|Launched||September 24, 1992|
|Owned by||NBCUniversal Cable
(Universal Television Networks, LLC)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, United States|
|Formerly called||Sci-Fi Channel (1992–2000)
|Dish Network||122 (HD/SD)
|C-Band – H2H/4DTV||AMC 18 – Channel 211|
|SKY Centroamérica and México||209|
|DirecTV (Latin America)||221|
|Austar and Foxtel (Syfy Australia)||125 and 165|
|Available on many U.S. cable providers||Check local listings for channels|
|AT&T U-verse||1151 (HD)
|Verizon FiOS||680 (HD)
Syfy (//, formerly Sci-Fi Channel) is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by the NBCUniversal Cable division of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The channel features science fiction, drama, supernatural, fantasy, reality, paranormal, wrestling, and horror programming.
As of August 2013, approximately 97,447,000 American households (85.33% of households with television) receive Syfy.
In 1989, Boca Raton, Florida, communications attorney Mitchell Rubenstein and his wife Laurie Silvers devised the concept for the Sci-Fi Channel, and planned to have it begin broadcasting in December 1990, but lacked the resources to launch it. In March 1992, the concept was picked up by USA Networks, then a joint venture between Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios. The channel was seen as a natural fit with classic film and television series that both studios had in their vaults, including Universal's Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Rod Serling TV series Night Gallery, and Paramount's Star Trek. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and author Isaac Asimov were among those on the advisory board; when the channel was launched, Rubenstein recalled, "[T]he first thing that was on the screen was 'Dedicated to the memories of Isaac Asimov and Gene Roddenberry,' members of the Channel's Board of Advisors. Leonard Nimoy was master of ceremonies at the channel's launch party, held at the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan; Asimov's widow Janet and Roddenberry's widow, Majel Barrett, were in attendance. The first program shown on the network was the film Star Wars.
In 1994, Paramount was sold to Viacom, followed by Seagram's purchase of a controlling stake in MCA (of which Universal was a subsidiary) from Matsushita the next year. In 1997, Viacom sold its stake in USA Networks to Universal, who spun off all its television assets to Barry Diller the next year. Three years later, Diller would sell these assets back to Universal, by then a subsidiary of Vivendi SA (at the time known as Vivendi Universal). Vivendi's film and television production, and cable television assets were then merged with General Electric's NBC to form NBC Universal in 2004.
For most of its history, the network's logos mostly consisted of a planet with a ring. The first depicted a ringed planet with the words "SCI-FI CHANNEL" embedded. The second, introduced in March 1999, retained the Saturn-like planet but dropped the hyphen and "Channel" from the name. The third, designed by Lambie-Nairn, debuted on December 2, 2002, with the launch of the Steven Spielberg miniseries Taken. The network also launched a new image campaign with the tagline "If," which expresses the limitless possibilities of the imagination. Identification bumps depicted surreal situations (such as a baby breathing fire; or a woman in a stately sitting room kissing a bug-eyed, big eared animal).
On March 16, 2009, Sci-Fi announced it was changing its name to "Syfy," to end confusion over how to capitalize and stylize its name and as part of an ongoing rebranding effort. Network officials also noted that, unlike the generic term "sci fi", which represents the entire science fiction genre, the term "Syfy" as a sensational spelling can be protected by trademark and therefore would be easier to market on other goods or services without fear of confusion with other companies' products. The only significant previous use of the term "Syfy" in relation to science fiction was by the website SyFy Portal, which became Airlock Alpha after selling the brand to NBC Universal (represented by a shell company) in February 2009 for $250,000.
Reaction to the new name was largely negative at first, with people often pronouncing Syfy as "Siffy", "Skiffy", or "Si Fi" to make fun of the name change. The parody news anchor Stephen Colbert made fun of the name change on The Colbert Report by giving the channel a "Tip of the Hat" for "spelling the name the way it's pronounced" and noting that "the tide is turning in my long fought battle against the insidious 'soft C'". The new name took effect on July 7, 2009. Syfy has since added reality shows and edged further from strictly science fiction, fantasy and horror programming.
