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AlphaBits: ‘Tin Man’ Producers Have Two More Syfy Projects In Works

PLUS: Florida leaders reject Harry Potter invites with $40 trinket

RHI Entertainment, the company that worked with Syfy in the past to produce the popular miniseries “Tin Man” as well as last year’s “Alice,” has two more projects in the works with the genre cable channel set to air next year.

“The Other Side” and “Roadkill” have both been scripted and picked up by Syfy, and will begin production in Ireland this summer. “The Other Side” is written by Douglas G. Davis, and centers around a groundbreaking device that can provide glimpses into alternate universes. However, during a demonstration, the device malfunctions, and the observers are thrusted into a new dimension of “bizarre alien terrors,” according to a release from Syfy.

“Roadkill” is written by Rick Suvalle, and is about a group of friends to take an RV road trip to their high school reunion. Their cross-country adventure takes an expected turn when a curse is personified by a giant flesh-eating bird of prey.

RHI Entertainment is the group run by Robert Halmi Sr. and Robert Halmi Jr. Although “Tin Man” received strong ratings and some critical acclaim, “Alice” didn’t do as well when it aired last December. The company was also behind the failed “Flash Gordon” series on the former SciFi Channel in 2007.

RHI Entertainment is a public company traded on the Nasdaq. It reported a net loss of $251.1 million on revenue of $77.8 million last year, according to its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, delivering 15 films. It had a combined loss of $58.4 million the year before on revenue of $226.4 million after delivering 35 films in 2008. — [Airlock Alpha]


Harry Potter too expensive for public officials

It got some major screen time on the “Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC a couple weeks ago, but if Universal Orlando Resort wants Orange County public officials to attend a gala celebrating its new Wizarding World of Harry Potter area of Universal, it will have to send an e-mail.

Universal sent the public officials an elaborate invitation to preview the new $200 million attraction that included a Harry Potter memento worth $40. But even $40 is too much for leaders, who passed a no gifts rule last year limiting anything they receive from the public to nothing more than an occasional meal.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens June 18 at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando. — [Orlando Sentinel]


No more Karen Gillans?

Officials in Inverness, Scotland, where new “Doctor Who” star Karen Gillan took acting lessons, could be a part of the city’s history under budget cuts.

Local officials there say it could save more than $300,000 if it discontinued the Out of Eden courses and the higher drama classes at Eden Court Theatre.

The program is said to be one of the largest in Britain, with annual attendance of around 100,000 people.

It threatens Eden Court’s programme, said to be largest and most extensive arts education and outreach initiative of any theatre in Britain, with annual attendance of around 100,000 people, delivering the only theatre-based school exams in the country.

Sadly, when governments need to tighten their purse strings, arts education typically ends up in the crosshairs first.

There’s no word of Gillan, outside of making a trip back to Inverness to visit with old drama teachers, may step in to intervene. — [The Inverness Courier]


Big premiere for new ‘Doctor Who’

Speaking of “Doctor Who,” it looks like British audiences are willing to give Matt Smith and Karen Gillan a chance.

The first episode, “The Eleventh Hour,” attracted 7.7 million viewers on BBC One. That is, however, down from the more than 10 million viewers that watched the last “Doctor Who” episode, “The End of Time,” on New Year’s Day. But then again, that was a two-part special that featured the departure of David Tennant as The Doctor.

The first two outings of Matt Smith is getting some strong critical praise, as is new showunner Steven Moffat’s handling of the franchise.

The series premieres on BBC America April 17. — [Digital Spy]


Star Trek Online to stay PC-only

There was some excitement to see the new massively multiplayer online roleplaying game Star Trek Online expand from desktop computers to gaming consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but now it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

Cryptic Studios, which developed the game, said it has ended development work on a console version of the game.

“It’s pretty much in the same boat as the [Champions Online] console version right now,” said executive producer Craig Zinkievich. “It’s something we can readily do in terms of technology. We’ve had it up and running on certain consoles, and had plans and designs in order to take advantage of those platforms. But as it stands right now, it’s a little difficult to make that final leap on the business side of things.”

Star Trek Online generated a lot of initial interest, but recent reports have its subscriber base at around 100,000 — far below many other popular MMOs. — [UGO]


Launch the Viper

Some New York “Battlestar Galactica” fan felt having a regular old mail truck just wasn’t enough.

Instead, a man known as a master mechanic for amusement park rides, has turned the truck into a replica of a Viper from the classic “Battlestar Galactica” series.

And believe it or not, he can drive it down the street.

SciFi Wire didn’t provide much details on who the builder was or where to find him, but you can see pictures of this Viper by clicking here.

No word on if he plans to turn a bread truck into a Raptor. — [SciFi Wire]


Space to air ‘Caprica’ marathon

The “Battlestar Galactica” spinoff “Caprica” has been the No. 1 drama on Canada’s Space, and the cable channel is celebrating with a weekend marathon beginning April 17.

“Caprica” is averaging 200,000 viewers on the channel, growing throughout its run to about 250,000 by the mid-season break point. The back half of the first season is expected to air in the fall or winter, according to a release from Space.

The marathon begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and runs through 8 p.m. ET. — [Channel Canada]


New Airlock Alpha columnists featured in Kentucky newspaper

I’m sure you noticed that Airlock Alpha has added two new columnists to its roster, providing the most frequent contributions yet.

Dennis and Jill Rayburn make their way over from our friends at to launch two twice-weekly columns: Two Strips of Latinum and Artistic License. You can find both columns in our Features section, and they’ve already shared some great thoughts in the world of science-fiction and gaming.

They both were recently featured in The News-Enterprise, a newspaper serving Hardin County, Ky., where the two are from. Reporter John Friedlein shared some of the Raybun’s background, and even a few of their current projects.

Check out the full article by clicking here, and read the Rayburns’ twice-weekly columns to properly welcome them to the Airlock Alpha staff. — [Airlock Alpha]


Alpha Waves Radio this week!

And finally, after our great show with “Stargate: Universe” star Brian J. Smith, we take a jump back into radio itself as we welcome the entire broadcast crew of Sci-Fi Saturday Night.

Although this show was scheduled for April 8, schedule conflicts has now pushed this show to April 15.

I first met these guys when they were a terrestrial radio show in New England. And now they’re on the Web.

In an effort to beg them not to kill me in the ratings, I have invited them on Alpha Waves Radio to talk about where sci-fi radio talk has evolved, and if online is way better than over the air.

Check out this show and all of our shows at Alpha Waves Radio.

Also, don’t forget that after each show on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET, Sci-Fi Talk Live host Tony Tellado hosts Alpha Waves Rewind, a live call-in show where you can talk about anything that’s on your mind.

Come join us for two hours of great fun next Thursday beginning at 8!

On April 22, just in time for my 34th birthday, we welcome Star Trek legendary couple John and Bjo Trimble, the two people that we have to honor for allowing us to have the Star Trek that we have. That will be a show you don’t want to miss. — [Airlock Alpha]

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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