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Real world article
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Sci-Fi Channel and SF logo

Launched on 24 September 1992, Syfy (formerly known as the Sci-Fi Channel, SF, and Sci Fi), was the original syndicated cable network which aired Star Trek: The Original Series (in the timespan 1998-1999 also as the Sci-Fi Channel Star Trek Special Edition) and Star Trek: The Animated Series. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and his friend, noted science fiction author Isaac Asimov had actually served on the initial advisary board of the broadcaster, but neither had lived long enough to see its launch. [1] The US network was originally co-owned by Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios until 1997, when Paramount sold its half. Universal sold off the network soon after, but re-purchased it in 2002 in order to have an exclusive outlet for its new sci-fi series, Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica.

On 16 March 2009, Sci Fi announced that it would be renaming itself Syfy in order to end confusion on how to capitalize and stylize "Sci Fi," as well as part of an on-going rebranding effort. The name change became official on 7 July 2009.

TAS aired on the network's animation block until it ended in 1996. TOS aired on Sci Fi until 2004, when G4 and TV Land took the rights from them. Sci Fi attempted to buy the broadcast rights to TNG, DS9 and VOY in 2001, but was outbid by Spike. In 2007, Sci Fi acquired the first time rights to re-air the most recent Star Trek series, Star Trek: Enterprise, starting on 8 January 2007 alongside the series many felt was in large part responsible for its demise, Moore's Battlestar Galactica.

In May 2008, as part of a deal with CBS Paramount Network Television related to the acquisition of broadcast rights to the TV series Ghost Whisperer, Sci Fi acquired broadcast rights to Star Trek: The Next Generation, which had never aired on Sci Fi before. TNG began airing on Sci-Fi on Mondays at 7PM EST on 2 June 2008. [2] [3](X) However, the deal was short-lived as Syfy lost the rights to TNG at the end of August 2009 so that the series could return to syndicated broadcast television. They regained the rights and showed all-day marathons of TNG on Tuesdays until June 29, 2010. BBC America now has the broadcast rights to TNG. Starting in Spring 2011 Syfy has once again aired episodes of TNG on Thursdays from 6pm-12am. On September 2, 2011, Syfy aired a TNG viewers choice all day marathon that began at 8 am.

A major property for which SyFy was the primary first-time broadcaster – and part of the reasons why Universal re-acquired SyFy in the first place – , were the above mentioned 2003-2010 re-imagined Battlestar Galactica Universal Studios productions from former Star Trek Writer/Producer Ronald D. Moore. As the first of its "SyFy Original Series", the broadcaster seemed to have been taken off-guard by its huge success, and failed to deliver afterwards in the public eye, causing the broadcaster to slip considerably in ratings for an extended period of time. It took the broadcaster over six years of arduous restructuring and formula rethinking in order to slowly finds its way up again. [4]

One example of a latter-day critically acclaimed original production, concerned the series The Expanse (2015-, served by Moore´s former Star Trek writing partner Naren Shankar as showrunner, the same position Moore had on Battlestar Galactica) which was cancelled after three seasons by SyFy though. On 26 May 2018 however, after a fan campaign to save the series – very similar to the one that saved The Original Series for its third season back in 1967/68 – , conglomerate owner and CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his company Prime Video had picked up the production and exclusive streaming rights for the series, now as an "Amazon exclusive". [5] One year later, on 13 May 2019, the news broke that Prime Video had also acquired the international streaming rights for the Star Trek: Picard, [6] indicating that science fiction fan Bezos was well on his way of turning his company into a competitor to be reckoned with for SyFy, having already been the original producer and streamer of another well received science fiction series, The Man in the High Castle (2015-2019).

Additionally, SyFy's market share is further weakened by the streaming company Netflix, which – aside from having acquired the international streaming rights for Star Trek: Discovery – is from the early 2010s onward likewise and increasingly producing its own science fiction originals, like SyFy doing so with varying degrees of success.

Further reading[]

  • "I Want My SF TV", Bill Wilson, Starlog, issue 176, March 1992, pp. 17-21, 71

External links[]