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Last Updated: 18 October 2000


 

NEWS UPDATES FROM THE RICHARD BURGI FAN CLUB - Apr 12 1999

The RBFC recently sponsored an online charity auction and raised $6,469 in Richard's honor to benefit the National Audubon Society! The NAS was founded to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. The fan support was gratifying, and Richard was very excited to hear how much money was raised.

Richard recently appeared on Access Hollywood's Celebrity Home Tours, showing off his Laguna Hills bungalow. He has filmed another home tour for E! Entertainment Celebrity Homes and that will probably air in May or June. Airtimes will be posted as soon as they are set.

During his break from filming The Sentinel, Richard spent a week in Salt Lake City doing a guest appearance as a gambler in the TV show Touched by an Angel. This episode will be aired later this season.

His cameo guest appearance as a television action star in Joel Silver's pilot for Fox, called Action, has also kept Richard busy during his hiatus. From the insider reports, the show is very funny and adult-oriented. Further information about airdates will be posted when available.

The current issue of Israel's magazine Anashim (People) has an interview with Richard. A translation of this interview will be available soon at the SOS site.

(Thanks to the Official Richard Burgi Fan Club)


RICHARD BURGI INTERVIEW - THE JEWISH SIDE OF THE SENTINEL - Apr 14 1999

By Sari Shine

In an exclusive interview with Anashim (People) Magazine, Richard Burgi informs us about what we may expect in the fourth season, which will arrive in Israel within a few months. He tells us about his wife's Israeli relatives and is embarrassed to find out that he is considered a sex symbol.

Richard Burgi is The Sentinel Richard Burgi, star of the TV series The Sentinel, may not act as expected from a sex symbol. During the whole interview that we conducted over the phone, he kept on cooing to his two (and a few months), year old son Jack, who was sitting on his lap.

The image of the indulgent tender father may not have been the reason why the visitors at the Internet site of People Magazine have chosen him as one of the sexiest people in the United States, but in my opinion this only adds to his wonderful charm.

That's it, girls; in real life Burgi is the perfect family man and most probably you would be pleased to hear that he is even married to a Jewish girl who has relatives in Israel, and that his son Jack's Hebrew name is Chaim Yacov.

An interview by phone with an Israeli journalist caused some excitement at the home of the star and even more excitement at the home of the journalist. "I am talking with Israel, honey," Burgi called out to his wife, Lori Kahn, originally Lori Cohen. "I would really like to come and visit Israel," he added. "Lori's parents and brother have been to Israel and we also hope to come. Lori does not quite have details about her relatives in Israel. She would have to do some research regarding this matter. I also have a friend whose father is living in a kibbutz, but I have no idea in which one." At this stage, quite naturally, right from the editor's desk we turn to the public with the following fervent request: Anyone who has information about the whereabouts of the Israeli relatives of Lori and Richard Burgi, is kindly requested to contact the editor.

Meanwhile, the visit to Israel will have to wait because of Burgi's career. Burgi, 40, has starred in the TV series The Sentinel in the leading part of detective Jim Ellison for four seasons. For those who are not yet hooked on the series, now is the time.

This is the basic story: During his military service, Ellison was sent on a long secret mission to the jungle in Peru. After his return, he joined the Cascade police force as a detective. With the help of anthropologist Blair Sandburg (Garett Maggart), he finds out that his senses have become extraordinary sharp. These senses have been there from childhood, but they were dormant until the struggle for survival in jungle made them come out. Among others things, he can smell and see from a much larger distance than any regular human being.

Sandburg joins the police force and becomes Ellison's partner and friend. He moves in with him and they share a loft (Ellison's loft) as roommates. Besides the fantastic action scenes, their relationship becomes a crucial part of the series. And the combination of that with the humour, drama and fiction creates a wonderful series.

By the way, Burgi used to do most of the stunts himself. But after a few stitches and bruises on his head, he decided that he should not take too many risks and he became more selective regarding the stunts he would perform.

In the last episode of the third season his faithful partner Blair Sandburg was killed by another rising sex bomb, Jeri Ryan, starring in the science fiction series Star Trek: Voyager.

But at the beginning of the fourth season, which presently is being aired in the United States and which soon will come to our country, Sandburg comes back to life.

Sandburg easily could have stayed dead forever. At the end of the third season, UPN decided to take The Sentinel off the air. This was a sudden and weird decision, which quite upset Burgi. And as expected, also the many fans of the series. No one could have foreseen the amount of protest letters sent by thousands of fans to the network and to the parent company Paramount Studios.

