By Karen Moul
Syfy continues to shake up the schedule and expand beyond its sci-fi roots with new and different programming, and things got very different this month when WWE Friday Night SmackDown premiered on October 1.
While many have had trouble understanding the move, SmackDown could be a shrewd move for Syfy as the network looks to expand into other entertainment platforms, including gaming. SmackDown is a big draw among a critical audience, males aged 18-49. If the existing WWE audience makes its way over to Syfy, the network has the opportunity to engage them in other Syfy programs and grow its overall audience.
It's a good move for WWE too. By joining Syfy, Friday Night SmackDown is now part of the NBC Universal family. That means considerable marketing across NBC platforms which include such properties as USA, Telemundo, the Universal theme parks, and Hulu. Opportunities for cross promotion are almost endless.
So far SmackDown is settling into its new home nicely. The ratings for the past four weeks have been pretty solid and SmackDown continues to be a top five show among males 18-34. It was actually down a bit last week (October 22), but the Major League Baseball playoffs over on TBS have been stiff competition. Nevertheless, SmackDown was the number two cable show among males 18-49, behind the final game of the Yankees-Rangers series. It will be interesting to see what happens after the World Series when viewing habits get back to normal.
Meanwhile, the WWE crew is getting comfortable in their new digs. "We have a whole new audience now with Syfy," says two time women's champion Beth Phoenix, "and I feel like WWE is just as excited to cross over with them as they are to have us cross over." Superstar Cody Rhodes is taking the crossover very seriously - in August he was a guest star on Warehouse 13.
Beth Phoenix and·Kofi Kingston recently met with journalists to discuss life as WWE Superstars. Two of the most engaging performers on the press tour, they discussed everything from diet and exercise to their favorite Syfy shows.
Following on the heels of the success of Syfy's Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, it's spin-off and prequel, first aired in January of this year. The series tells the tale of how the Cylons came to be -- at the hands of humans. The show stars Eric Stoltz as Daniel Graystone and Esai Morales as Joseph Adama. Two fathers who have lost their daughters, one of them who will stop at nothing to bring her back, regardless to the cost to humanity. The series also stars Alessandra Torresani as Zoe Graystone, Magda Apanowicz as Lacy, Polly Walker as Sister Clarice Willow, and Sasha Roiz as Sam Adama.
The second half of the first season of Caprica premiered earlier this month.
Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, executive producers of the series, who will also be producing the upcoming Battlestar Galactica spin-off, Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, took part in a panel at the digital press conference in Orlando, Florida, to discuss the series and its future.
FACT OR FAKED: PARANORMAL FILES
Series Return Thursday, October 28th at 10PM ET/PT
Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, Syfy’s new break-out hit summer series, continues with its mission to uncover the truth behind some of the most compelling, mystifying and seemingly unexplainable images caught on camera and posted on the Internet. The series features former FBI Special Agent Ben Hansen, lead scientist Bill Murphy, effects specialist Larry Caughlin, journalist Jael De Pardo, photography expert Chi-Lan Lieu and stunt expert Austin Porter. Their quarry is comprised of all unnatural phenomena including ghosts, poltergeist activity, UFOs, strange creature sightings, and unknown energy anomalies. Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files is executive produced by John Brenkus and Mickey Stern for BASE Productions, and is a co-production with Universal Networks International.
SYFY.COM WILL PREMIERE RIESE: KINGDOM FALLING, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED, AWARD-WINNING STEAMPUNK DIGITAL SERIES, BEGINNING TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26
NARRATED BY SANCTUARY’S AMANDA TAPPING
Stars Christine Chatelain (Sanctuary), Ryan Robbins (Caprica), Sharon Taylor (Stargate Universe), Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island), Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) and Allison Mack (Smallville)
New York, NY – October 13, 2010 – Marking a major expansion of its original content, Syfy.com will premiere the award-winning, steampunk digital series Riese: Kingdom Falling beginning October 26, on syfy.com/riese every Tuesday and Thursday, it was announced today by Craig Engler, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Syfy Digital.
The critically acclaimed Riese: Kingdom Falling is distributed by Fireworks International, the television and digital distribution arm of ContentFilm plc. Each episode runs approximately seven to eight minutes.
Narrated by Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary), the 10-part series stars a cavalcade of talent from the world of popular speculative drama including Christine Chatelain (The Bone Collector); Sharon Taylor (Stargate Universe); Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island), Allison Mack (Smallville); Ryan Robbins (Caprica); Patrick Gilmore (Stargate Universe); Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) and Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary).
The series will also be available via Sony’s PS3, Microsoft’s Xbox and Amazon.
By Karen Moul
Syfy has partnered with online apparel retailer Her Universe to create a line of women's clothing, jewelry and other items based on Syfy properties. Syfy President Dave Howe announced the partnership this month at the Syfy digital press tour in Orlando. "From a brand perspective, it sends the right messages about what we want to stand for, which is a business that is for everyone with platforms that reach out to everybody. It's very exciting."
Ashley Eckstein, founder of Her Universe, is best known to fans as the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. She launched the company this summer with the first line of Star Wars apparel designed specifically for women. "In the past," said Eckstein, "a lot of [science fiction-oriented] merchandise was created for women more as an afterthought. They just took an image, slapped it on a pink T-shirt, and said, "Oh, the girls will buy it." And that's not what we want. We want some of the same cool images, just put on a really flattering V-neck."
"Almost half of all Syfy fans are women." she continued, "and they weren't giving us anything to buy."
Currently, Her Universe aspparel is targeted to a broad age range, with sizes ranging from extra small up through plus sizes. "It's definitely not a junior's line. Our items are fashionable and fitted but pretty true to size." She plans several new Star Wars items for Christmas, including a set of Boba Fett underoos.
Syfy gear will be available in 2011 at conventions such as ComicCon. The line will be available in retail outlets in 2012. Plans call for apparel [to] highlight Syfy programs such as Caprica, Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13, Destination Truth, and Eureka.
The panel also discussed other aspects of Syfy Ventures, which are available in the previous article. Eckstein answered questions for journalists at the digital press tour, which can be read in the full transcript below. Please also read the press release at Her Universe.