Bad Habits Die Hard | Syfy's 25th Anniversary Reboot
I told myself I wasn’t going to do this again. But.. One last time.
Syfy’s 2009 rebrand was a lot more cleaver than most people give them credit for. They knew they couldn’t just change the name of their network; the Sci-Fi name has brand awareness. But at the time, they were beginning to air anything but actual science-fiction programming. What good is a network that’s named after something they don’t even do anymore?
No seriously, Machinima.com, what good are you?
To avoid the same mistake made by The History Channel and its ilk, Sci-Fi simply changed the spelling of its name. It sounds like "Sci-Fi", short for science-fiction, but it’s actually "Syfy", a typical NBCUniversal cable network.
As in "it’s typical for NBCUniversal to pull that network decay crap and not get away with it!"
The difference between WWE programming on Syfy and Cops and Cheater reruns on G4 was that people actually watch the WWE. Whatever Style Network was before, it was just a generic women’s network before it was replaced by Esquire Network. Then they went ahead and screwed that network by replacing the retro shows with more crime drama repeats; TV providers dropped Esquire because it was airing shows that were already airing on USA Network.
It makes you wonder how badly NBCUniversal will screw up their upcoming Universal Kids network, despite having all the resources needed to make a strong competitor to Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Probably not as bad as what happened to the Hub Network. Probably.
Before I get back on topic, can I just say how relieved I am that Universal won’t be getting their hands on Funimation?
What made Syfy’s rebrand so infamous was that they were pretty upfront on how they did not give a crap about “geeky” shows anymore. It’s one thing to air unrelated programming, it’s another to insult your viewerbase. No wonder Syfy has had a bad reputation. When MTV moved away from music programming, they did they insult the people who watched their network? No, because that wasn’t just a bad business strategy, it was just a dick move in-general.
Now, Syfy has dialed back on this in recent years, most notably after Smackdown moved to USA Network. Shows like The Magicians, along with Canadian fare like Wynonna Earp and original programming from Space won the good graces of critics. But the network still airs unrealated fare, like CSI reruns. This is textbook channel drift: a crime drama should not be airing on network that, at the very least, has broadened to fantasy and paranormal programming.
You hear that, Bell Media? Why the hell is Castle airing on Space? Why is Cash Cab airing on Space, for that matter? You telling me that you can’t air reruns of Orphan Black, a critically-acclaimed, Canadian series that was produced for this very channel or past seasons of Supernatural or some other genre drama, but you can air some random Canadian game show and an unrelated crime drama?
Bell Media and NBCUniversal are two sides of the same coin, and at this point, I don’t need to describe how filthy that coin is. But at least Bell Media has some level of competence. Right now, NBCUniversal is falling apart, with shakeup, after shakeup, after shakeup. Bell Media, meanwhile, is set for life.
They’ve striped down MuchMusic to barebones and reduced the rest of the former CHUM Television assets to vectors for American crap. Yet, it’s Corus Entertainment and Shaw Media that had to merge just stay relevant. Rogers had the rights to Empire, the biggest show in urban entertainment, and they dropped that ball harder than the person who fell off the ledge in the season three opener.
That’s to say nothing of how Bell’s streaming service CraveTV used its’ library of HBO, Showtime, MTV, and Comedy Central shows to steamroll Rogers and Shaw’s joint Shomi. They are nothing short of disgusting, but Bell Media played the right cards and made the right moves. They can focus on combating the rise of cord-cutters while sitting comfortably on the ashes of what used to be good television.
That’s why can’t trust a word of what NBCUniversal’s plans for Syfy’s 25th anniversary “reboot” entails, because I know they’ll find a way to mess it up. But if Bell Media were to announce that Much was going back to its roots as a music channel, I’d be inclined to believe them.
It’d be more believable if I heard that Chiller was shutting down, because knowing NBCUniversal, that’s anything but science-fiction.