Sabato stars in 1st TBS original film

'Reaper' skedded to start shooting this fall

NEW YORK — TBS Superstation announced that its first original movie is tentatively titled “Reaper” and will star Antonio Sabato Jr.

Shooting on the film is scheduled to begin this fall in Vancouver under the direction of Armand Mastoianni (“He Knows You’re Alone”).

Produced by Stephanie Germaine of Stephanie Germaine Prods. in association with Frank Von Zerneck and Robert Sertner of Von Zerneck-Sertner Films (“Robin Cook’s Invasion”), “Reaper” is scheduled to premiere on TBS in the first quarter of 1999.

The cable web plans to premiere three additional original movies during 1999.

Within the Turner family of networks, original films used to be the sole province of TNT. However, TNT’s sister network TBS Superstation has changed its programming philosophy in the last year.

Under its old programming strategy, most of the original programming on TBS consisted of originally produced nonfiction and documentary projects. With the exception of “National Geographic Explorer” — which remains on TBS — the non-fiction productions have been moved to CNN. For example, CNN is premiering its 24-part series “The Cold War” this month. “The Cold War” was originally conceived as a TBS project.

“Reaper” is scripted by Rockne O’Bannon (“Alien Nation”) from a novel by Ben Mezrich.

The story centers around a computer virus that evolves into a deadly organic disease. Sabato plays a doctor out to stop the killer program before it is unleashed on the population at large.

Sabato appeared in Kirk Wong’s thriller “The Big Hit.” He will star in the upcoming independent action thriller “High Voltage.”

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