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Launched September 24, 1992 (1992-09-24)
Owned by NBCUniversal Cable
(Universal Television Networks)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Slogan Imagine Greater
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area National
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Formerly called Sci-Fi Channel (1992–1998)
SF (1998-1999)
Sci-Fi (1999–2009)
Sister channel(s) NBC
USA Network
Universal HD
The Weather Channel
Esquire Network
Website .com.syfywww
DirecTV 244 (HD/SD)
Dish Network 122 (HD/SD)
9432 (HD)
C-BandH2H/4DTV AMC 18 – Channel 211
Meo Portugal 68
SKY Brasil 46
SKY Centroamérica and México 209
DirecTV (Latin America) 221
Digital+ (Spain) 25
Austar and Foxtel (Syfy Australia) 125 and 165
Available on many U.S. cable providers Check local listings for channels
AT&T U-verse 1151 (HD)
151 (SD)
Verizon FiOS 680 (HD)
180 (SD)

Syfy (/ˈsaɪfaɪ/, formerly Sci-Fi Channel and SF) is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by the NBCUniversal Cable division of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast.[1] The channel features science fiction, drama, supernatural, fantasy, reality, paranormal, wrestling, and horror programming.

As of August 2013, approximately 97,447,000 American households (85.33% of households with television) receive Syfy.[2]


  • History 1
    • Branding history 1.1
  • Programming 2
    • Announced series/pilots 2.1
    • Announced, unrealized projects 2.2
    • Syfy original films 2.3
  • Media 3
    • Website 3.1
    • Science Fiction Weekly 3.2
    • Sci Fi Magazine 3.3
    • Blastr 3.4
  • Ratings 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


In 1989, Boca Raton, Florida, communications attorney Mitchell Rubenstein and his wife Laurie Silvers devised the concept for the Sci-Fi Channel, and planned to have it begin broadcasting in December 1990,[3] but lacked the resources to launch it.[4] In March 1992, the concept was picked up by USA Networks, then a joint venture between Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios.[5][6] The channel was seen as a natural fit with classic films and television series that both studios had in their vaults, including Universal's Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Rod Serling TV series Night Gallery, and Paramount's Star Trek, whose creator Gene Roddenberry and author Isaac Asimov were among those on the advisory board;[7] when the channel was launched on September 24, 1992, Rubenstein recalled, "The first thing that was on the screen was 'Dedicated to the memories of Isaac Asimov and Gene Roddenberry'.[8] Leonard Nimoy was master of ceremonies at the channel's launch party, held at the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan; Asimov's widow Janet, and Roddenberry's widow Majel Barrett, were in attendance.[8] The first program shown on the network was the film Star Wars.

In 1994, Paramount was sold to Viacom, followed by Seagram's purchase of a controlling stake in MCA (of which Universal was a subsidiary) from Matsushita the next year.[9] In 1997, Viacom sold its stake in USA Networks to Universal, who spun off all its television assets to Barry Diller the next year. Three years later, Diller would sell these assets back to Universal, by then a subsidiary of Vivendi SA (at the time known as Vivendi Universal). Vivendi's film and television production, and cable television assets were then merged with General Electric's NBC to form NBC Universal in 2004.

A high definition version of the channel launched on October 3, 2007 on DirecTV.[10] In 2013, Syfy was awarded the James Randi Educational Foundation's Pigasus Award.[11]

Branding history

For most of its history, the network's logos mostly consisted of a planet with a ring. The first depicted a ringed planet with the words "SCI-FI CHANNEL" embedded. The second, introduced in March 1999, dropped the hyphen and "Channel" from the name.[12] The third, designed by Lambie-Nairn, debuted on December 2, 2002, with the launch of the Steven Spielberg miniseries Taken. The network also launched a new image campaign with the tagline "If," which expresses the limitless possibilities of the imagination. Identification bumps depicted surreal situations (such as a baby breathing fire, or a woman in a stately sitting room kissing a bug-eyed, big-eared animal).[13][14]

