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Atlantis, U TV share ‘Tekwar’

Atlantis Films and Universal Television are joining forces to bring William Shatner’s “Tekwar” novels to the small screen.

MCA-TV will explore a possible firstrun rollout for the proposed big-budget sci-fi series at next week’s National Assn. of Television Programs Executives confab, but the studio also is exploring network and cable sales.

Atlantis, in association with Universal and Shatner’s Lemli Prods., will initially produce a two-hour movie pilot.

A Toronto shoot is skedded for early summer 1993 with tentative broadcast later this year, according to Peter Sussman, topper of Atlantis’ L.A. office.

Sussman and Shatner will be co-exec prods.

Shatner also is slated to direct the pilot and occasionally act in the project. Atlantis partner Seaton McLean will be the producer.

A writer has not yet been attached to the project.

Budget has not been finalized, per Sussman, since the cost of production design and special effects is currently being assessed. But he told Daily Variety it would run into “millions of dollars.”

Computer graphics

The production will utilize pricey computer graphics technology–some of which was used on “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”–to create a unique look for the futuristic city.

“Tekwar” is based on Shatner’s series of four science fiction novels, set in the year 2043. The story centers around an ex-cop who has been framed for the crime of dealing an illegal electronic mind stimulant, Tek. Prospective television series would follow cop’s release from prison and search for unknown adversaries.

In addition to “Tekwar’s” potential as an action/adventure series for firstrun syndication, conventional or cable nets, Sussman says they also are considering an option to produce a series of two-hour movies, “like an event film,” to air at certain times during the year.

Distribution rights

Universal is “putting up the lion’s share” of production dollars and will retain worldwide distrib rights, excluding Canada, which will be handled by Atlantis’ distrib arm, Atlantis Releasing.

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