The Comcast/NBC owned network, the Syfy channel, looks like it’s going to continue veering away from its roots of classic science fiction TV and continue to take the dive into the realm of reality TV. Or at least that’s my take on the matter.
Syfy channel was up 11% in viewers last year, making 2011 its most watched year ever. And if they’re taking this new data and extrapolating out, then they can attribute this rise in viewers to the addition of all the reality TV programming they’ve added to the net. (And yes, the so un-sci-fi like programming of wrestling.)
Driving home this premise of mine that they’re continuing down this reality TV programming path is the TV news that they’ve hired several key folks for alternative programming and a few key folks were added to the unscripted department.
Then they cement my fears with the following statement:
“On the heels of Syfy’s most watched year in history, we will be launching a record number of unscripted series in 2012.”
Saying that they will be focused on the continued growth of the Syfy brand. Syfy Brand.
So what’s in-store for the reality-TV starved cable viewer on Syfy? Shows like Monster Man, Dream Machines and Total Blackout. And the new folks coming on board bring experience from the following kinds of “unscripted” shows:
Comic View: One Mic Stand, American Gangster, Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is, Sunday Best, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, LA Ink, Ultimate Cake-Off, NY Ink, Surprise Homecoming, Cake Boss, Sister Wives, Extreme Couponing, Hoarding: Buried Alive, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Sweet Home Alabama and The Singing Bee.
Yes… I can see it now… cheerleader cake offs while hoarding pom-poms and getting tattoos. All while singing.
OK, I might not mind the cheerleader part, as long as they ALWAYS compete in uniforms of some sort.
If you must know, the new personnel are Robyn Lattaker-Johnson, Wayne Sampson and Colin Whelan as vice presidents of alternative programming & Tori Socha and Andrew Whitney as directors of the unscripted department.
At this point, with new reality TV shows coming down the pipe, I’m thinking that the Original Saturday night movie programming is actually looking better and better. Just tape it on Sat night, then watch 30-minutes of it each weeknight. That will at least get you through some of the week.
And I know what some of you are going to say… I’ve seen it in the comments here and other places, and that is that you are fed up with Syfy and will take your business elsewhere, hoping the net fades away. But keep this in mind (And I’m not saying this to be nasty… but rather, from a pragmatic perspective:
You, the sci-fi fan, are part of a demographic minority. If you were part of the majority, this wouldn’t be happening.
You will only be hurting yourself by bailing on shows you might like, that are on Syfy. They’ll be raking in viewers with their wrestling and reality cheerleader cooking shows and you bailing may actually hurt a show even further that might deserve to stick around.
If you do watch, pay attention to who advertises during your shows and if possible, take your business to them.
The only way you have a voice is by supporting the advertisers of your shows. Other than that, sadly, there’s little else you can do. And I’m not saying that because I give up. It’s just that Syfy will have more numbers of viewers coming in to catch their new slate of shows than there will be numbers of exiting viewers.
We had our chance when the net was all sci-fi and the ratings dropped to next to nothing. And way back, I once partook of the punch when they said that more reality TV will help bring in money to keep other sci-fi fare alive. Eh.
The only other option we have is to hit up BBC America with some of there real sci-fi/fantasy programming that’s been showing up over there on Saturdays.