On March 16, 2009, the channel announced it was changing its name to "Syfy," to end confusion over how to capitalize and stylize its name and as part of an ongoing rebranding effort. Network officials also noted that, unlike the generic term "sci fi", which represents the entire genre, the term "Syfy" as a sensational spelling can be protected by trademark and therefore would be easier to market on other goods or services without fear of confusion with other companies' products. The only significant previous use of the term "Syfy" in relation to science fiction was by the website SyFy Portal, which became Airlock Alpha after selling the brand to NBC Universal (represented by a shell company) in February 2009 for $250,000.[15]

Reaction to the new name was largely negative at first, with people often pronouncing Syfy as "Siffy", "Skiffy", or "Si Fi" to make fun of the name change.[16][17] The parody news anchor Stephen Colbert made fun of the name change on The Colbert Report by giving the channel a "Tip of the Hat" for "spelling the name the way it's pronounced" and noting that "the tide is turning in my long fought battle against the insidious 'soft C'".[18] The new name took effect on July 7, 2009.[19] Syfy has since added reality shows and edged further from strictly science fiction, fantasy and horror programming.[20][21][22]

The rebranding efforts at NBC Universal's Sci Fi Channels worldwide resulted in most rebranding as "Syfy" or "Syfy Universal"; however, over one-third of the channels did not take on "Syfy" as any part of their names: channels in Japan and the Philippines rebranded to or were replaced by Universal Channel, while each of the channels in Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia would become Sci Fi Universal. In Australia, the Sci Fi channel was a joint venture not solely owned by NBC Universal; the channel was uniquely rebranded as "SF" until its closure, and was replaced by a NBC Universal solely-owned version of Syfy, branded as such, matching the standard international "Syfy" branding. "Syfy", in several languages, does not suggest imagination or science fiction so much as the syphilitic.[23]


Syfy's programming includes original made-for-cable movies, miniseries, and series. In the past, the channel concentrated on classic science fiction shows. However, under NBCUniversal ownership, the channel has altered its schedule in the past few years to expand its lineup of programs, and Syfy now airs shows including WWE's SmackDown, changing from the original niche programming to more general entertainment.[24]

The network had gained significant international attention for its successful original miniseries and subsequent four-season series Battlestar Galactica. In addition to many awards,[25] the United Nations invited the main cast to a retrospective and discussion.[26]

Coupled with Battlestar Galactica, Syfy gained national prominence in 2003 with the airing of Steven Spielberg Presents: Taken, which won the Emmy Award that year for best miniseries.[27] In 2006, it also began including several non-science-fiction programs in its lineup, such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, ECW (changed to WWE NXT in 2010),[28] and WCG Ultimate Gamer.[29]

Syfy has aired anime programming off and on throughout its history. It first began airing English dubbed anime films and original video animations in the early 1990s, although the programs were often edited in order to fit the market pressures typically placed on basic cable. It was the first to show the Streamline Pictures English dubs of the films Robot Carnival, Lensman and Akira, as well as airing Central Park Media's Dominion: Tank Police, Gall Force, and Project A-ko. Eventually, the channel stopped airing anime, until June 11, 2007, when it began airing a weekly two-hour programming block called "Ani-Monday".[30] Intended to directly compete with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, the block features English dubs of various anime series licensed by Manga Entertainment.[30] During February 2008, the channel also aired anime on Tuesday nights in a second programming block.[31] In July 2009, Syfy announced that they had renewed and expanded their licensing agreement with Manga Entertainment to continue the "Ani-Monday" block, as well as to add a similar two-hour block of horror anime, also called "Ani-Monday", to its sister channel Chiller.[32] Syfy's anime block was moved to Thursday nights starting March 14, 2011 where is remained until all anime programming was abruptly removed from the schedule on June 9, 2011.[33][34]

On April 13, 2010, WWE announced it had signed a multi-year agreement that would move SmackDown from MyNetworkTV to Syfy, starting on October 1, 2010. The WWE said the show would assist Syfy with targeting of young male and female audiences.[35]