This resulted to a fourth season with eight episodes. Presently it is not clear yet if a fifth season will be on the agenda. But we hope so. "We are still waiting to see if we will go back to work or not," says Burgi.

Did you feel pressure to prove the management of the network during the filming of the fourth season that they made a mistake by taking the series off the screen?

"Absolutely not. I tried, as usual, to do my work at the best of my abilities. I guess that the production was stressed. I was not."

Does it often happen in American TV that fans succeed to convince a network station to bring a series back on the screen?

"It may have happened, but not very often. Of course the pressure of the fans had quite an impact. But I think it was more a combination of factors: the pressure of the fans and the fact that the network realized that they are dealing with a good and successful series. The decision of ending the series was a politically based. And we all know that such decisions are usually not made with the best intentions."

Could you tell us a few things that will happen in the fourth season?

"I would not like to spoil the fourth season, but I can tell you that Sandburg will not stay dead. I will bring him back to life. The love between us causes a sparkle and he comes back to life," Burgi laughed.

The first episode of the fourth season features Jeri Ryan, who was chosen by the readers of TV Guide as the sexiest woman on TV. How was it to act with her? You and her, did the screen blow up with the sexuality?

"It was great. We had a good time. I think that in a way the situation was embarrassing for both of us, but for her even more. I did not have to run along the shore in a bikini. I am also not easily embarrassed. But we helped each other in such moments."

Is the fourth season different from the other seasons?

"Not really. Some of the episodes are crazier and some are more emotional. I believe that we made use of what we already had in previous seasons and took a step ahead."

In spite of his tough appearance, Ellison is a gentle person, who does not like to express his emotions. Burgi sounds much more philosophical and open to emotional depth than the character he plays.

Do you like the character you play, do you like Jim Ellison?

"Very much. I do not consider him a stranger. As time went by I have put in his character a part of myself. We all did this with the characters we played. Jim certainly reflects part of my personality. I like the fact that he is down to earth, a sour-bitter type of guy, with a cynical sense of humor, a no-nonsense type of person."

The friendship between Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg is one of the most important components of the series. Ellison and Sandburg are certainly one of the most successful partners on TV since... Starsky and Hutch? Their partnership is based on the fact that they are completely different types. Sandburg is an intellectual, a philosopher, while Ellison tries to stay with his feet firmly on the ground and has no patience for unnecessary talk and thoughts. Sandburg's presence helps him to open up a bit to his emotions. This relationship is the source of many jokes that at the end they will find themselves in each other's arms. But in fact, there is no chance that this will happen. They are far too interested in beautiful women. And in the fourth year no one will settle down with one woman. Thank god.

By the way, Burgi and Garett Maggart, who plays Sandburg, are friends outside the set. "Garett and Bruce (Bruce A. Young, who in the series plays Simon, the commander of their unit- S.S.) are my most favorite people," he says.

Do you find the time to explore the many Internet sites of The Sentinel?

"No. This is my wife's department. I have a computer phobia. I have no idea how to turn on a computer. I would rather read a book. But I certainly would like to know more about computers. It's an amazing century we live in."

Burgi inherited his acting talent from his parents, who managed a community theatre in New Jersey, where he grew up. All his relatives play instruments. His brother Chuck Burgi is an excellent drummer and plays in the band of Enrique Iglesias, the son of Julio Iglesias. Also his other brother, Peter, plays in a local band. Burgi himself is a drummer and his partner in the series, Maggart, has also a musical background. His sister is the singer Fiona Apple. "My wife comes also from a family of musicians," Burgi says. "And the family gatherings always become a big musical feast. We keep on partying from Christmas until Hanukah," he adds.

What kind of child were you?

"I was a naughty kid. I caused a lot of trouble. I loved being outdoors. I was crazy about sports and bird watching. My brother and I had our own detective agency. We were wild, but you should ask my mother about that."

As a boy, were you shy with girls?

"No! Girls were always on my mind since I was 14 and until... (he burst out in laughter) today. But since my marriage I became less interested."

Burgi always knew he was going to be an actor, but it took a while. He worked in various jobs from squash pro to construction. His first audition did not quite leave him with pleasant memories. "All I remember is, that I was trembling all over. I was terrified. I think it was an audition for a part in a soap opera. I did not get it."

