‘Cleo’ put on hiatus

Studios USA pulls plug on syndie action series

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Studios USA Domestic Television has pulled the plug indefinitely on the production of syndicated series “Cleopatra 2525,” filmed on the former set of “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” in West Auckland, New Zealand.

The company gave no reason for the “production hiatus,” saying only that it was evaluating the different forms the show may take in future.

The distributor does have enough episodes of the weekly in the can to continue its syndication run in the United States through December, sources said.

“Cleopatra 2525” is part of the weekly syndicated hour block “Back 2 Back Action,” which also includes the series “Jack of All Trades.” The block debuted midway through last season in the U.S., during the week of Jan. 17, largely in time periods previously occupied by now-defunct “Hercules.”

The new season of “Back 2 Back” is skedded to preem Oct. 2.

Bought by TV3

The Pacific Renaissance-produced “Cleopatra” had been bought by New Zealand’s TV3 although there were no plans to screen it this year.

“Cleopatra” stars Gina Torres (“Hercules”, “Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Profiler”), Jennifer Sky (“General Hospital, ” “Xena”) and Victoria Pratt (“Forbidden Island,” “Xena”).

The 160 Kiwi crew members, all independent contractors and, among them, many who have worked their careers to date solely for Pacific Renaissance, were told they would be out of work on Sept. 21.

However, the New Zealand Film and Video Technicians’ Guild was philosophical about the decision, saying productions come and go and Pacific Renaissance had been “very, very good to the local industry.”

A spokeswoman for Pacific Renaissance said the Lucy Lawless vehicle “Xena” was not under threat and filming on the current series would continue until the end of March.

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