or


[04/23/03 - 12:00 AM]
Lost 'Dead Zone' Episode Found
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- "The Dead Zone" executive producer Michael Piller has shed some light on the "lost" episode of USA's original series. In a post to the series' official web site, Piller told readers:

And there is of course the mystery about "The Hunt for Osama" which many of you have written us about.

Well, first of all, it's now called "The Hunt," and I'll tell you why in a moment.

Second, when will it run? I don't know. USA decided that it might seem exploitative during the war in Iraq. Now that the war is winding down, will they change their minds? I just don't know. The truth is they've always been nervous about this one.

Some months ago, well-connected friends at the University of North Carolina and Duke told me that psychics like Johnny Smith had been in the employ of the CIA doing "remote viewing" - using second sight to gather intelligence in foreign countries. (I'm not making this up - there's plenty of documented evidence online. Check for yourself.) But what was new and what I found impossible to ignore was information brought to my attention suggesting that the American government was actually using psychics to track down Osama Bin Laden.

My old newsman juices started flowing. Here was an untold story about the war - why shouldn't we tell it on The Dead Zone? I approached it as docudrama (I used to run the docudrama accuracy unit at CBS when Cassutt and I worked together). I partnered up with Joe McMoneagle, a psychic who has worked for the CIA in the past (and may or may not still be working for them - Joe's one of those guys who "neither confirms or denies" a whole lot of things.) Joe helped me put together a story that is obviously fictional (since Johnny isn't real), but it is based on information we believe to be accurate. We took no liberties with the facts as they were presented to us.

USA was nervous when they read the story: Johnny Smith chasing Osama? Wasn't that treading into sensitive areas? I argued it was a war story, and a real one, and no different from seeing Humphrey Bogart chase Rommel across the Sahara during World War II, or movies that featured Hitler as a character. (In our story, Osama is never on screen.) I also pointed out that shows like The Agency, 24, and JAG were doing stories about the war on terrorism almost every week.

OK, they said, let's do it.

But when they screened the episode, it made them nervous again. They asked that all mentions of Osama Bin Laden by name be excised. That was actually not a serious problem, since he was only mentioned twice. Thus, the title also changed. Then the war with Iraq broke out, and they just decided this wasn't the time to run it.

It's a very unique episode that avoids adding fake stuff for the sake of pumping up the drama - one of the things I learned running the docudrama unit was that the truth was usually dramatic enough. So this is a lean, no-nonsense look at this incredible story of unusual soldiers in the war on terrorism.

I can say that there are many people here who think it is one of the great episodes of the series. We recreated a Pakistani village in Vancouver and staged a huge battle with a U.S. strike force - with Johnny's vision taking him into the middle of the fight.

If it is scheduled by USA, you'll hear about it here on this site. If not, I'll let you know when it will be out on DVD.

Because of the unusual circumstances, I'm going to break the embargo and post Mike Taylor's remarkable teleplay. I doubt anyone will mind letting you see what we had in mind.

In addition, Piller went on to confirm a new batch of second season episodes is in store for this summer and Karl Schaefer ("Strange Luck," "Eerie, Indiana") has joined the series as a new head writer and co-executive producer to meet the demands of going back into production so quickly. Mike Cassutt ("The Twilight Zone," "Farscape") has also joined the writing staff as a creative consultant.

For Piller's complete post, click here.





  [april 2003]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
  


· DEAD ZONE, THE (USA)
· FARSCAPE (SYFY)
· TWILIGHT ZONE, THE (UPN)









[12/22/14 - 02:00 PM]
Guests Announced for "The Late Late Show" with Guest Host Drew Carey (1/5-1/9) and After-Dark Edition of "The Talk" (1/12-1/16)
David Arquette, Eric Idle, Ethan Hawke and Alyssa Milano are among those slated to visit the former series.

[12/22/14 - 12:47 PM]
Nickelodeon Is 2014's Top Basic Cable Network with Kids and Total Viewers
Nickelodeon spins the numbers for the year to date.

[12/22/14 - 12:07 PM]
The Walt Disney Company and The National Cable Television Cooperative Announce First Ever Retransmission Consent Agreement for ABC-Owned Broadcast Stations
Among the stations: WABC-TV in New York City, KABC-TV in Los Angeles, WLS-TV in Chicago, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, KGO-TV in San Francisco, WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, KTRK-TV in Houston and KFSN in Fresno.

[12/22/14 - 12:00 PM]
Mike Colter to Star as Luke Cage in "Marvel's A.K.A. Jessica Jones"
"Mike embodies the strength, edge and depth of Luke Cage," said Melissa Rosenberg. "We're excited to have him bring this iconic Marvel character to life."

[12/22/14 - 11:00 AM]
Live + 7 Ratings: ABC Claims the Week's Top 6 Biggest Broadcast Gainers in Adults 18-49
ABC further spins the numbers for the week of December 1-7.

[12/22/14 - 09:31 AM]
ABC Family Hosts End-of-the-Year Programming Event "That's So Throwback"
The block features Disney Channel classic comedy series "Lizzie McGuire," "That's So Raven," "Even Stevens," and original movies "The Cheetah Girls" and "Halloweentown."

[12/22/14 - 09:05 AM]
New TLC Special "My Husband's Not Gay" Explores Unconventional Mormon Marriages
The one-hour special premieres Sunday, January 11 at 10:00/9:00c.

[12/22/14 - 08:33 AM]
Sunday's Broadcast Ratings: "Sunday Night Football" Continues Its Reign for NBC
The Peacock leads the night in both total viewers and adults 18-49.

[12/22/14 - 08:27 AM]
NBC Is Currently #1 for the Night Among the Big 4 in All Key Measures Plus Total Viewers
NBC spins the numbers for Sunday, December 21.

[12/22/14 - 08:14 AM]
A&E Presents "Duck Dynasty," "Wahlburgers" and Series Premiere of "Donnie Loves Jenny"
Look for all three series back-to-back beginning Wednesday, January 7 at 9:30/8:30c.

[12/22/14 - 07:36 AM]
Destination America Expands Weekend Wrestling Lineup with Addition of "TNA Wrestling's Greatest Matches"
With a special live broadcast, "Impact Wrestling" debuts on Destination America on Wednesday, January 7 from 9-11 PM ET, televised from New York City's legendary Manhattan Center.

[12/22/14 - 07:04 AM]
Syfy Acquires New Unscripted Series "Troy: Street Magic," Featuring One of England's Hottest Young Magicians
The 10-part series showcases 25-year-old magician Troy Von Scheibner as he hits the streets of London to astound unsuspecting locals, tourists and hipsters alike with his distinctive blend of close-up magic and spectacular stunts.

[12/21/14 - 07:16 PM]
Bengals-Steelers to Be NBC "Sunday Night Football" Game on December 28
The final Week 17 NFL schedule will be announced following the Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals game tomorrow night.

[12/21/14 - 10:00 AM]
2014 "Thursday Night Football" Season on CBS and NFL Network Earns Overnight Ratings Increase of 45% Over Last Year
CBS spins the numbers for Saturday, December 20.

[12/21/14 - 09:11 AM]
Saturday's Broadcast Ratings: CBS Tops Evening with "Thursday Night Football" Special
The Eye's primetime NFL coverage wins the night in both total viewers and adults 18-49.