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10.25.2005

UNDERCOVER AGENT INFILTRATES TERRORIST ORGANIZATION IN SHOWTIME NETWORKS’ “SLEEPER CELL”

Chilling Look At Growing Domestic Threats Underscore
Explosive Original Television Event Featuring
Emerging Stars Michael Ealy And Oded Fehr
 
LOS ANGELES (October 25, 2005) — Shadowy, unseen terrorist threats readying to unleash “dirty” radioactive bombs … chemical weapons … germ warfare agents … fertilizer-fueled explosives … all are scenarios evolving as fast as what an amateur chemist can concoct in a home-garage. Color-coded warnings and emergency response drills are things our governments are doing to prepare us, but even veteran anti-terrorism government officials know the most effective weapon — against home-grown terrorist “cells” — is getting an “operative” on the inside.
 
Starring Michael Ealy (“Barbershop”) and Oded Fehr (“Resident Evil: Apocalypse,” “The Mummy”), the explosive SHOWTIME Original Television Event SLEEPER CELL takes viewers underneath the veil of a sleeper terrorist cell and follows the harrowing challenges faced by an agent determined to uncover its dark, twisted intentions.
 
SLEEPER CELL,from creators andexecutive producers Ethan Reiff & Cyrus Voris (“Bulletproof Monk”), is produced by Ann Kindberg (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Shield”) and Clark Johnson (“S.W.A.T.”) directs the pilot.   Nick Gomez (“The Shield,” “The Sopranos”) directs three installments and five other notable directors contribute to the 10-part drama.  Filmmakers include two-time Emmy® Award-winning director of photography Bob Primes (“Felicity,” “My Antonia”), production designer Mayne Berke (“Taxi,” “S.W.A.T.”) and costume designer Jolie Andreatta (“Red Shoe Diaries”).
 
The drama melds current events and pertinent political developments into its contemporary storylines as it explores the personal and professional side of committed agents combating the greatest and most concealed threat in our nation’s history.
 
Having posed as a prisoner inside a federal penitentiary, a young agent (Michael Ealy) makes contacts enabling him to infiltrate an Islamic terrorist cell in Los Angeles. The cell is led by an intimidating, charismatic extremist (Fehr), who considers all acts of violence moral when serving the greater good of his cause. But early in the investigation something goes wrong, placing lives and the integrity of a three-year mission in jeopardy.
 
 In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the heightened awareness and fear of terrorism that previously had festered just below the national consciousness, writers Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris responded by writing “SLEEPER CELL.” It is an attempt to, in their words, “know your enemy.”
 
“The ongoing multi-front war pitting the forces of radical Islam against the developed world — and the cultural civil war between moderates and extremists within the Islamic world — is the most pressing geo-political and existential challenge facing Western civilization,” comments Reiff. “Depictions of this conflict in popular culture have mostly been done in an escapist comic-book fashion, with exaggerated Euro-trash thugs or stereotype rogue CIA agents. No one seemed to have interest in telling a complex story dealing realistically with the people who seek to rain death and destruction on us. So we decided to try.”
 
Reiff and Voris center their story on an agent who goes through the federal penal system to develop the credibility to make critical and viable contacts that will earn him access into the most enigmatic and lethal criminal conspiracy of our age. Once inside, agent Darwyn al-Sayeed learns the complexities and confusing contradictions of the religious teachings that drive these maniacally obsessed and destructive warriors.
 
Says Cyrus Voris, “We also looked at this project as a way to examine the two faces of Islam -- a spiritual peace-loving religion, the Islam of the mainstream -- and the brutal jihad-driven Islam of the radical fundamentalists.”
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME® TOO™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE® and TMC XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD™, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND™ and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND™. SNI also is an owner of the premium television network SUNDANCE CHANNEL®, which is a venture between NBC Universal, Robert Redford, and Showtime Networks Inc. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME® PPV. Additionally, the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME is available in Turkey through a joint venture with UK-based Zone Vision.