor pilot prequel of its popular series Battlestar Galactica. The show’s fourth and final season launches later this month.

To check out Edward James Olmos, who portrays Admiral William Adama on the series, and other Sci-Fi stars on the red carpet before the network's upfront, click here.

Caprica takes place 50 years before Battlestar Galactica and follows two rival families competing within the world of the 12 colonies before the eventual rise of the Cylons, according to Sci Fi executives.

The network has also commissioned a six-hour miniseries dubbed Alice, a modern day-retelling of Alice In Wonderland. Writer/director Nick Willing and executive-producers Robert Halmi, Sr. and Robert Halmi, Jr. – who teamed up with Sci Fi to update The Wizard of Oz tale Tin Man last December, the most-watched show in the network’s history – will also helm the Alice project.

Other original scripted series and miniseries announced include True Believer, a two-hour backdoor pilot from actress Rosario Dawson about a 20-something comic book nerd who teams with a washed up real-life superhero to save the world; The Stranded, a two-hour pilot based on the comic book released in January as part of Sci Fi’s recent partnership with Virgin Comics; and Deputized, a two-hour pilot in which an “average Joe” finds himself possessing special abilities after being fitted with an alien exoskeleton.

On the reality front, the network this summer will return Ghost Hunters spin-off Ghost Hunters International, as well as hidden camera show Scare Tactics – hosted by comedian Tracy Morgan (30 Rock); and Mind Control With Derren Brown.

New shows include Estate Of Panic, in which contestants have to navigate through a “haunted” estate to find a million dollar cash prize; and Brain Trust, in which a band of geniuses help everyday people find solutions to everyday problems.

The network in May will also premiere a special, Mystery Of The Crystal Skulls, which explores the real story of the search for the legendary crystal skulls portrayed in the upcoming movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Sci Fi will air all three Indiana Jones movies prior to the special, according to executives.

Sci Fi is also buttressing its cyberspace presence with the fourth-quarter launch of a Web-exclusive series Starcrossed on Scifi.com. David Hewlett (Stargate Atlantis) penned the series that takes a comical look at life behind the camera at a long-running science-fiction space soap. 

Video gamers will have their own area on the site beginning in April, featuring blogs on information relevant to the gamer lifestyle. For those who want in on the action, the network will also debut next month a game center, where users can play classic games like “Asteroids” and new games based on Sci Fi shows. 

Battlestar fans can also experience life as a Cylon in a new social game that will launch on the site. After choosing to participate as a Cylon or a human, players will be able to engage the enemy and attempt to accrue points for their respective teams through online games and challenges.

The Scifi.com site will also steam the first episode of the new Battlestar Galactica season nine hours before its April 4 premiere, said the network. In addition, the network will stream 10 short serialized Webisode chapters, complementing the series' swan song. 

 For more coverage on Madison Avenue's upfront selling season, click here.

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