All main characters returning for BSG’s third season

After weeks of unofficial announcements, the Sci Fi Channel made it official Wednesday as it announced the renewal of its hit series Battlestar Galactica. It will keep its Friday 10/9c p.m. timeslot.

Rumor is the delayed announcement had to do with contract negotiations with the series main stars and the producer/writing team of executive producer and writer Ronald D. Moore and executive producer David Eick.

Network officials already told series creators back in August to not to plan to end the series with the current season. This was needed as the final episodes were in process of being filmed at that time and would have had to be altered to give the series an appropriate ending for future DVD sales.

The network also said all of the primary cast members will be returning, including Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer and Grace Park.

In the November 16 press release, the Sci Fi network said production for a third season of 20 episodes is scheduled to begin in February. Like the current tradition, the new season will be broken into two 10-episode arcs.

Summer “Season” Preliminary dates
Sci Fi will show the first 10 episodes starting on July 7. New episodes will be shown each week with the exception of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Winter “Season” Preliminary dates
The second half of the third season is scheduled to begin airing on January 5, 2007 with four news episodes each week. The series will air in repeats during the month of February when the broadcast networks are in their sweeps period. The final six episodes will resume in March with the season finale in late April.

Because of the production schedule needs, fans will know well in advance of the winter season episodes if there will be a fourth season of BSG.