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Syfy Dials Docu Realities

3/22/2010 11:45 AM Eastern

New York — Syfy, which a
year ago changed its name from
Sci Fi Channel to provide more
brand flexibility, will move more
toward a general-entertainment
play with the launch of a Thursday
night block of reality programming.

Hoping to expand its appeal
to advertisers, Syfy will launch
several new broad-based reality
shows over the next several
months to go alongside its current
lineup of original scripted
content, network president
David Howe said during an
upfront presentation here last
Wednesday.

“Our commitment to producing
more and more high quality
original programming that inspires
the imagination of our consumers
is providing advertisers
with highly creative and innovative
environments for their products,”
Howe said.

St. Petersburg Times media critic
Eric Deggans said the network’s
reality push will provide more
opportunities to attract non-Syfy
viewers who may not be familiar
with the network’s scripted fare.

“The strategy of a lot of the networks
that are not among the
top core players is to use reality
shows to advance original schedules,”
Deggans said. “Syfy could
be looking to establish a beachhead
in reality to compliment its
original scripted content.”

Among the news reality shows
slated for the channel’s new
Thursday-night block are Mary
Knows Best (working title), a
docusoap series focusing on the
life of psychic radio host and
mother Mary Occhino; Paranormal
Investigators (working title),
which follows a six-person team
as they search for unnatural phenomenon
from around the world;
and Beast Legends, a new series
that brings legendary creatures to
life through state-of-the-art computer
graphics.

Also on the docu-reality development
docket are Force of
Nature, which follows the life of
feng shui master Ariel Towne; Th e
Latimer Project, focused on world
magic champion and design-firm
owner Jason Latimer; Mr. Impossible,
which travels with “rogue
inventor” Dezso Molnar; and
Paranormal Files, which brings to
life the stories of people who have
lived through paranormal experiences
that defy explanation.

The network will also jump into
the adventure/competition reality
series genre with Face Off , which
will pit several special-effects
makeup artists against one another;
and an as-yet-untitled artifact
search series.

Syfy is set to return several existing
series this year, including
Destination Truth and Scare Tactics.
The reality content will join
returning scripted series Warehouse
13, Eureka, Sanctuary,
Stargate Universe and Caprica on
Syfy’s lineup for 2010-11.

New scripted content include
Haven, based on the Stephen
King novella The Colorado Kid,
and Being Human, a U.S. version
of the popular supernatural U.K.
series (which airs on BBC America
stateside).

On the digital side, the network
will launch a new online gaming
website, Syfy Games, that will
feature several casual and Massive
Multiplayer Online Games
(MMOG), titles, including War
of Titans, Terminator Salvation,
Rover Racer and Green Mahjong,
said network officials.

Syfy.com’s gaming area has become
the most-trafficked section
in terms of page views and time
spent on Syfy.com since its inception
in 2008, according to network
officials.

 

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