It's going to be a big summer for Sci Fi Channel -- and only some of it has to with its new moniker.
The NBC Universal Cable vehicle will begin its summer programming push with a marathon on Memorial Day, air a batch of new telefilms, introduce news series Warehouse 13, and present new episodes of Eureka, which is switching to a new night, and its Ghost Hunters franchise.
Sci Fi, which will become Syfy on July 7, will begin the traditional start of summer with a Memorial Day Land of the Lost marathon from 8 a.m to 4 a.m., tied to the theatrical release of the same name, based on the 1970s television cult classic. Starring Will Ferrell, Anna Friel and Danny McBride, Universal's Land of the Lost movie opens nationwide on June 5.
or Independence Day, Sci Fi will present its annual Twilight Zone marathon, running from Thursday, July 2, through Saturday, July 4. The stunt features episodes from the 1980s version of the series, as well as its classic progenitor.
On the same day it's rechristened, the network will bow the two-hour pilot of Warehouse 13 at 9 p.m. The show, which has 13 additional installments, centers on two Secret Service agents, who find themselves abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in South Dakota, which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse's caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly, pictured with McClintock) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the warehouse, as well as helping him to control the building itself.
Also on the scripted front, Eureka returns Friday July 10 at 9 p.m. Season 3.5 picks up with mid-season cliffhanger involving Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) being removed from his job as Eureka's sheriff and Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) announcing that she is expecting her recently deceased husband's baby.
Eureka was the most watched scripted series on Sci Fi in 2008, averaging 3 million viewers per week, according to network officials.
As for Sci Fi reality series, Ghosts Hunters International returns July 8 at 9 p.m., before a new season of its forbear bows in August. A spin-off of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, which averaged 2.3 million viewers during its rookie campaign, features real-life "ghost-busters" traveling to Austria, Ireland, Italy, Chile, Argentina and the Czech Republic in pursuit of the truth behind bizarre supernatural claims. The first six episodes of season two will air this summer with additional episodes continuing in 2010.
Meanwhile, the original is scheduled to reemerge on Aug. 19 at 9 p.m. Ghost Hunters , which centers on the adventures of TAPS, The Atlantic Paranormal Society, remains one of cable's hottest shows: it has averaged more than 3 million viewers during its fifth season, which premiered on March 11.
Not neglecting one of its favored forms, Sci Fi will unveil a quartet of telefilms:
Malibu Shark Attack, starring Peta Wilson, emanates from an underwater earthquake that generates a tsunami striking Malibu that brings a hunting pack of prehistoric-looking goblin sharks to the surface; High Plains Invaders, featuring James Marsters, looks at an early 20th mining town century that is invaded by giant insectoid alien creatures whose mission to mine uranium to fuel their spaceship leaves carnage it is wake; Hellhounds, directed by Rick Schroeder, follows a young Greek warrior who risks a journey to Hades to rescue his poisoned wife from the God of the Underworld and bring her back to life; and Sand Serpents, starring Jason Gedrick, follows a platoon at an isolated Taliban outpost in Afghanistan facing the terror of giant worm-like creatures.