Thesps take ‘Painkiller’

Roundtree, Donovan pact for Sci Fi skein

Tate Donovan and Richard Roundtree have signed to topline the series pilot “Painkiller Jane” for Sci Fi Channel.

Project received a go late last year (Daily Variety, Oct. 26) with NBC Universal TV Studios and MGM TV on board to produce.

“Jane,” based on Joe Quesada and Jim Palmiotti’s Event Comic, revolves around a young Marine officer exposed to a biochemical weapon that endows her with self-healing powers. Jane is forced to work covertly, fighting crime while running from military and medical officials who would exploit her gifts. Emmanuelle Vaugier (“Smallville”) stars in the title role.

Donovan will play a professor who aids Jane in figuring out her new abilities, while Roundtree will portray Jane’s commanding officer and mentor.

Eric Dane, who plays a street-smart thief who befriends Jane, and Walker Howard round out the cast.

“Jane” is one of two drama pilots in contention at Sci Fi for a series pick-up and summer premiere. The other project, titled “Eureka,” is in pre-production (Daily Variety, Jan. 14).

John Harrison (“Dune”), Don Opper and Greg Gold wrote and will exec produce “Jane.”

Donovan just wrapped his work playing Jimmy Cooper on Fox sudser “The OC.” Prior to that, he was a series regular on the NBC drama “Mister Sterling.”

Roundtree recently had a multi-episode arc on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” in which he played a professional hitman.

Elsewhere at Sci Fi, the premiere of “Battlestar Galactica” grabbed 3.1 million viewers for its Friday premiere. Two-hour event ranked first among all cabler programming among viewers 18-49, 25-54 and key male demos. Skein is the second highest-rated episode in Sci Fi history behind only last summer’s launch of Stargate Atlantis.”