The rebranding efforts at NBC Universal's Sci Fi Channels worldwide resulted in most rebranding as "Syfy" or "Syfy Universal", however, over one-third of the channels did not take on "Syfy" as any part of their names: channels in Japan and the Philippines rebranded to or were replaced by Universal Channel, while each of the channels in Poland, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia would become Sci Fi Universal. In Australia, the Sci Fi channel was a joint venture not solely owned by NBC Universal; the channel was uniquely rebranded as "SF" until its closure, and was replaced by a NBC Universal solely-owned version of Syfy, branded as such, matching the standard international "Syfy" branding. "Syfy", in several languages, does not suggest imagination or science fiction so much as the syphilitic.
Syfy's programming includes original made-for-cable movies, miniseries, and series. In the past, the channel concentrated on classic science fiction shows. However under NBCUniversal ownership, the channel has altered its schedule in the past few years to expand its lineup of programs, and Syfy now airs shows including WWE's SmackDown, changing from the original niche programming to offerings more towards general-entertainment in nature.
The network had gained significant international attention for its very successful original miniseries and subsequent four-season series Battlestar Galactica. In addition to many awards, the United Nations invited the main cast to a retrospective and discussion.
Coupled with Battlestar Galactica, Syfy gained national prominence in 2003 with the airing of Steven Spielberg Presents: Taken, which won the Emmy Award that year for best miniseries. In 2006, it also began including several non-science-fiction programs in its lineup, such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, ECW (changed to WWE NXT in 2010) and WCG Ultimate Gamer.
Syfy has aired anime programming off and on throughout its history. It first began airing English dubbed anime films and original video animations in the early 1990s, although the programs were often edited in order to fit the market pressures typically placed on basic cable. It was the first to show the Streamline Pictures English dubs of the films Robot Carnival, Lensman and Akira, as well as airing Central Park Media's Dominion: Tank Police, Gall Force and Project A-ko. Eventually the channel stopped airing anime, until June 11, 2007, when it began airing a weekly two-hour programming block called "Ani-Monday". Intended to directly compete with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, the block features English dubs of various anime series licensed by Manga Entertainment. During February 2008, the channel also aired anime on Tuesday nights in a second programming block. In July 2009, Syfy announced that they had renewed and expanded their licensing agreement with Manga Entertainment to continue the "Ani-Monday" block, as well as to add a similar two-hour block of horror anime, also called "Ani-Monday", to its sister channel Chiller. Syfy's anime block was moved to Thursday nights starting March 14, 2011 where is remained until all anime programming was abruptly removed from the schedule on June 9, 2011.
On April 13, 2010, World Wrestling Entertainment announced it had signed a multi-year agreement that would move WWE SmackDown from MyNetworkTV to Syfy, starting on October 1, 2010. The WWE said the show would assist Syfy with targeting of young male and female audiences.
- America's Smartest Kids: Reality television competition challenging children to "invent a better future".
- Change the Day You Die: Reality television series following a group of individuals as they are shown how their bad habits will cause their deaths in the future, and the journey they must go through to change those bad habits.
- Dinner With Deepak: Reality television series following Deepak Chopra as he dines each week with three high-profile dinner guests.
- Hi Tech Hoaxes: Reality television series about a group of hoaxers and pranksters who each week perform hoaxes on unsuspecting people, based on requests from viewers.
- In the Dark: The adventures of an amateur ghost-hunting team that continually finds its efforts frustrated by their own incompetence.
- Me and Lee: A down-on-his-luck 20-year-old goes into the hospital for back surgery, meets Lee Majors, and is convinced to become a bionic man.
- Monster Man: Reality television series following Cleve Hall and his family business of making monster and alien props for Hollywood.
- Overthunk: Reality television competition in which two teams design, build and set off "massive chain-reaction machines".
- Stunts Unlimited: Reality television series going behind the scenes of creating big stunts for Hollywood.
- Three Inches: After being struck by lightning, Walter Spackman discovers he has developed a super power: the ability to move an object with his mind, but only over a distance of three inches.
- Tyler Shields: Reality television series about unconventional photographer Tyler Shields.
