Futuristic series journeys to new home

NEW YORK — The Sci Fi Channel has ponied up about $12 million to buy the exclusive rerun rights to Warner Bros. Cable’s “Babylon 5.”

Warner Bros. and Sci Fi declined to discuss financial details, but industry sources say Sci Fi will pay $97,500 an hour for 120 hours, covering 112 series episodes and four two-hour “Babylon 5″ movies. License term runs from September, when the series kicks off on Sci Fi nightly at 7, through December 2003.

Series, set on a space station in the year 2258, has taken an unusual distribution journey, starting in firstrun TV syndication, where it ran 1993-97. TNT bought the reruns for stripping during the 1997-98 season, commissioned the four two-parters and decided to keep the series in production for an additional season as a boost to its sister company Warner Bros. Cable.

Awarded an Emmy for visual effects in 1993, “Babylon 5″ was created by J. Michael Straczynski, who was also co-exec producer with Douglas Netter. Cast includes Bruce Boxleitner, Michael O’Hare, Richard Biggs, Andrea Thompson, Jeff Conaway, Bill Mumy, Jerry Doyle, Tracy Scoggins and Claudia Christian.

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