Burgi's father died when he was still young. It was a traumatic experience for him. Burgi said that acting helped him to deal with this disaster and stabilize his world.

Eventually he got a part in the soap opera The Guiding Light. Later he appeared in other soap operas like Days of Our Lives, Another World, and One life To Live. During this time he also met the woman who became his girlfriend for a long time, the actress Ann Heche (Psycho, Six Days, Seven Nights), today the girlfriend of Ellen DeGeneres.

He still has friends from his soap opera period like Hank Chaney, who plays Ricardo in Sunset Beach, and Kyle Brown, who plays Sam in One Life To Live.

Burgi does not renounce his days as a soap opera actor, contrary to other successful actors who have started their career in such series.

"These were wonderful days. They taught me a lot, mostly how to memorize a lot of text," he said. "I had a few difficult times then. But this was not because of the genre, but because of personal reasons."

Would you go back and play in a soap opera today?

"No problem whatsoever. This is not beyond my dignity. It is a job like every other job. You have to bring food on the table, pay the bills. It's a job."

Besides being in soap operas, Burgi played as a guest star in series like: Seinfeld, Empty Nest, Who's the Boss, and Anything but Love. He performed in a police thriller series, One West Waikiki, together with Cheryl Ladd, and in the theatre in plays like Wedding Breakfast, and One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.

He landed his part in The Sentinel after performing as a guest star in Viper. (2nd Channel. Tuesday, 6.00 p.m.) The creators of that series, Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo, are also the creators of The Sentinel, and it's not hard to understand why they chose him.

Although the future of The Sentinel is not clear yet, Burgi does not stay unemployed. Quite recently he played in a TV movie called I Married a Monster, opposite Susan Walters (Melrose Place).

Burgi did not find it difficult to adjust to the part of a monster creature from outer space. In a previous interview he said "Many people have the feeling in some point of their lives that they are extra-celestial creatures. Mainly when they change jobs or move to another place. The only thing left is that they feel o.k. in their skin. Many times I was in a situation in which I did not feel right in my skin. When I did this part I simply brought this feeling back. Furthermore, I really like satanic and distorted characters with a dark side."

His free time he spends with Lori, his wife, whom he married three years ago, and especially with his two year old son, who is named after the five favorite Jacks of Burgi and his wife: the actor, Jack Nicholson; the authors, Jack Kerouak and Jack London; the boxer, Jack Johnson; and Lori's uncle.

What kind of father are you?

"My child is the most important person in my life. I was present at his birth, which is the most exciting thing I have ever experienced. I am over sensitive if it concerns Jack. I want to spend as much time as possible with him. To give him love, stability. When he sits on my lap or lies on my chest it is the best feeling I have ever had in my life. He also sleeps with us. He loves sleeping in our bed, but we also love to sleep with him. We play together, we read and fall asleep. I love being close to him, I love his smell and he likes to smell me. The three of us have a terrific and close relationship."

How did you meet your wife?

"She came to live opposite to the place where I lived on Hollywood Hills. I offered her my dog for protection. I had a girlfriend then... actually a few girlfriends. She liked one of my friends. She said he was sweet. We talked a bit, had coffee, dinner, and very soon I knew that this was it. She invited me to eat something and I already saw the whole picture in front of my eyes: a home, family."

Was it love at first sight?

"For me it was. Lori needed a bit more time."

At this stage, Burgi involved his wife Lori in the conversation. She said that she fell in love with Burgi within seconds, but he insists that it took him a few weeks of serious courtship. Lori is an actress, too, but she gave up her acting career after the baby was born and today she is a yoga teacher - which enables her to find work anywhere, even in Vancouver, Canada where the series is made. Burgi is also involved in yoga. He claims that it helped him to overcome the serious back problems he had. It certainly helps him with surfing, his favorite sport. Burgi is also very active in environmental activities.

One of the things that bothers Burgi most is the prejudice against actors. "I hate the opinion people have about actors: that we are self-centered, annoying and in short a pain in the ass. People never met you, but they are positive that they know who you are."

And if we discuss the issue of image, Burgi does not understand how he became a sex symbol.

"What does it mean, a sex symbol? This is one of the things I was talking about. People build an image around you which is in no connection with the person you really are."

The concept of a sex symbol does not relate to your personality, but to the way you look. And what can you do, you simply look great.

"Now I am really excited and flattered," he laughs, embarrassed. "I guess I rather would be labeled as a sex symbol than as someone who does not attract anyone."

