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MGM considers SG-1's future

Saturday - August 26, 2006 | by Darren Sumner

Franchise owner MGM is exploring its options for Stargate SG-1 after its cancellation this week -- but SCI FI says TV isn't one of them.

"We don't look at Stargate SG-1 as a TV show, but a franchise," MGM spokesman Jeff Pryor told Multichannel News. "It is our intention to vigorously find a find way to extend the franchise."

Fans have speculated this week that that could mean an SG-1 feature film, TV movie, mini-series ... or even Season Eleven on another network. U.S. cable networks such as SpikeTV and G4 have been expanding their original and science fiction programming, and former SG-1 home Showtime may be open the series again following its five years of great success on basic cable.

But such a move may be out of the question, if SCI FI Channel has anything to say about it. "There is not going to be [an 11th season] on U.S. television," Stern told Multichannel flatly. "Our contract with MGM prohibits it."

"It's done a great job, rejuvenated with the additions of Ben [Browder], Claudia [Black] and Beau [Bridges], but we think we've come to the end of those stories," Stern said. "We really felt like it was the right time to segue out, for the show not to overstay its welcome."

Reruns of Stargate SG-1 will continue on SCI FI following the spring 2007 finale.

He added that the network "would look for opportunities for some or all of the members to appear on Atlantis." Whether SCI FI hopes to replace some Atlantis regulars with SG-1 regulars, or simply bring SG-1 cast members in for occasional guest appearances, is not known.

Meanwhile, cast member Michael Shanks ("Daniel Jackson") has been the first to comment publically on the cancellation, telling Michael Shanks Online, "Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. But I look at it as the closing of a chapter, not the whole story."

Executive producer and series co-creator Brad Wright told TV Guide that his "dream is to take SG-1 back to the feature it began as" -- but, more realistically, the show may segue into TV movies and, eventually, a third television series. "There's absolutely no reason in the world there couldn't be and won't be another series that takes part in the Stargate universe," he said.

Wright said that the final episodes of SG-1's current season "should be a very satisfying end to the season, but not necessarily an end to SG-1 by any means."

SCI FI would be interested in more Stargate SG-1 "if MGM came to us for less," Stern said -- indicating that the licensing fee for the 10-year-old show may have played a significant role in the network's decision not to renew it. Stern was previously quoted as saying that the show's depressed summer ratings were not the (sole) reason for the decision.

But if U.S. television is not an option (apart from a mini-series or TV movie on SCI FI), what might MGM be considering?

Pryor told the Associated Press that MGM believes that "in this new media world there are many more opportunities to continue (the) franchise. We're exploring those possibilities." Some fans have speculated that MGM may hope to make Stargate SG-1's eleventh season the first show ever to be offered exclusively online. New episodes from the current season are now available for $1.99 each on iTunes.

Despite the show's lower ratings, nearly 2 million viewers still tune in to the venerable sci-fi hit. The show also airs to millions of viewers in 120 countries worldwide, earns the company extra money in U.S. syndication and on DVD, and supports fan conventions and a broad array of licensed merchanise.

"This is not the end of the 'Stargate' franchise," Pryor said. "This is just the end of (Stargate SG-1) airing on the SCI FI Channel."

(Thanks to Gary Palmer, Grey Williams, Kajel, Icheb, Rob Smith, Leah, Philip Cook, and Andrew Clarke for contributing)

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