Success of ''The X-Files'' spawns sci-fi rivals -- NBC, UPN and Fox seek to capitalize on the public's interest in sci-fi

By Irv Letofsky
Updated November 24, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

The evidence is in: Fox’s paranormal-obsessed drama The X-Files is about to spawn more knockoffs than NBC’s Friends. Hordes of TV producers are preparing their own X-like projects. And why not? ”The American public has not shown any slack in its interest in good, scary science fiction,” says Kim LeMasters, president of Stephen J. Cannell Productions. Among the File followers orbiting the networks:

VISITORS OF THE NIGHT This NBC TV movie stars Markie Post (Hearts Afire) as a woman with a close encounter in her past. The twist: Her daughter, Full House‘s Candace Cameron, is also on the aliens’ visitation list. Makes you wonder if these are the same aliens who abducted Mulder’s sister.

SAVED BY THE LIGHT Not unlike a recent Files episode, this fact-based movie from Fox is about a scary town bully (Eric Roberts) who gets blasted by lightning, is pronounced dead, then revives into a sweet guy.

KINDRED: THE EMBRACED Talk about tough assignments. In this hour-long Fox drama produced by Melrose Place czar Aaron Spelling, a San Francisco cop (C. Thomas Howell) tries to chase down a supposed Mob boss (Young Catherine‘s Mark Frankel), not knowing that the guy is really the head of the Kindred — several clans of vampires who are vying for power over the city. A mid-season replacement.

3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN Carsey-Werner Co. (Cybill) and director James Burrows (Friends) have hatched this NBC sitcom, starring John Lithgow as a physics professor who is actually the leader of an alien expedition. Also features Coneheads‘ Jane Curtin as his love interest. A mid-season replacement.

THEM Written by The X-Files‘ former supervising producer Charlie Craig, this two-hour pilot is scheduled to be shot early next year for UPN. Them (not to be confused with the 1954 sci-fi film classic Them!) features a scientist who discovers a race of aliens out to steal human DNA. Hey, sounds like an ex-idea from an old X-Files?

3rd Rock From the Sun

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