- Rewind: A science-fiction series revolving around a team who must travel back in time to prevent a devastating terrorist attack. Executive produced by Justin Marks, Tom Spezialy, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein.
- Defender: Executive produced by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, a science-fiction series set around the Starship Defender.
- The Adjustment Bureau (television series): written by Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer. Executive produced by George Nolfi, Slavkin and Swimmer.
- High Moon: Based on the novel The Lotus Caves by John Christopher, the series revolves around a world where the countries of Earth have established colonies to mine the Moon's resources. When a new life form is discovered, chaos erupts as various factions race to uncover its powerful secrets. Executive produced by Brian Fuller and co-executive produced by Jim Danger Gray.
- An untitled series that revolves around the DC Comics superhero Booster Gold. Executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and DC Entertainment.
- Grave Sight: Based on the novel Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris.
- Seeing Things: Based on the comic "Grey Legion" by Platinum Studios, the series revolves around a cop who after meeting his violent demise, returns as a ghost to close his last case. But the only person who can help him is a socially awkward man who is realizing for the first time that his hallucinations may not be all in his head. Written by David Slack and Gabrielle Stanton. Executive produced by Slack, Robert Cort and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. A production of Fox Television Studios.
- The Family: A science-fiction series revolving around an alien family living amongst humans. Written by Dan Harris. Executive produced by Neal Moritz and Mark Verheiden.
- Eyes of the Dragon: Based on the novel "The Eyes of the Dragon" by Stephen King. Written by Michael Taylor and Jeff Vintar. Executive produced by Michael Taylor and Bill Haber.
- Darkfall: A fantasy series revolving around a version of Earth where Magic takes the place of modern technology. Written by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris. A production of The Jim Henson Company and Universal Cable Productions.
- One Mile Straight Down: Revolves around billionaire adventurer James Exeter who works with the government to take an advanced nuclear submarine to explore a vast ocean under a large chasm that was revealed after a powerful earthquake hits California. Written by Skip Woods, Naren Shankar and Deran Sarafian. Executive produced by Skip Woods, Naren Shankar and Deran Sarafian.
- Heroes of Cosplay: A reality television show co-produced by 51 Minds Entertainment, The show follows nine Cast members as they compete in masqurades at various conventions around the USA. The cast members are Yaya Han, Riki Lecotey, Monika Lee, Victoria Schmidt, Becky Young, Holly Conrad, Jessica Merizan, Jesse Lagers, and Chloe Dykstra.
- Dominion: An apocalyptic action series based on the 2010 film Legion.
- Z Nation: A drama series about a ragtag group of people surviving in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested America.
Announced, unrealized projects
- The Chronicles of Amber: Four-hour miniseries based on Roger Zelazny's 10-volume series, scripted by Richard Christian Matheson, with Tom Patricia of Patriarch Pictures as executive producer.
- Colosseum: made-for-TV-movie in which modern-day fight promoter Tommy Pettigrew finds himself transported in time to the Colosseum of Rome in the year AD 95, with a script by Sam Egan. Directed by Mario Azzopardi and executive produced by Egan, Azzopardi, and Matt Loze.
- The Forever War: Four-hour miniseries, scripted by John Fasano and based on Joe Haldeman's novel of that name. Executive producers were Richard Edlund, along with Peter Sussman and Ed Gernon for Alliance Atlantis.
- Myst: Four-hour miniseries based on the video game Myst. A Mandalay Television Pictures production, executive produced by Elizabeth Stephen with Rand Miller and Susan Bonds of Cyan, in association with Columbia Tri Star Domestic Television and distributed through USA Cable Entertainment.
- On the Seventh Day: Seven-hour minseries set in 2850 in an overcrowded world in which the government has assigned people one day a week to live, while spending the remaining six days in cryogenic suspension, from writer and executive producer Gary Sherman and USA Cable Entertainment.
- 1000 Days: A live-action made-for-TV-movie and backdoor pilot based on the Marvel Comics series Strikeforce: Morituri, about near-future soldiers who gain enhanced abilities but die 1,000 days later. Written by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, it was a Reveille Productions and Marvel Studios co-production executive produced by Reveille head Ben Silverman and Marvel Studios' Avi Arad and Rick Ungar.
