Pillers Return to 'The Dead Zone' TomorrowBy Michelle
June 11, 2005 - 8:34 PM
Michael & Shawn Piller's The Dead Zone returns for a fourth season tomorrow night, Sunday, June 12th, following another USA Network series created by Star Trek veterans, Ira Steven Behr and Rene Echevarria's The 4400.
Zap2It reports that while the stars and producers of The Dead Zone are pleased to have been first to discover a succesful niche now inhabited as well by NBC's Medium and CBS's Ghost Whisperer, it's a bit frustrating not to be getting the attention that Medium in particular has drawn.
"I don't know how I feel," admitted Lloyd Segan, who is an executive producer of The Dead Zone along with the father-and-son Piller team. "I'm thrilled for them, because any television show that succeeds as well they have is terrific. But there's a part of me that goes, 'Gee, they're getting all these accolades when we've been doing it for so long. What, we're the orphan child?'"
Based on a Stephen King novel, The Dead Zone follows the life of Johnny Smith - played by Anthony Michael Hall - who has psychic abilities that allow him to see the past and future. One recurring vision has shown him a nuclear holocaust brought about by a politician, Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flanery), whom in the novel he assassinates rather than allowing him to become President of the United States. In the series, this storyline is developing more slowly and Hall said that it would change significantly this season.
"The Stillson arc leads to a Chappaquiddick-type episode," explained Hall, referring to the incident at Chappaquiddick in which later Senator Edward Kennedy drove off a Massachusetts bridge and failed to rescue a female passenger from drowning. Hall also said that Stillson was headed to the White House, though "I don't know if it's vice presidential or what."
Because of the merger of Universal Television and NBC, The Dead Zone and Medium are owned by the same corporation. "We're all under the same umbrella," Hall said diplomatically. "This is America. There's room for everybody, right?"
Michael Piller said that his favourite kind of stories "explore what it's like to be Johnny Smith - what it's like to live with these powers, the moral and ethical dilemmas a psychic might face."
The Dead Zone will air tomorrow night at 10 p.m. EST on USA, following The 4400, which last week earned the largest premiere audience for a cable show this year with 5.3 million viewers, according to TrekWeb.