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Sci Fi picks up Battlestar Galactica



"It will likely be one of cable's more expensive drama series, with production estimates as high as $1.5 million per episode."

Anyone remember how much Farscape was per episode? One reason Sci Fi gave when cancelling it was how expensive it was to produce and now they take on a show that will cost $1.5 million per episode? :mad:

I enjoyed the Battlestar "mini-series" but I miss Farscape terribly.

B5 cost just under a million an episode and it went out of production five years ago. The Trek shows that overlapped with B5 cost from 2 to nearly 3 million per. I'm not sure what Farscape cost, or how much of the cost Sci-Fi itself picked up. With a Galactica series Universal, which owns Sci-Fi, will be the producing studio, and the network will probably be part-owner of the show, which was not the case with Farscape. Any way you slice it that means the NBC-Universal gets all of the ancillary revenue generated by the show - overseas sales, home video, syndication, etc., which, again, was not the case with Farscape. Depending on which pocket they want to take what money from, they could have Sci-Fi pay a relatively modest license fee to air the series (which keeps it budget under control and makes money available for other projects) while Universal takes a loss during production and makes its money on the back-end with all the other revenue. This is essentially what Paramount did with Voyager and Enterprise, and before that it syndicated TNG and DS9 for their first run on attractive terms and ate the deficit while the shows were shooting, then went into the black with the reruns, foreign sales, VHS, laserdisc and DVD releases.

So it isn't simply the per episode budget that drives these things, it is the network's actual return on its investment. With Farscape (or a Rangers series, since WB turned down Sci-Fi's bid to own a piece of the project) the network pays "X" dollars per episode to air the show, and makes its money selling advertising time. That's it. It makes no other money off the series. If the per episode fee the producers or studio charges is too high, the network can't make a profit keeping the show on the air. I'm not sure how things stand now, but I do know that after September 11th 2001 an already growing "advertising recession" became much worse and the rates stations and publications could charge for ads dropped sharply. There were simply too few dollars chasing too much advertising capacity. A number of magazines and even newspapers went out of business because they couldn't sell enough ad pages, or couldn't sell them for enough money. If Sci-Fi were still in that kind of position last year, it becomes understandable that they'd drop Farscape if it were costing them more than they expected to make in ads. If the producers weren't willing to bear more of the cost by lowering their license fee (which would have been an option) then the show would have to be cancelled.


Thanks for the reply Joe. Insightful as always. :)

It sounds like Sci-Fi is in a better position with BG than they were with Farscape.

Sci Fi picks up Battlestar Galactica? Not so fast.

Galactica Options Picked Up

"But the pickup did not signal any official decision about the fate of a possible Galactica series, despite rumors on the Internet to the contrary."

"SCI FI said that no decision has come from the network on whether a series will be given the green light."

Personally, I HOPE it gets picked up, IF JMS' project is not in competition for the same money.
Well, first let me say Joe is absolutely right...Farscape was very expensive with little return for Sci-Fi and given the economy, it was the only choice to make...so they killed it and picked up Stargate which is much less expensive to produce. However, there is a move to make a Farscape mini-series that will allow O'Bannon to complete the arc finally...let's hope it comes to pass.

And Joe is correct that Universal/Vivendi owns Sci-Fi and BG, so that makes the series very cost effective in many ways. Understand, Universal has been wanting its own SF franchise for years...now with an apparent growing trend for audiences in SF once more, Universal is jumping on its chance to make its own Star Wars, B5, Trek, Stargate (SG-1 and Atlantis), or Dr. Who (which is also returning).

In fact according to sources I know...the series was a go from the start. As of the airing of the mini-series approximately 12 ep's were already in the can. The whole thing was supposed to be a big surprise and launch during February sweeps, but Sci-Fi and Universal decided not to make the same mistake that was made with the series in the 70's, and slow down, take their time and make sure they do it right. There is supposed to be ( a la B5 ) a 5 year arc to the series. Where it will go after that...who knows...guess that will depend on it's survival, ratings and following at that time.

To my knowledge all of the cast did indeed sign on. Wish I could say more...

Peace. :D
Forgot to say...it is now supposed to launch sometime in May...at least that is the last I've heard...which makes sense...May sweeps is usually good to SF.
Actually I thought the cable channels weren't involved in "sweeps", which only set the ad rates for local broadcast channels. (The national networks and cable/satellite channels are covered by the Nielsen national overnights.) My impression was that they usually counter-program by running their big stuff in non-sweeps periods to avoid being buried by all the stunt programming the networks usually schedule to help the local affiliates, not to mention all the special programs broadcast independents are running and the sudden influx of massage parlor, strip club and housewife hooker stories the local stations manage to run in off-network hours four times a year. That's why SFC often debuts the new season of its shows during the summer, and why December has historically been SFC's best ratings month.


While you are correct about the way cable runs sweeps, they don't always counter program. For instance, Sci-Fi is continuing to run Stargate through February sweeps. May is a good month for SF, most networks have wrapped their seasons for their big shows and people are looking for something new to watch since it's not quite summer yet...notice a lot of shows will make a debut or midseason return around that time. I don't know for sure if BG will premier then or not...that is what my source has told me was the latest plan...I can assure you though that the show is a go, was a go, and will be a series.


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