By Lynette Rice
June 05, 2010 at 05:57 AM EDT

Image Credit: Glenn Harris/PR Photos The hot star of the lukewarm drama Life on Mars may find a new dimension to explore for Fox next season. A key insider confirmed that Jason O’Mara, the Irish actor who headlined the short-lived, time-traveling series for ABC last year, is in negotiations to star in Terra Nova for Fox’s mid-year lineup. As first reported by, O’Mara would play the father of a young family from 100 years in the future that travels back to the prehistoric era.

Though the series certainly pays well and hails from some of Hollywood’s most powerful players  – Steven Spielberg, ex-Fox Chairman Peter Chernin and scribe Brannon Braga (24) are among the drama’s executive producers – the offer comes with a catch: O’Mara (who’s married to actress Paige Turco) would have to move to Australia where the series is expected to begin filming this summer. Should O’Mara pass on the big-budget project that’s already received a thumbs down from Kyle Chandler,  the producers could be compelled to consider a more viable (if not less costly) alternative – attracting relative unknowns to the drama that’s received a 13-episode pickup from Fox. After all, the series already touts one of the biggest names in Hollywood – Spielberg – so a marquee actor may not be needed to sell the project to viewers worldwide.

The drama, which is also executive produced by agent-turned-producer Aaron Kaplan, Craig Silverstein (Bones) and Kelly Marcel, among others, takes place in 2149 A.D. when a large group of settlers are preparing to leave the apocalyptic world in which they live to time travel back millions of years. Their goal is to see trees, enjoy a blue sky, eat real food – basically, to start over in this so-called Eden.

For more on Terra Nova:

‘Terra Nova’ drama at Fox scores director