Announced series/pilots

  • America's Smartest Kids: Reality television competition challenging children to "invent a better future".
  • Change the Day You Die: Reality television series following a group of individuals as they are shown how their bad habits will cause their deaths in the future, and the journey they must go through to change those bad habits.
  • Dinner With Deepak: Reality television series following Deepak Chopra as he dines each week with three high-profile dinner guests.
  • Hi Tech Hoaxes: Reality television series about a group of hoaxers and pranksters who each week perform hoaxes on unsuspecting people, based on requests from viewers.
  • In the Dark: The adventures of an amateur ghost-hunting team that continually finds its efforts frustrated by their own incompetence.
  • Me and Lee: A down-on-his-luck 20-year-old goes into the hospital for back surgery, meets Lee Majors, and is convinced to become a bionic man.
  • Monster Man: Reality television series following Cleve Hall and his family business of making monster and alien props for Hollywood.
  • Overthunk: Reality television competition in which two teams design, build, and set off "massive chain-reaction machines".
  • Stunts Unlimited: Reality television series going behind the scenes of creating big stunts for Hollywood.
  • Three Inches: After being struck by lightning, Walter Spackman discovers he has developed a super power: the ability to move an object with his mind, but only over a distance of three inches.
  • Tyler Shields: Reality television series about unconventional photographer Tyler Shields.
  • Dominion: An apocalyptic action series based on the 2010 film Legion.[39]
  • Z Nation: A drama series about a ragtag group of people surviving in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested America.[40]

Announced, unrealized projects

  • 1000 Days: A live-action made-for-TV-movie and backdoor pilot based on the Marvel Comics series Strikeforce: Morituri, about near-future soldiers who gain enhanced abilities but die 1,000 days later. Written by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, it was a Reveille Productions and Marvel Studios co-production executive produced by Reveille head Ben Silverman and Marvel Studios' Avi Arad and Rick Ungar.[42]
  • Alien Blood: TV-movie of a human rebellion when an invading alien army demands that one million people be sacrificed. Produced by UFO Films.[43]
  • Brother Voodoo: A live-action made-for-TV-movie and backdoor pilot based on the Marvel Comics supernatural character Brother Voodoo. Hans Rodionoff was announced to write the screenplay, set in New Orleans, of this Reveille Productions and Marvel Studios co-production executive produced by Reveille head Ben Silverman and Marvel Studios' Avi Arad and Rick Ungar.[42]
  • Dead Rail: A made-for-TV-movie set aboard a bullet train headed to Las Vegas on its inaugural run, and a detective who must battle hostile aliens. Written by Brian Smith, "founder of's Seeing Ear Theatre", and produced by Glow Worm.[43]
  • The Twelve: A miniseries, based on a concept by David Pirie, about an FBI agent who finds evidence that the world will end on the twelfth day of Christmas. With Martin Scorsese and producer Barbara De Fina as executive producers, with Cappa/De Fina Productions in conjunction with Adrian Bate and Zenith Entertainment Ltd., it was scheduled to debut in December 2005.[44]

Syfy original films

Spearheaded and originally launched by Thomas Vitale in 2001, and managed by Vitale, Chris Regina, and Ray Cannella, with the later additions of Karen O'Hara and Macy Lao, Sci Fi Pictures original films are typically independently-made B-movies with production budgets of $1 million to $2 million each. These films usually premiere on Saturday nights.[46] They are also one of the sponsors for the Coalition for Freedom of Information.[47] The movies have become one of the longest-lasting vestiges of Syfy's schedule. One of the most memorable campaigns for the movies presented these films as part of "The Most Dangerous Night of Television" (Saturdays). Over the years, Syfy's promotion of the movies leans into the escapist fun promised by them, with titles such as Sharktopus, Mansquito, Two-Headed Shark Attack, Ogre, Ice Twisters, Star Runners and Sharknado. Since 2001, