Supernatural gumshoe on Sci Fi slate

Blackthorne plays Chi detective with wizardly powers

The Sci Fi Channel has engineered an 11-episode commitment to “The Dresden Files,” a contemporary supernatural detective series from Lionsgate TV and Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Films.

“We shot the two-hour pilot to make sure that we could successfully mix the mediums of a noir detective franchise with fantastical elements,” said Mark Stern, exec VP of original programming for Sci Fi Channel.

Paul Blackthorne (“24,” “Deadwood”) plays Harry Dresden, a Chicago-based private eye with wizardly powers. Detectives consult him about crimes that look as though they were committed by miscreants with extraordinary abilities.

Shot in Toronto, “Dresden Files” should cost about $1.7 million per episode, pricey for a scripted cable original but cheaper than Sci Fi’s “Battlestar Galactica.”

Stern said Sci Fi’s goal with “Dresden” and another contemporary greenlit series, “Eureka,” is “to broaden the network’s reach and appeal to viewers who might gravitate to speculative fiction but might not be hardcore science-fiction fans.”

Sci Fi plans to premiere “Dresden” in January. David Carson directed the pilot, whose title character comes from a series of bestselling books by Jim Butcher. The writers of the pilot, Hans Beimler and Robert Wolfe, will serve as executive producers of the series, along with Cage, Norm Golightly and Morgan Gendel.

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