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SCI FI eyeing summer 2008 for Season Five?

Thursday - March 6, 2008 | by Darren Sumner

With the current fourth season of Stargate Atlantis pushed to a fall premiere for the first time in franchise history, it is not hard to guess that SCI FI Channel may be doing the same with Season Five. But that is not necessarily the plan, as a number of online sources have indicated.

"Atlantis will be back for Season Five this summer (probably July)," TV Guide said this week.

Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi has also hinted to his blog readers that the network may decide on a summer premiere for the show. "The decision on the Season Five premiere date rests with SCI FI," he wrote. "However, I'm hopeful that fans won't have to wait until the fall to see the resolution of our Season Four cliffhanger."

The cable network's schedule, like the rest of television, was interrupted this winter by the Writer's Guild of America strike, which put the brakes on nearly all television production from November to February. Only Stargate Atlantis, as a Canada-based series, continued its normal production cycle.

It didn't hurt that the strike took place during Stargate's normal production hiatus. But the writers were still able to work on scripts, and filming commenced in late February, as the strike was ending.

SCI FI had reportedly planned to air all 20 episodes of Battlestar Galactica's final year, which begins April 4, through the spring and summer. But with only half of those episodes completed before the strike shut down production, rumor has it that the network may choose to hold the second half of the season till 2009.

The result is that Atlantis may be one of SCI FI's only original scripted series to have enough episodes ready to air in the summer -- an important broadcast season to the network. Even if Galactica were to return to finish up in the fall, SCI FI needs original programming for the summer months.

That slot could still be filled by summer series Eureka, which also dodged the brunt of the strike thanks to its production cycle.

Should Stargate Atlantis return to its July premiere window, fans would have to wait only four months in between seasons, rather than six to seven. But the mid-season break would likely run from September to January, as in past years.

Stick with GateWorld for official word on the new season as soon as it is confirmed by SCI FI! Learn more about Season Five in our Stargate Atlantis episode guide. Season Four goes out with a bang with "The Last Man," this Friday at 10 p.m. (9 Central) on SCI FI in the U.S., and Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Sky One in the U.K.



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