Sci Fi resurrection

Cabler keeps 'Stargate' alive after cancellation

The Sci Fi Channel has signed a deal with MGM TV to commission another 22 hourlong episodes of “Stargate: SG-1,” keeping the 5-year-old series alive following its cancellation by Showtime.

“There’s a lot of life left in the show,” said Bonnie Hammer, president of the Sci Fi Channel.

The “Stargate” order is the third Sci Fi bailout of an MGM fantasy series canceled by Showtime, following six years of “The Outer Limits” and three years of “Poltergeist: The Legacy.”

As with the Showtime arrangement, MGM will continue to sell “Stargate” in TV syndication, protecting Sci Fi’s exclusivity by withholding each episode for up to six months before it becomes available to TV stations.

The syndication platform, and sales of the series outside the U.S., will allow MGM to keep ponying up a relatively pricey $1.3 million an episode to produce the series in Vancouver. Series is heavily dependent on expensive special effects.

Sci Fi’s first season, and the sixth overall, gets under way in January, and Sci Fi will start scheduling the firstrun episodes in June.

Three months later, Sci Fi will start stripping reruns of the first four seasons of “Stargate” based on a previous deal struck with MGM. Hammer said the network will engineer full-scale cross promotion of the originals and repeats, beginning in fall 2002.

Richard Dean Anderson continues as the star of the series. Anderson is also co-executive producer, with Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner, Robert Cooper and Michael Greenburg.

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