“Battlestar Pre-Galactica”--The Sci-Fi Channel has announced plans to spin-off its successful “Battlestar Galactica” show. The new series will be called “Caprica” and will take place 50 years before the events depicted in the current show. “Caprica” (named after the human homeworld nuked up good by the Cylons) will focus on the creation of the first Cylon and the events that led up to the Cylon rebellion. Although characters have not been announced, Sci-Fi says the prequel will feature two families--the Adamas and the Graystones--and will be as much a family drama as a sci-fi tale. Given the topnotch writing on “Battlestar Galactica,” this should be a show to watch out for when it debuts sometime next year. Remi Aubuchon (“24”) is writing the pilot.
O’Donnell Again—Televised annoyance Rosie O’Donnell will be returning to network television for the first time since the cancellation of her syndicated talk show “Rosie” in 2002. The onetime comedienne will be replacing Meredith Viera on the daytime chat show “The View.” Viera is heading to NBC’s “Today Show” later this year to replace Katie Couric, who abandoned the network to anchor the CBS Evening News. Personally, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than spend an hour every afternoon in the company of Rosie O’Donnell, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters.
Built Ford Tough--Ford Motor Company is planning to launch its very own “reality show” next season. (Me, I’d call it a “commercial,” but I’m cynical that way.) According to the Detroit News, the weekly show will pit contestants against one another in an attempt to design and build a concept car. Last week, the auto manufacturer posted a $1.2 billion loss for the first quarter of 2006. By this time next year, the struggling company could distract itself by talking about how many viewers it lost.
NBC Versus Quality TV--NBC, riding high on the success of its useless game show “Deal or No Deal” (Curse you, America, for making Howie Mandel a star again!), is set to bring “1 Versus 100” to America. The game show will be an Americanized version of a Dutch series (from the same people who invented and imported “Big Brother,” “Fear Factor,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and, yes, “Deal or No Deal”). The show forces a contestant to match his or her trivia wits against a “mob” of 100 people. The more people you beat, the more money you win. Lose a question and you lose everything, like the loser you are. Versions of “1 Versus 100” already air in The Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Argentina and Portugal. No word yet on when it will hit the U.S. Network executives are calling it the best TV game show since “Deal or No Deal.” God help us.