What do you in fact like about being an actor?

"I like losing the sense of time and place and to reach other places. To be someone else. One of the things which makes me feel good about my profession is that I can make people laugh or cry. It is great that I can help people to release their emotions. Crying is a wonderful thing."

Do you have plans for the future?

"Meanwhile I enjoy the time I have with my wife Lori and with my son. I am checking out a few projects I would not like to discuss at this stage. I am not pressed."

And he should not be, he is good and we sure will see a lot of him in the future. If not in The Sentinel, then in others shows and movies.

In a past interview Burgi was asked what he would do if he had the same powers as Jim Ellison. He laughed and said: "I suppose I would listen to what people say about me and I would certainly be more successful on the track. But seriously, I think I would have liked to contribute more to mankind, to do something about the environment."

Reruns of The Sentinel are presently being broadcast three times a week on the Movie Channel on irregular days. On Fridays you can watch the series on Channel 3 at 20.30 p.m. Do not forget to adjust your vcr.  

(Thanks to the Official Richard Burgi Fan Club and Dafna, Nili and Zivit and to Sari Shine for providing the translation)

 


GARETT MAGGART - URBAN GUIDE - Apr 17

TV Zone - Issue #114 May 99
By Steve Eramo

(TV Zone Issue #114)

The Sentinel's Lieutenant Detective Jim Ellison( Richard Burgi) fears that he is losing his mind when one day without warning his senses become extraordinarily acute. When his new-found powers begin to interfere with his job Ellison decides to take a temporary leave of absence from the Cascade, Washington police force.

Desperate to discover the cause of his problem Ellison confides in Blair Sandburg, an anthropology graduate student and keen expert on tribal cultures. Sandburg attributes the detective's condition to his stint as a soldier in the army and the 18 months he spent in the Peruvian jungle as the sole survivor of a failed reconnaissance mission. Ellison's experience left him with heightened senses, all of which have now resurfaced to aid his survival in the urban jungle. Sandburg offers to teach Ellison how to master his powers in exchange for the opportunity to observe him in action. Garrett Maggart was relatively new to the acting profession when he auditioned for the role of Sandburg.

"It was in the middle of the summer - long after the pilot season," recalls Maggart. "I was in Connecticut visiting family and friends and my agent faxed me the sides (dialogue) for the audition. My mother's co-workers at the YMCA thought it was a big deal because they were getting Hollywood scripts on their fax machine. I read the lines and he (Blair) was me. It was the only time I ever looked at my mom - well, not the *only* time - and said, 'I want this job. I'm going to cut my vacation short, fly home and get this part.' She said (nonchalantly), 'OK,' because that's the way she's always looked at acting.

"I met with The Sentinel's casting agent April Webster and two days later she introduced me to the show's creators Paul DeMeo and Danny Bilson. I read for them and they made me an offer that afternoon. Next I had to audition for the executives at the studio and then the network. It was agony," jokes the actor. "It was five hours in front of what seemed like 40 people - actually it was probably more like 10. Once I was cast I had to read with eight different actors who were trying out for the character of Jim Ellison. They didn't find Richard Burgi until the second round of auditions. I think they always had him in mind but he was doing something else, I believe, when casting began. When we read together, though, things just clicked."

Unlikely Candidate

With his long hair, pierced ear and casual attire Blair Sandburg is hardly a candidate for a police recruitment poster. He and Jim Ellison are as opposite as chalk is from cheese but their different personalities complement each other and, in fact, make them ideal partners. Sandburg's offbeat approach to a case sometimes sheds light on a clue or piece of evidence that even Ellison with his years of experience and super-senses may have overlooked. Although the young man's enthusiasm sometimes grates on the nerves of Ellison and his superior Captain Simon Banks (Bruce A Young), they soon come to depend on Sandburg's contribution to their crime-fighting efforts.

Family Atmosphere

"Jim and Blair have bonded intensely and have become more than just friends," notes Maggart. "They're more like a guide and his follower and they sometimes interchange these roles. As far as Captain Banks, he and Blair were adversaries at first. I mean, he really didn't want Blair around. He's been on the police force for over 20 years and has struggled to build a career for himself. All of a sudden this little long-haired punk comes along and starts putting in his two cents about how to catch the bad guys. However, he and Jim have learned to appreciate what Blair does. They applaud his bravery and the fact that he's not a cop but still sticks his neck out for what he believes is right.

