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NBC adds yet another miniseries to its 2008-2009 lineup

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Is NBC getting back into the movie

business? EW.com has learned that the Peacock may be developing yet another

big-tent miniseries for the fall season — this one starring Marla

Sokoloff (Big Day) as a brilliant scientist who helps to save the day

when a meteor strikes Anytown, U.S.A. An NBC spokeswoman wouldn’t

comment, but a source close to the project says Billy Campbell (Once

& Again) and Stacy Keach (Prison Break) are also attached.

This appears to be the third miniseries that NBC exec vice president

Teri Weinberg has greenlit for the new season. The network already

announced it’ll air The Last Templar, a four-hour miniseries based on

the bestselling novel by Raymond Khoury, that’ll star Mira Sorvino and

Scott Foley, and XIII, a thriller featuring Val Kilmer that’s based on

a European comic book of the same name.

The movies, which will likely

air on Sundays once pro football is over, mark a new direction for NBC

and broadcast TV in general. Original flicks, especially big-ticket

ones exec produced by the likes of Robert Halmi Sr. (Gulliver’s Travels), used to be treated as

crown jewels at NBC because they had the ability to attract huge

audiences (in fact, the network excelled in disaster miniseries like

Asteroid in 1997). But the networks began to sour on the form because

the movies are costly, eat up promotional space, skew old, and don’t

repeat. As a result, the Peacock canceled its Monday movie franchise

at the end of the 1996-97 TV season while CBS finally threw in the

towel on its Sunday movie franchise after the 2005-06 TV season. Now, HBO is pretty much the only go-to place for big-ticket

miniseries like the recent John Adams and the upcoming war epic The

Pacific, which is exec produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.