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Business & Entertainment Editors
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 30, 1998--MAR 30,1998
Sci-Fi Channel Makes Largest Programming Acquisition in History of Network With MGM Worldwide Television Group for "The Outer Limits," "Stargate SG-1" and "Poltergeist: The Legacy"
Deal Includes 22 New Original Episodes of "Poltergeist: The Legacy"
Sci-Fi Channel and MGM Worldwide Television Group, a unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (NYSE:MGM), have completed a deal that grants the network exclusive basic-cable rights to three acclaimed sci-fi series -- "The Outer Limits," "Stargate SG-1," and "Poltergeist: The Legacy."
Additionally, 22 original new episodes of "Poltergeist: The Legacy" will be produced exclusively for Sci-Fi Channel to begin airing first quarter 1999. The exclusive acquisition of "The Outer Limits" and "Stargate SG-1" includes 132 episodes, each available in September 1999 and September 2002, respectively.
MGM will begin production on the fourth season of "Poltergeist: The Legacy" for Sci-Fi Channel this year. With the additional 22 episodes, there will be a total of 88 "Poltergeist: The Legacy" episodes for future Monday through Friday strip usage.
"This is the single-largest programming acquisition made in Sci-Fi Channel's five-and-a-half year history," said Kay Koplovitz, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of USA Networks Inc. (Nasdaq:USAI). "These three current, well-produced series will strengthen our schedule by giving it a fresher, more contemporary look and serve to complement our roster of ambitious original programming."
"We consider these three programs creatively and qualitatively consistent with this unique network's appeal, as well as its already-established viewer franchise," commented Rod Perth, president, entertainment, USA Networks. "We're delighted to be in business with MGM, and we firmly believe that these programs will be very successful in assuring Sci-Fi Channel's ability to move to the next level of growth."
"Four years ago, all of us at MGM set out to rebuild our television business through our commitment to quality programming. This new agreement with the Sci-Fi Channel further validates the inventiveness and effectiveness of our programming model," said John P. Symes, president, MGM Worldwide Television Group.
"Our USA Networks agreement will create both significant returns on our investment in the television business and lasting value to our company's brand extension as a premium provider of quality programming."
"Poltergeist: The Legacy," starring Derek de Lint, Helen Shaver, Robbie Chong, Kristin Lehman, and Martin Cummins, revolves around an ancient and influential society called "The Legacy." Hidden under the auspices of a well-known philanthropic institution in San Francisco, The Legacy is humanity's final line of defense against a growing evil presence. "Poltergeist: The Legacy" is produced by Trilogy Entertainment Group and executive producers Richard B. Lewis, Pen Densham and John Watson.
"The Outer Limits" is an Emmy- and CableACE Award-winning anthology series, which launched on Showtime in 1995, picks up where the classic 1960s series of the same name left off. Each episode is a celebration of the human imagination where new frontiers in technology, outer space and the human experience provoke our greatest hopes and worst fears. Storylines have explored the controversial and thought-provoking consequences of topics such as genetic manipulation, time travel, alien visitation and life after death. The series also is produced by Trilogy Entertainment Group and executive produced by Lewis, Densham and Watson. "Stargate SG-1," starring Richard Dean Anderson as Air Force Colonel Jack O'Neill, premiered on Showtime in June 1997. In the series, the Stargate is an ancient portal that allows instantaneous travel across the galaxy. O'Neill and Egyptologist Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) explore the uncharted regions of the universe searching for clues to save the Earth from destruction.
"Stargate SG-1" is executive produced by Jonathan Glassner, Brad Wright, Michael Greenburg and Richard Dean Anderson. MGM Worldwide Television Group handles television production and domestic television distribution for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The Group also manages MGM Animation in addition to all international pay- and free-television operations, including distribution, channel ownership and management, television program co-production, and MGM Gold, the studio's first satellite-delivered, branded Hollywood entertainment channel. Through MGM Worldwide Television Group, more than 4,000 feature films and 8,200 television episodes are available to the global television market. Its programming lineup includes "Stargate SG-1," "The Magnificent Seven," "The Outer Limits," "Poltergeist: The Legacy," "LAPD: Life on the Beat," the animated series "All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series," "RoboCop: Alpha Commando" and "The Lionhearts," as well as miniseries and made-for-television movies such as "12 Angry Men," "Peter Benchley's Creature," and "The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3." The Group operates its own barter company, MGM Advertiser Sales, and distributes its syndicated programming through MGM Domestic Television Distribution.
Sci-Fi Channel, a division of USA Networks, is available to 48.3 million homes and features a mix of original and classic science-fiction, fantasy, horror and futuristic series, movies and specials, plus science fact programming. Sci-Fi Channel is also available internationally in Latin America, Brazil, Europe and the South African countries. The Dominion, Sci-Fi Channel's Web site, is located at http://www.scifi.com . USA Networks is a diversified media and electronic commerce company with assets that include the following: the USA Network, the Sci-Fi Channel; USA Networks Studios, which consists of first-run production and distribution, TV movies and miniseries, and network production and development; USA Broadcasting, which includes the USA Station Group and SF Broadcasting; Home Shopping Network; and the Internet Shopping Network. USA also owns a controlling interest in Ticketmaster Group Inc. and has reached an agreement to acquire the remainder of the company.