TCA: ‘Terra Nova’ Expensive, But on Budget, Fox Insists

In short preview, money seems to pour from the screen

Fox’s upcoming ambitious sci-fi show, “Terra Nova,” may be enormously costly to produce – but it’s still on budget and not at hampered by cost overruns, Fox entertainment executives insist.

“It’s on budget,” Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice said Tuesday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour.  “It is expensive; it’s why we ordered it to a series and went straight to 13” episodes, Rice said.

The network unveiled three minutes of gorgeous footage Tuesday afternoon, and the money seemed to pour from the screen: the lush green setting, futuristic weapons and vehicles and moody interiors were up to par with those of "Avatar."

That sounds like only the beginning of the expenses. The show will feature not only dinosaurs from the fossil record, but dinosaurs the show will create, its creators said Tuesday.  

The Fox-produced series is set for a preview May 23; the actual premiere is slated for fall.

Also read: 'Terra Nova' a Runaway Production Even Before Filming

Fox hopes the show, produced by Steven Spielberg and News Corp's former president and COO Peter Chernin, will be a juggernaut on the order of "Lost."

Rice declined to disclose how much the show cost. Show insiders told TheWrap last fall that the show was dealing with cost overruns before a single frame had been shot, and that the pilot alone could cost as much as $20 million.

However, the pilot’s cost is amortized over the course of 13 episodes that Fox has already greenlighted, said Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly.

"We’re not in some completely uncharted territory,” Reilly said. “This is not a bank-breaking process.”

The show focuses on a family who are among about 1,000 people transported from a dying future world to the Earth of 85 million years ago to be a part of human colony that will help rebuild civilization. It stars "Life on Mars'" Jason O'Mara and "Avatar" villain Stephen Lang.

Tim Molloy contributed to this article.