Reginald the Vampire
Bring It On: Cheer or Die
Since its start in 1992, SYFY has varied its program strategies, but what hasn't changed for the cable network is its loyal, vocal and growing fanbase.
In this thirtieth-anniversary year, SYFY plans to air two new scripted original series and an original film and to also bring back selected past hits. An ongoing fan film initiative that encourages viewers to submit logo, show art and short films related to SYFY content will continue to be featured on the network and its social media.
"We create shows that create real fandom," says Frances Berwick, chairman, entertainment networks for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. "The audience is very broad, with a heavy female base — as well as male — and spans all generations."
The passion of SYFY fans, she notes, has been known to influence programming decisions. For example, Wynonna Earp diehards campaigned to ensure the show's survival in 2019, crowd-fundraising to buy a series of spots on electronic billboards in Times Square.
Originally called the Sci-Fi Channel, the network was first acquired by the USA Network and has, over the years, aired such shows as Lost in Space, Dark Shadows and The Invaders. Original films (Sharknado), miniseries (Taken) and reality shows (Ghost Hunters) have been among its popular offerings.
SYFY has now returned to scripted series. This year sees the debuts of Reginald the Vampire, a dramedy based on Johnny B. Truant's Fat Vampire book series, and The Ark, a survival drama set in space 100 years in the future. Returning series include Resident Alien, Chucky and SurrealEstate.
A venerable film franchise will make its debut on SYFY with Bring It On: Cheer or Die, an original horror film about a cheer squad's unfortunate Halloween practice session, notes Rebecca Vazquez-Rhodes, head of scheduling for USA and SYFY. Nostalgia will also be on tap, she adds, as fan favorites like Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13 and Quantum Leap return for a bow.
Looking ahead, Berwick says the goal is to keep making groundbreaking original series leavened with playfulness and even comedy. "We don't take ourselves too seriously," she says. "Sci-fi is a good genre to appeal high and low. You can watch for escapism and the sheer fun of it, yet some shows have a deeper meaning."