NBC Universal has given a vote of confidence to one cable original and kicked another to the curb. The company's USA Network has renewed its drama The 4400 for a fourth season, while Sci Fi Channel has cancelled Stargate: SG-1 after a ten-year run for the show.
The 4400 will return to USA in 2007 with 13 new hour-long episodes. Production on the show, about a group of 4,400 people who return to earth with supernatural powers, is slated to begin in Vancouver in early 2007. The show has posted solid ratings since it debuted in July 2004 as a limited series - the highest-rated new series premiere on basic cable. Over 11 episodes this summer, the series' third cycle has averaged 3.35 million total viewers.
Meanwhile, Sci Fi will cease production of Stargate: SG1 after this year's run is over. The series has dropped off from averaging about 2.55 million viewers last year to about 1.95 million this season. SG-1 started on Sci Fi as reruns while it was in original episodes on Showtime. When Showtime cancelled it in 2002, Sci Fi picked up the production of new episodes.
SG-1 will live on on iTunes as its studio MGM will sell library episodes, as well as the remaining new episodes the day after they run on TV. This marks MGM's first iTunes offering from its library of content. Sci Fi has said it may transition some of the SG-1 cast to sequel series Stargate: Atlantis.