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Friday, 23 February, 2001, 13:18 GMT
Battlestar Galactica set for TV return
Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica cost $1m per episode
Cult 1970s science fiction series Battlestar Galactica could be revived under plans put forward by X-Men director Bryan Singer.

Singer has signed a deal with production company Studios USA to resurrect the series with a view towards producing and possibly directing a new series for network television.

Bryan Singer
Bryan Singer transformed X-Men from a cartoon to a movie
Battlestar Galactica first appeared on TV in 1978, riding the wave of interest in science fiction generated by Star Wars.

It ran for two years before being cancelled, although TV movies based on the series have also been made.

Lorne Greene starred as the commander of the title vessel, leading a rag-tag convoy of ships seeking the ancient mother world of their race, Earth.

'Sleeping giant'

Singer, a fan of the original series, believes the brand retains international appeal.

"The lesson I learned on X-Men is to have a healthy respect for the fan base of sci-fi fantasy franchises, and I'm confident that the Galactica brand is a sleeping giant,'' he said.

X-Men earned more than $150m (103m) at the US box office, and Singer has been lined-up to make a sequel.

Wolverine from X Men
X Men earned more than 103m at the US box office
"It was a show I watched during its initial run, from the pilot to the final episode," he said of Galactica.

"The essence and the brand name is quite potent in a climate where there's a great deficit of sci-fi programming," he added.

There have been several rival attempts to revive the original show, with cast members and the show's original producer Glen Larson all looking to bring a version to screens.

Richard Hatch, one of the original stars of the TV series, has been working towards a revival of the series for many years.

'Hard-core fan'

The actor has produced a trailer for a new series - which is not connected to the Singer-led revival - which he has used to generate interest in a resurrection of the show.

David Kissinger, one of Singer's partners in the planned revival, admitted he was wary when he first heard of the director's interest.

The visual imagery Bryan's talking about is unprecedented in its effects and scope

David Kissinger, USA Television

"I never dreamed a filmmaker of Bryan's stature would be enough of a hard-core fan that he saw this as a franchise that could be reinvented,'' Mr Kissinger, of USA Television said.

"In the initial meeting, I was wary that he might be just another feature guy looking to slap his name on a TV project, but it was immediately clear this wasn't so. He's got a whole mythology and arc for the series already worked out.''

The original series was the highest budgeted drama of its time with each episode costing more than $1m.

A reinvention would be more expensive today, but Kissinger is confident he can find the funds.

"We'll shop it right away with the goal of having it in a prime-time slot on a network, but it's possible that we might be able to do a dual window scenario with the Sci-Fi Channel,'' he said.

He added: "With Bryan's vision and a brand name which has international appeal, we're optimistic we'll be able to make it on the grand scale he imagines.

"The visual imagery he's talking about is unprecedented in its effects and scope.''

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