Sci Fi to update 'Oz' with 'Tin Man'

“The Wizard of Oz” is getting a makeover, morphing into “Tin Man,” an edgy science-fiction fantasy to be produced as a $19 million, six-hour miniseries for the Sci Fi Channel.

“Our goal is to take ‘Wizard of Oz’ to the next level and make it relevant, modern and fresh to a new generation,” said Dave Howe, general manager of Sci Fi Channel. The producer is Robert Halmi’s RHI Entertainment, which produced a previous mini for Sci Fi, the 2004 “Legend of Earthsea.”

The writers of “Tin Man,” Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle, also will serve as co-exec producers with Robert Halmi Sr. and Robert Halmi Jr.

RHI has begun the search for a director and a cast, with production slated to begin in Vancouver early next year for a proposed air date on Sci Fi of December 2007.

Sci Fi’s license fee will cover less than half of the production budget, so RHI gets the international rights to “Tin Man,” with no participation by Sci Fi’s parent, NBC Universal. Sci Fi gets multirun, multiyear exclusive rights to the mini in the U.S.

Using adjectives such as psychedelic, twisted and bizarre to describe “Tin Man,” Sci Fi said the mini turns Dorothy into a young woman named DG, who finds herself plunged into a netherworld called the Outer Zone. Other celebrated characters are reimagined in “Tin Man”: the cowardly lion as a wolverine-like creature without backbone, the wicked witch as a sorceress called Azkadellia and the wizard as a larger-than-life figure called the Mystic Man.

“Tin Man” continues Sci Fi’s relationship with RHI, which will produce 10 original movies for the network in 2007.

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