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Syfy Moving Beyond The Supernatural

7/12/2010 1:01 PM Eastern

Syfy hopes a new Thursday-night
lineup
of more personality-driven reality
fare will broaden its now year-old brand to
reach new viewers.

The network’s new lineup, which launches
July 15, will feature two new reality series that
will expand the network’s formula beyond
paranormal and supernatural-based hits as
Ghost Hunters toward more traditional reality
programming, said Syfy executive vice president
of original content Mark Stern.

Mary Knows Best, which follows
the life of psychic radio host and
mother Mary Occhino, “moves
the brand more into this personality-driven
docusoap and pushes it out into a place
where we haven’t been before,” Stern said.
“It fits pretty well into the brand, because it
is about a psychic intuitive, but it’s also playing
in this Jersey Shore type of place, because
she’s this larger-than-life woman with this
huge family living on Long Island.”

Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, also premiering
July 15, features a team of investigators
examining photos and videos of unusual
happenings posted to the Web. “Fact or Faked
takes the traditional paranormal-based series
and turns it on its ear and dives deeper
and finds a new approach,” said Stern.

Other reality shows slated to premiere on
the network in the near future include Marcel’s
Quantum Kitchen
, which follows former
Top Chef star Marcel Vigneron as he develops
unique cuisine for not-so-typical parties and
events; Paranormal Witness, about people
who have lived through paranormal experiences
that defy explanation; Face Off , a competition/
elimination series exploring the world
of special-effects makeup artists; and Hunting
Hollywood
, a documentary-style show on the
collector’s market for movie memorabilia.

“[Our reality lineup] gives us an opportunity
to stretch our brand and we’ve really
embraced the whole idea of ‘Imagine
Greater,’ and how that applies to reality,”
said Stern. “Thursdays are a great time to do
those things, because there are a lot of people
watching TV looking for different viewing
alternatives. It just feels like a natural opportunity
to experiment with things.”

The Thursday reality block will compliment
the network’s lineup of scripted
series, several of which returned for
new seasons last week. The network’s top
series, Warehouse 13, jumped out to a lukewarm
start in its sophomore campaign.

The series, about U.S. Secret Service agents
tasked with finding and collecting powerful
paranormal objects for storage in a secret storage
facility in South Dakota, averaged 2.9 million
viewers for its July 6 debut — below the 3.5
million viewers the show generated in its 2009
premiere and off of the 3.8 million viewers it
averaged during its freshman run.

The show did generate a series record
820,000 18-to-48-year-old male viewers, and
1.3 million adults 18 to 49 — second-highest
delivery in this demo for the series.

Syfy on July 9 also debuted season four of
its comedy/drama Eureka and premiered the
inaugural season of drama series Haven. Ratings
were not available at press time.

September