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20 NOV 03:

SCI FI Channel will spin off its hit Stargate SG-1 series into Stargate Atlantis, a weekly series set to premiere in the summer of 2004, the network announced. Production on 20 hour-long episodes of Stargate Atlantis is set to start in early 2004. The series is the result of an agreement between SCI FI and MGM Television Entertainment. The new series will debut alongside the upcoming eighth season of SG-1.

Stargate Atlantis will center on a secret Earth base left by the originators of the Stargate, buried among the ruins of the legendary city of Atlantis. A new team of explorers will travel to a distant galaxy, where a primitive human civilization is threatened by a sinister new enemy, SCI FI announced.

Stargate Atlantis will debut as a two-hour movie event on SCI FI and will feature crossover appearances by members of the SG-1 cast. Atlantis' regular timeslot will accompany SG-1.

Atlantis will be distributed by MGM Worldwide Television Distribution. Brad Wright and Robert Cooper will serve as executive producers on the new series. Cooper is currently executive producer on Stargate SG-1; Brad Wright is co-creator of Stargate SG-1 and served as the series' executive producer for six seasons.

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