Piller's 'Dead Zone' Returns To Life

By Christian
January 3, 2002 - 10:23 PM

'The Dead Zone' - copyright UPN USA Network today ordered a full season of The Dead Zone, the drama series headed by long-time Trek producer Michael Piller and starring DS9's Nicole deBoer (Ezri Dax).

The series, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, was originally developed for UPN as a possible midseason series. As UPN didn't turn out to have room for the show, USA Networks was able to pick up both the already-filmed pilot episode and order 22 addititional episodes.

The Dead Zone will tell the story of a young man, Johnny Smith, who has been in a coma for six years following a traffic accident. Upon awakening, he finds he has been given a new power - when he touches people, he can see a glimpse of their past or their future. The doctors say these are just hallucinations caused in a dormant part of his brain, the "dead zone," and Johnny is left to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. Anthony Michael Hall stars as Johnny, while De Boer plays his girlfriend, high school music teacher Sarah.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, USA will be paying close to $1 million per episode, making The Dead Zone the network's most expensive series ever. "We were blown away by the pilot," USA vice president Jeff Wachtel told the paper. "I think original programming and series in particular is the most important way for a network to differentiate itself from its competition, and what better way to do it than with [a project] that we believe in so strongly and that has such a great title and such a great team behind it."

The drama series will be executive produced by DS9 and Voyager co-creator Michael Piller, along with his son, Shawn Piller, and Lloyd Segan. The two studios involved are Lions Gate and Paramount, the latter of which predicted a successful future for the series. "It was arguably the most popular pilot we ever had at a Los Angeles Screenings event," said Paramount's Gary Marenzi. "This is the kind of story featuring an Everyman lead with universal appeal that transcends national and cultural boundaries."

Production on the series will start in March of this year in Vancouver, Canada, with the series expected to premiere as soon as this Summer.

Further information on this deal can be found in this Hollywood Reporter article or this Variety article.

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