Sci Fi also reups 'Pain' skein

Sci Fi Channel has tapped “Six Feet Under” star Peter Krause to topline event series “The Lost Room” and has resurrected the dormant action pilot “Painkiller Jane,” ordering 22 one-hour episodes.

In addition, Sci Fi unveiled a hefty development slate featuring projects from Mark Burnett and Lynda Obst on Thursday during its portion of the Television Critics Assn.’s summer press tour.

Sister network Bravo, meanwhile, has renewed the docudrama “Real Housewives of Orange Country” for a second season and signed Joan Rivers, Paula Poundstone and Caroline Rhea to a trio of standup comedy specials.

Fresh episodes of Bravo’s “Housewives” will bow later this year. Though ratings were modest, skein ranked as the cabler’s youngest show with a median age of 34. Evolution Film & Tape produces.

Production Partners (“Kathy Griffin: Life on the D-List”) will produce the “Funny Girl” specials starring Rivers, Poundstone and Rhea. An air date has not yet been set. Bravo also has signed Padma Lakshmi to host the second season of culinary competition “Top Chef,” currently in production.

During the A&E session, cabler announced a third-season renewal for “Criss Angel Mindfreak,” a series commitment for new project “Confronting Justice” and a Paul McCartney concert special, “The Space Within Us,” slated for October.

Krause will star as an everyday sleuth in eight-hour “Lost Room,” previously called “Motel Man,” which Sci Fi greenlit to production earlier this year (Daily Variety, April 26). Produced by Lionsgate Television, project follows a detective who discovers a seemingly ordinary motel room key that opens up a portal to alternate worlds and lets loose a set of mundane objects with mysterious powers.

Production begins in New Mexico next week in time for a December premiere. Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom and Paul Workman are the creators of the show.

As for “Painkiller Jane,” a superhero actioner about a young Marine officer with self-healing powers, series order arrives more than a year after the pilot was shot. Show reps the third consecutive original series ordered by Sci Fi that falls outside the space-opera genre. Others are quirky small town drama “Eureka,” premiering July 18, and sleuth hour “The Dresden Files,” on the docket for later this year.

Casting for “Painkiller” has not yet been finalized but Emmanuelle Vaugier, Tate Donovan, Richard Roundtree and Eric Dane appeared in the pilot.

Vancouver-based Insight Film Studios and Kickstart Comics will produce the series based on the comic book of the same name by Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada. Show premieres in January, followed by a broadcast weekly syndication window in fall 2007. Details of the latter deal have not been disclosed.

Elsewhere at Sci Fi, projects in development include:

  • “Outpost,” a mini from Obst about a group of private explorers that travel to another planet to establish a new colony, only to discover artifacts from ancient civilations buried beneath the surface. Eric Jendresen (“Band of Brothers”) will pen the script.

  • “Devil’s Advocate,” a one-hour thriller from Mark Burnett, Dreamworks Television and exec producer-writer Jonas McCord centered on a theology professor hired by a global corporation to form a team of “devil’s advocates” who are charged with unraveling and explaining bizarre cases. NUTS will produce.

  • “With Doctor” revolves around a patient seeking alternative medical treatment who becomes imbued with his unconventional doctor’s otherworldly powers. Project comes from Ben Edlund (“The Tick”)

  • “Stoner,” from Jeff Kline, is set in a Los Angeles where real superheroes are the celebs. Story follows a “normal” slacker kid who is mistaken for a superhero he’s faced with deciding between telling the truth and going back into obscurity or figuring out a way to continue enjoying fame without getting killed.

And in the late night arena, Sci Fi is testing out three potential series: “George Noory,” a talker hosted by paranormal-focused radio host Noory; “Alien Invasion,” CGI animated -live action hybrid comedy about two hapless aliens’ attempts to take over the world from Dave Goetsch (“3rd Rock from the Sun”); and “Prove It,” a panel show attempting to prove or disprove sci fi myths from Mark DeCarlo and Mark Walberg.

At A&E, new episodes of “Criss Angel” are slated to bow early next year. Cabler’s

“Confronting Justice,” from New Line Television and Cinemaria, will follow victims of crime as they confront their offenders for the first time. A number of episodes and a premiere date are not yet set.

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