Sci Fi Channel is getting into business with Steven Spielberg again by giving the green light to production of a 12-hour miniseries titled Nine Lives, executives said Thursday.
Nine Lives will focus on characters who are each grieving over the loss of a loved one and somehow discover how to reunite with them in the afterlife through near-death experiences, Sci Fi executives said during parent company NBC Universal Cable's portion of the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena.
Sci Fi collaborated with Spielberg on the Emmy-winning 2003 miniseries Steven Spielberg Presents Taken. Les Bohem, who wrote Taken, also will pen the script for Nine Lives and will serve as an executive-producer with Spielberg.
Meanwhile, USA Network said it has picked up two more seasons of its detective series Monk along with rerun rights to all six seasons of the show, which ranks among basic cable's highest-rated original series. Monk's Season 5 and 6 orders are for 16 episodes each, USA said. It plans to start airing the reruns in 2008.
In other NBC Universal Cable announcements Thursday:
--Sci Fi has announced three reality series: Who Wants to Be a Superhero? will follow Stan Lee as he challenges contestants to create their own superhero in a six-episode, one-hour series; Medium at Large is a six-episode, half-hour reality series that follows psychic Char Margolis; The Gift is a six-episode, one-hour reality series that follows eight people who compete in a "boot camp for intuitives" to test their psychic abilities.
--Sci Fi also is developing a scripted comedy drama titled The Bridge in which a group of cynical, flawed souls are trapped in purgatory and must effect positive changes to get out.
--Also in development at Sci Fi is a series titled Warehouse 13, about a federal forensic accountant and an assistant US attorney banished to a storage facility after bungling a government case.
--Sci Fi and BBC Worldwide Americas announced a licensing deal for the first series of the latest Doctor Who adventures.
--Bravo announced a new reality competition series titled Top Chef, featuring 12 aspiring chefs who are evaluated by judges. The show premieres at 11 p.m. March 8.
--Bravo also announced a new reality series titled Work Out, centered on gym owner Jackie Warner and her trainers and clients, set to premiere in the third quarter.
--Bravo announced BrilliantButCancelled.com, a broadband channel dedicated to programming "canceled before its time." It will launch this year.