NBC adds yet another miniseries to its 2008-2009 lineup

Is NBC getting back into the movie
business? EW.com has learned that the Peacock may be developing yet another
big-tent miniseries for the fall season — this one starring Marla
Sokoloff (Big Day) as a brilliant scientist who helps to save the day
when a meteor strikes Anytown, U.S.A. An NBC spokeswoman wouldn’t
comment, but a source close to the project says Billy Campbell (Once
& Again
) and Stacy Keach (Prison Break) are also attached.

This appears to be the third miniseries that NBC exec vice president
Teri Weinberg has greenlit for the new season. The network already
announced it’ll air The Last Templar, a four-hour miniseries based on
the bestselling novel by Raymond Khoury, that’ll star Mira Sorvino and
Scott Foley, and XIII, a thriller featuring Val Kilmer that’s based on
a European comic book of the same name.

The movies, which will likely
air on Sundays once pro football is over, mark a new direction for NBC
and broadcast TV in general. Original flicks, especially big-ticket
ones exec produced by the likes of Robert Halmi Sr. (Gulliver’s Travels), used to be treated as
crown jewels at NBC because they had the ability to attract huge
audiences (in fact, the network excelled in disaster miniseries like
Asteroid in 1997). But the networks began to sour on the form because
the movies are costly, eat up promotional space, skew old, and don’t
repeat. As a result, the Peacock canceled its Monday movie franchise
at the end of the 1996-97 TV season while CBS finally threw in the
towel on its Sunday movie franchise after the 2005-06 TV season. Now, HBO is pretty much the only go-to place for big-ticket
miniseries like the recent John Adams and the upcoming war epic The
Pacific
, which is exec produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

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