- Alien Blood: TV-movie of a human rebellion when an invading alien army demands that one million people be sacrificed. Produced by UFO Films.
- Brother Voodoo: A live-action made-for-TV-movie and backdoor pilot based on the Marvel Comics supernatural character Brother Voodoo. Hans Rodionoff was announced to write the screenplay, set in New Orleans, of this Reveille Productions and Marvel Studios co-production executive produced by Reveille head Ben Silverman and Marvel Studios' Avi Arad and Rick Ungar.
- Dead Rail: A made-for-TV-movie set aboard a bullet train headed to Las Vegas on its inaugural run, and a detective who must battle hostile aliens. Written by Brian Smith, "founder of SciFi.com's Seeing Ear Theatre", and produced by Glow Worm.
- The Twelve: A miniseries, based on a concept by David Pirie, about an FBI agent who finds evidence that the world will end on the twelfth day of Christmas. With Martin Scorsese and producer Barbara De Fina as executive producers, with Cappa/De Fina Productions in conjunction with Adrian Bate and Zenith Entertainment Ltd., it was scheduled to debut in December 2005.
- Kyra: David Twohy, co-screenwriter and director of Pitch Black and writer-director of its sequels The Chronicles of Riddick and Riddick, said in June 2004 he was writing the story basis for a Sci-Fi Channel made-for-TV-movie pilot based on the Riddick character Kyra.
Syfy original films
Spearheaded and originally launched by Thomas Vitale in 2001, and managed by Vitale, Chris Regina, Ray Cannella, with the later additions of Karen O'Hara and Macy Lao, Sci Fi Pictures original films are typically independently-made B-movies with production budgets of $1 million to $2 million each. These films usually premiere on Saturday nights. They are also one of the sponsors for the Coalition for Freedom of Information. The movies have become one of the longest-lasting vestiges of Syfy's schedule. One of the most memorable campaigns for the movies presented these films as part of "The Most Dangerous Night of Television" (Saturdays). Over the years, Syfy's promotion of the movies leans into the escapist fun promised by them, with titles such as Sharktopus, Mansquito, Two-Headed Shark Attack, Ogre, Ice Twisters, Star Runners and Sharknado. Since 2001, Syfy has worked with a number of different production companies (most of them independent) to make over 200 original movies of this type.
The channel's website launched in 1995 under the name "The Dominion" at SciFi.com. It dropped the "The Dominion" name in 2000. It was one of the first large-scale, publicly available, well-advertised, and non-portal based websites. In addition to information on the channel's programming, it covers science fiction in general. The site has won a Webby Award and a Flash Forward Award. From 2000 to 2005, it published original science fiction short stories in a section called "Sci Fiction", edited by Ellen Datlow, who won a 2005 Hugo Award for her work there. The stories themselves won a World Fantasy Award; the first Theodore Sturgeon Award for online fiction (for Lucius Shepard's novella "Over Yonder"), and four of the Science Fiction Writers of America's Nebula Awards, including the first for original online fiction (for Linda Nagata's novella "Goddesses").
On April 22, 2006, the site launched Sci Fi Pedia as a commercial wiki on topics including anime, comics, science fiction, fantasy, horror, fandom, games and toys, UFOs, genre-related art and audio, and the paranormal. In 2009, Sci Fi Pedia was shut down without explanation.
As part of the channel's rebranding in 2009, the URL was changed to Syfy.com. As of 2010, Syfy.com began to contain webisode series including Riese: Kingdom Falling (as of October 26, 2010), The Mercury Men (as of July 25, 2011, and Nuclear Family (as of October 15, 2012).
Science Fiction Weekly
Science Fiction Weekly was an online magazine started and edited by Craig Engler and Brooks Peck on August 15, 1995. In April 1996, it began appearing exclusively on "The Dominion" as part of a partnership with the site, before being sold to the Sci Fi Channel completely in 1999. The publication covered various aspects of science fiction, including news, reviews, original art, and interviews, until it merged with Sci Fi Wire in January 2009. It was last edited by Scott Edelman.
