Ahead of its upfront presentation and 25th anniversary, Syfy has it is rebranding again and making big moves in the original programming department. The rebrand includes a new logo and look across all of Syfy’s linear, digital, social, and experimental platforms.
“I can think of no better occasion than Syfy’s 25th anniversary to get back to our roots, double down on premium original programming, and put fans at the center of everything we do,” said Chris McCumber, president of entertainment networks at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “As the only television network dedicated to the genre 24/7, we’re building the ultimate universe for this passionate community to call home.”
The plan is to focus the brand on four genre subcategories where Syfy has already found success: space, fantasy, paranormal/supernatural, and superhero comics. Ten years ago when Syfy rebranded, changing its name from the previous “Scifi”, they kept the definition of what they considered scifi/fantasy broad, invested more in inexpensive reality programming, and eased up on the space shows. In the past few years though, science fiction programming has exploded across the television landscape making it a safer bet for execs. It is also a genre that creates a vocal online fandom which Syfy has done a great job of tapping into with their original series in the last few years.
For the space subcategory, the network already has The Expanse and Killjoys; fantasy is covered with The Magicians and the acquisition of the Harry Potter universe spinoff film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; paranormal/supernatural has found success with the cult favorite Wynonna Earp and anthology series Channel Zero; and Syfy will have their own DC series with Krypton, which has received a series order.
Krypton is set two generations before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel’s home planet. It follows Superman’s grandfather – whose House of El was ostracized and shamed – as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos. The series is based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and published by DC Comics. David S. Goyer penned the pilot with Damian Kindler, and Goyer will executive produce while Kindler will serve as showrunner.
Also receiving a series order is Happy, based on the graphic novel from Image Comics. It revolves around Nick Sax – an intoxicated, corrupt ex-cop-turned-hitman – who is adrift in a world of casual murder, soulless sex, and betrayal. After a hit gone wrong, his inebriated life is forever changed by a tiny, relentlessly positive, imaginary blue winged horse named Happy. The series is executive produced by Original Film’s Neal Moritz, Pavun Shetty, and Toby Jaffe, series star Christopher Meloni, and showrunner Patrick Macmanus.
Looking to the future, the network is developing Nightflyers, a novella by George R.R. Martin. Set in the future on the eve of Earth’s destruction, a crew of explorers journey on the most advanced ship in the galaxy, The Nightflyer, to intercept a mysterious alien spacecraft that might hold the key to their destination, they discover that the ship’s artificial intelligence and never-seen captain may be steering them into deadly unspeakable horrors deep in the dark reaches of space. Jeff Buhler writing the script and executive produces with Gene Klein, David Bartis, and Doug Liman of Hypnotic; Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films; Lloyd Ivan Miller and Alice P. Neuhauser of Lloyd Ivan Miller Productions.
Nightflyers joins previously announced series in development Brave New World, based on the Aldous Huxley novel, Hyperion, and Strangers in a Strange Land. They also have The Purge series in the works with Blumhouse.
Syfy is also looking to create a topical daily talk show, and potentially a Syfy Wire awards show. Online, the company will expand the news division with Syfy Wire, formerly known as Blastr.com. Syfy Wire will be infused with breaking genre news, analysis, and original content, as well as feature regular on-air integrations.
Emily J | TV Editor