Stargate to close: Sci-Fi Channel cancels record-breaking Stargate SG-1

News of the cancellation of the long-running science fiction series, ‘Stargate SG-1’, now in its tenth year, has been confirmed. Multichannel News reported on 21 August that the SciFi Channel had decided shortly before the airing of the record-breaking 200th episode on 18 August that they would not renew the show for an eleventh season. On 21 August, SciFi issued the following statement: "SCI FI Channel is proud to be the network that brought ‘Stargate SG-1’ to its record-breaking 10th season. Ten seasons and 215 episodes is an astounding, Guinness World Record-setting accomplishment. ‘Stargate’ is a worldwide phenomenon. Having achieved so much over the course of the past 10 years, SCI FI believes that the time is right to make this season their last on the channel. SCI FI is honored to have been part of the ‘Stargate’ legacy for five years, and we look forward to continuing to explore the ‘Stargate’ universe with our partners at MGM through a new season of ‘Stargate Atlantis’." All may not be over for SG-1, however. MGM, which produces the show, is continuing to explore the possibility of taking the series – which originally aired on Showtime – to yet another outlet.

"MGM has a tremendous amount of confidence in ‘Stargate’ and we are vigorously working to continue the franchise," studio spokesman Jeff Pryor said. "This is not the end of the ‘Stargate’ franchise. This is just the end of ‘Stargate SG-1’ airing on the Sci Fi Channel."

‘Stargate SG-1’ Executive Producer Robert Cooper has confirmed the commitment of those behind the scenes to take the show into the future.

"We’re working very hard to make sure there’s a companion to ‘Atlantis’ when we start back up in February. It’s premature to make an announcement as to what that companion might be. But you know, we thought ‘Stargate’ was dead in the past." Possibilities include an SG-1 miniseries, made-for-TV movie or even a feature.

Although the show’s ratings have declined this season, Mark Stern, executive vice president of original programming for Sci Fi, stated that creative and economic issues were behind the cancellation.

"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. We really felt like it was the right time to segue out, for the show not to overstay its welcome. We would look for opportunities for some or all of the members [of SG-1] to appear on Atlantis," Stern said.

After ten years, ‘Stargate SG-1’ is undoubtedly an expensive show to produce at a reported $2m per episode, even though sharing crew and facilities with its spin-off show, ‘Stargate: Atlantis’ has benefited both productions.

MGM’s efforts to find a new home for ‘Stargate SG-1’ might be blocked by legal technicalities. According to Stern, under the terms of SciFi’s contract, the network’s decision to cancel the series prohibits MGM from making any new episodes of the show to air on US television.

But, Stern has also stated, "If MGM came to us for less," Sci Fi would be interested in more ‘Stargate SG-1’ fare, whether in the form of episodes, movies or miniseries." He would not disclose the network’s license fee to MGM and MGM in turn has declined to comment on the legal issues.

Meanwhile, fans of ‘Stargate SG-1’ have launched campaigns and petitions in an effort to demonstrate to the SciFi Channel, to MGM and to potential outlets just how popular the show remains – even after reaching its record-breaking 10-year, 200-episode milestones.

© Carole Gordon 2006


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