"I think my character has certainly grown up over the past four seasons, especially having faced assorted dead bodies, carnage and mayhem," says the actor. "Prior to Blair hooking up with Jim Ellison he was pretty much, I don't want to say a recluse, but preoccupied with his studies and kept his head buried in his books. However, being exposed to life on the police force has helped make him a man. He's gone from being a wide- eyed kid to a sarcastic young man to finally an adult who's learning how to cope with adversity and whatever else may come his way.

"I couldn't have asked for a better initiation into series television than being a part of The Sentinel," adds Maggart. "Richard, Bruce and I get along great. There are no egos on the set. Despite their years in the business I *never* had to hear, 'Oh, here comes the new kid.' Richard and Bruce are professionals who want to do good work. They're not the types to just show up on set and say the lines. They're intelligent actors who read the scripts and make suggestions. We're constantly bouncing ideas off each other and, hopefully, helping make the material even better."

Stunt Man!

Another production aspect of the show that gets Maggart's adrenaline pumping is the stunt work. "I'm a very physical person and I like to try to do as many of my own stunts as possible. Of course, that doesn't happen very often, but when it does I'm always willing. I remember there was a scene in one of the second season episodes in which Ellison and Blair were supposed to jump off a cliff and into the water. Richard and I were begging them to let us do that but it was just too dangerous. We did, however, get to ride in a boat down the rapids. That was wild! In one of this season's episodes I jump off a helicopter and land in the water. I mean, it was only 10 feet or so from the water's surface but it was still cool hanging off the side of the helicopter and doing the jump."

Cancellation

The Sentinel's third-season finale SENTINEL TOO ended with a dramatic cliffhanger in which Detective Jim Ellison is desperately trying to resuscitate Blair Sandburg, who has apparently drowned. The message 'To Be Continued' that came up on the bottom of television screens led viewers to believe that this unfortunate situation would be resolved next season. However, in a last minute decision UPN decided to drop the series from its fall 1998 schedule in favour of new programming. Fans quickly mobilized and flooded the network with letters, phone calls and e-mails. Their fervent show of support was a key factor in UPN bringing the show back as a mid-season replacement in January.

"The fan reaction has been tremendous," says Maggart. "Everyone is so complimentary. Parents have written telling me that their children have become interested in anthropology or rediscovered their enthusiasm for school because my character proves that you can be an academic and still be cool. Inner-city kids have also sent me letters saying that they like the way that Blair deals with anger and doesn't respond to violence with violence. They think it's pretty neat that Blair always tries to talk his way out of a tricky situation."

Teacher Training

Maggart's interest in helping children extends way beyond his portrayal of Blair Sandburg. Before beginning work on The Sentinel he volunteered as a teacher for a children's acting class that was run by his manager. "I consider myself more of a guide as opposed to a teacher," he says. "I always hated when my acting teachers said, 'That's wrong.' I'd ask, 'What do you mean wrong?' It's how I feel. How is what I feel wrong? Feelings valid or invalid are still feelings. There could be better ones, though, and that's what I tried to get across to the kids in the class. I miss doing that. Every once in a while I'll go sit in on a class but I work so much now that I haven't been able to do it as often as I'd like."

Surprise, surprise! Blair Sandburg is miraculously brought back to life in the show's fourth season opener and conclusion to SENTINEL TOO which guest-stars Star Trek: Voyager's Jeri Ryan as Alex, a female Sentinel. However, his future and that of The Sentinel's depends on how the series performs during its prime time comeback.

"The last of the eight episodes we did has a pretty interesting ending so that it can close the series of we aren't picked up again," explains the actor. "It also leaves the door open for a whole new bunch of adventures. So we'll have to wait and see what happens."

(Thanks Michelle W.)


UPN MAY SWEEPS - Apr 20

From Ultimate TV

UPN May Sweeps Programming...

The only net that is danger of being canceled itself, UPN has some tricks up its sleeve for Sweeps. Its latest series, Home Movies, an animated show from the team behind Dr. Katz, premieres on April 26, a few days before Sweeps begins, and airs throughout May. The net also uses several specials to help make a mark in the month. WWF Smackdown airs on April 29, the first day of Sweeps, and features a star-studded group of ladies and men from wrestling. On May 3, the net's latest entry into the world of reality television comes in the form of Shocking Police Videos, which offers, as the title implies, wild police videos.