Sci Fi Magazine
Blastr (formerly Sci Fi Wire), an adjunct of the Syfy website, is the daily news wire edited by Scott Edelman. It covers news related to science fiction, fantasy and supernatural-themed entertainment, including films, television, games, books, fandom and rumors. Blastr is frequently cited as a source of breaking news by other websites and by publications as varied as the New York Post and TV Guide.
In 2008, Syfy, then the Sci Fi Channel, averaged a 1.0 household rating; 242,000 viewers among Adults 18–34 (up 4% vs 2007); 616,000 viewers among Adults 18–49 (up 5% vs 2007); 695,000 viewers among Adults 25–54 (up 6% vs 2007) and 1,278,000 total viewers (up 7% vs 2007). It saw two years of consecutive growth among female audiences, with a 12% increase among women 25–54, a 14% jump in women 18–49 and 6% in women 18–34. The channel also was ranked among the top ten watched channels for male viewers ages 18–54, and women ages 25–54 (#10).
For 2010, Syfy averaged 1.199 million viewers, down 6% from 2009. In Adults 18–49 the channel averaged .539 million viewers, down 11% from 2009. For 2010 Syfy did not hold any of the Top 20 Primetime Original Series.
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- Syfy is Turning Into VH1: More Reality TV and Tracy Morgan, io9, March 18, 2010
- Syfy Announces New Programming for 2010-2011, The Flick Cast, March 19, 2010
- Syfy Channel 2010: More Reality, More Games, Inside TV, March 23, 2010
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- "List of awards and nominations received by Battlestar Galactica". Wikipedia. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
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- "Outstanding Miniseries 2003". Emmys.com. Emmy Award. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
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- "Sci Fi Channel Launches Monday Night Anime Block". Anime News Network. May 5, 2007. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- "America's Sci Fi Channel Adds Anime on Tuesdays". Anime News Network. January 3, 2008. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- Beveridge, Chris (July 15, 2009). "Syfy, Chiller Take On More Anime". ManiaEntertainment. Retrieved July 15, 2009.
- "U.S. Syfy TV Channel Moves Anime to Thursdays in March". Anime News Network. February 23, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- "U.S. SyFy Channel Lists No More Anime After June 9". Anime News Network. May 27, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- "SmackDown" Goes Syfy, World Wrestling Entertainment, April 13, 2010
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- ""Heroes of Cosplay" Coming to SyFy With Chloe Dykstra, Holly Conrad, Jessica Merizan". nerdist.com. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Syfy Announces Premiere Dates for 'Defiance' and 'Dominion'". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Syfy Announces All-New Zombie Series 'Z Nation'
- "SCI FI Slate Announced". Sci Fi Wire, (Syfy/Sci Fi Channel). April 3, 2002. Archived from the original on June 6, 2002.
- "SCI FI Adapts Marvel Series". Sci Fi Wire (Sci Fi Channel). January 3, 2003. Archived from the original on February 8, 2002.
- "SCI FI Unveils Film Slate". Sci Fi Wire (Sci Fi Channel). July 9, 2003. Archived from the original on August 4, 2003.
- "Scorsese Comes to SCI FI". Sci Fi Wire (Sci Fi Channel). July 11, 2003. Archived from the original on August 4, 2003.
- "Twohy Readies Kyra Pilot". Sci Fi Wire (SciFi.com). June 7, 2004. Archived from the original on June 7, 2004.
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- "Sci Fi's Craig Engler Promoted To SVP & GM, Sci Fi Digital". VFXWorld. March 13, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- SCI FI Wire Changes Its Name, Looks to the Future with Blastr, Access Hollywood, July 14, 2010
- "Sci Fi Has Best year Ever! #5 in Adults 25 - 54" (Press release). The Futon Critic, Sci Fi Channel. December 17, 2008. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
- Year-End Cable Ratings: USA Still On Top, History Breaks Into Top 10 With Big Gains. Deadline Hollywood. December 23, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2011
- Official website
- Syfy on Facebook
- Syfy on Google+
- Syfy on Twitter
- Syfy's channel on YouTube
- Syfy at the Internet Movie Database
- Boucher, Geoff (December 7, 2008). "Sci Fi charts its course for the future". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014.