Sci Fi Renews ‘Sanctuary’

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Sci Fi Channel said it greenlit production on a second season of the series Sanctuary, starring Amanda Tapping.

The NBC Universal-owned network said it ordered an additional 13 hours of the hour-long Friday-night drama, which drew 3 million viewers to its Oct. 3 premiere, the most for a new show on Sci Fi since Eureka in 2006. Episodes two through five have averaged 2.2 million total viewers each on their initial airings, according to the channel. Including the series premiere, it’s averaging more than 2.5 million total viewers per episode, with a 1.7 average household rating of 1.7, a 70% improvement over the network's performance in the 10 p.m. Friday timeslot a year ago.

Production on season 2 starts early next year in Vancouver, B.C.

Sanctuary, as described by the network,follows the adventures of the beautiful, enigmatic and always surprising Dr. Helen Magnus (Tapping), a brilliant scientist who holds the secrets of a clandestine population — a group of strange and sometimes terrifying beings that hide among humans. Along with her new recruit, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), her quirky tech wiz Henry (Ryan Robbins) and her fearless daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), Magnus seeks to protect this threatened phenomena as well as unlock the mysteries behind their existence. The series also stars Christopher Heyerdahl as the sinister John Druitt.

The show is notable for its extensive use of green-screen technology to simulate interiors (such as the sanctuary itself, a converted cathedral) and exterior locations, including the Hindu Kush in one episode.

It was created (first as a Web series) by Damian Kindler, a writer and producer of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, two shows that starred Tapping as Samantha Carter. It’s produced in association with Sci Fi Channel and distributed by Tricon Films and Television. Season 2 will be executive produced by Kindler, Tapping, Martin Wood, Keith Beedie, and N. John Smith, all Stargate veterans.

Mark Stern, executive vice president of original programming at Sci Fi & co-head of original programming at Universal Cable Productions, said in a release: “Sci Fi will continue to trail blaze the television landscape by further exploring the many worlds of Sanctuary through its unique green-screen environments. Technology and great storytelling makes Sanctuary a fantastic addition to Sci Fi’s 2009 lineup.”

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