TERRA NOVA Production Update

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Production begins tomorrow with a table read for the much awaited Terra Nova from Fox and executive producers Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin.  There have been a lot of behind the scenes changes on the production team.

In case you are not familiar with Terra Nova, here is a brief synopsis of the show:

Terra Nova is set in the year 2149 when all life on the planet Earth is being threatened with extinction. Scientists have opened a door allowing people to travel back to prehistoric times. The Shannon family (father Jim, his wife Elisabeth, and their three children Josh, Maddy and Zoe) join the tenth pilgrimage of settlers to Terra Nova, the first human colony on the other side of the temporal doorway. However, they did not realize that they placed it in the middle of a group of carnivores.

Below is an update on who is in charge or what and what is going on.
Rene Echevarria has been tapped as the showrunner to work alongside Brannon Braga.  Echevarria, a veteran showrunner,  has worked with Braga before.  He has a great track record in the day to day business of running a show, production and post production.  Fox hopes that Echevarria will be able to control the massive production which involves giant sets, a large cast led by Jason O’Mara and Stephen Lang, and elaborate special effects. 
The head writer, David Fury, left the series in December.  As of last Friday, the remaining writers were released in an effort to cut costs.  Terra Nova faces a 4-month hiatus that will include 2 months of filming the pilot and 2 months of post production.  This release comes after a Fox’s move from the anticipated 13-episode mid season run to a Glee style release with the two-hour pilot premiering in May and a series rollout in the fall.  
As a result of this change the entire production schedule has changed.  The pilot and the first season is already scripted there will be no work for writers other then the showrunners, for the next 4 months, leading to 20th TV’s fiscally driven decision not to pick them up for the time being.
There have been a number of false reports about the show.  One of them including rewrites being done by numerous big name writers.  In truth the only big name writer involved has been Allan Loeb, who did an unaccredited  polish, sharpening the dialogue and deepening some of the characters. The reuslt is a script that Fox and 20th TV are happy with.
With the gargantuan size of this show there has been lots of speculation about the budget of Terra Nova.  Each episode is said to cost an estimated $4 million with the pilot being the most expensive pilot to date at $14 million.  These high price tags are a result of the significant upfront costs associated with building sets and developing elaborate visual effects.  To compare costs, Lost’s pilot cost $12 million 6 years ago. 
With shows or movies that are this big there are always speculations of major overages in the budget. Surprisingly, ther has been only one major over-budget item so far: a $660,000 charge for delaying the start of production because casting on the series took longer than planned.  That is a pretty minor overage in the scope of some overages that have occurred in film or television production.
After this table read the fun and madness begin.  The cast, crew and producers will be packing up to travel to Australia to film the pilot episode on a show that sounds amazing.  Does Terra Nova sound like a show you will watch?
Source: Deadline
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Jim Napier

Jim Napier

Movie watcher. Physical media collector. Pizza lover. Bipolar/Anxiety. Animal advocate. Co-founder of