UPN's most interesting special airs on May 18 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), the night before the premiere of the new Star Wars flick The Phantom Menace. Thumb Wars is a retelling of the classic sci-fi flick done with thumbs playing all the parts. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls writer/director created the spoof.

All of the net's major series have highlights during Sweeps, though without the degree of stunt casting found on its fellow networks. Moesha's last episodes of the season follow Moesha (Brandy) as she finishes up high school. On May 11, the show crosses over with Clueless on prom night, and Detroit Lions' star Johnnie Morton guest stars as Moesha's dream date. All of Moesha's ex-boyfriends show up for her 18th birthday part on May 18th, and the season finale on May 25 has Moesha graduating from high school and announcing she doesn't want to attend college.

The midseason show Dilbert has already been picked up for a second season, and gets additional star power when Jason Alexander lends his voice to Catbert, the evil Human Resources Director on May 3. The net's top-rated show, Star Trek: Voyager recently featured Alexander in a guest spot.

Voyager has several strong episodes lined up for the month. On May 5, Kate Mulgrew stars as an ancestor of her character, Capt. Janeway. The following week has Seven of Nine going back in time to see what destroyed a starship. John Savage (The Thin Red Line) appears in the May 26 season finale as a captain of a science vessel. Janeway bonds with the man, only to soon discover than crew members are disappearing.

Malcolm & Eddie features rapper Coolio on a May 4 episode directed by series star Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The episode, which has Coolio as a father of three who wants to build a club with Malcolm and Eddie, is being considered as a pilot for UPN next season. The show's season finale airs May 25, featuring songs by Warner and En Vogue singer Cindy Herron.

The super cop of The Sentinel needs to work his magic if he hopes to save the show from being canceled a second time. Robert Vaughn (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) guest stars as an actor-turned investigator on the May 10 episode, while the finale airs May 24. In it, super-cop Ellison (Richard Burgi) finds his powers exposed when a paper by Sandburg (Garrett Maggert) is covered in the press.

7 Days is one of the freshman shows UPN is expected to renew, and it celebrates with an episode filmed in Las Vegas on May 5. It's May 26 finale is out of the world, as an alien found in Roswell, N.M. escapes from captivity, and it's up to Parker (Jonathan LaPaglia) to save the day.

Several other shows have special episodes in the month, including Love Boat: The Next Wave, which on May 30 features space alien Alf returning to Earth.

The net also has a slew of original movies set for its Thursday Night at the Movies. Primal Force airs May 6 and stars Ron Perlman (Beauty and the Beast) as a man whose peaceful existence on a deserted jungle island is disrupted when a plane crashes. He must help the survivors when the jungle's strange beasts attack.

Greg Evigan, of the net's House Rules, stars in Survivor on May 13. In the film, Evigan plays the foreman of an oil rig that accidentally releases an alien lifeform when drilling. The following week, Michael Goorjian (Party of Five) stars in Life in a Day. The film follows a genetically-created human which lives an entire lifetime over the span of just one week.


SCI-FI CHANNEL TO SCREEN SENTINEL FIVE NIGHTS A WEEK FROM SEPTEMBER - Apr 30 1999

From The Hollywood Reporter
By Scott Hettrick

While some cable networks run the same show for an entire evening as a promotional stunt, USA Networks maverick programming president Stephen Chao plans to adopt such vertical scheduling as a regular strategy.

Starting Sept. 27, Chao will run four consecutive episodes of The Outer Limits from 7-11 p.m. every Monday night on the Sci-Fi Channel. He plans a similar move Tuesday nights with Sliders, he said Thursday as he prepared for a presentation to advertisers at Spago Beverly Hills.

Chao, who dismisses conformist programming views such as branding and targeted demographics, announced a new slate of original series and movies for Sci-Fi and USA Network. It runs the gamut from a single-camera comedy half-hour about two friends devising inventive ways to kill each other to Attila the Hun, another epic miniseries from Hallmark Entertainment.

Noting that USA is a general entertainment network, Chao said, "We don't go after a demographic in creating a show. We want to build a reputation for creating interesting shows and generate a sensibility and attitude that people respond to."

Sci-Fi has also picked up cable exclusive rights to syndicated series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, which will be shown at 4 p.m. weekdays, and The Sentinel, which will be shown at 6 p.m.

USA announced that it has picked up reruns of Rysher Entertainment's CBS series Nash Bridges, as expected.

 


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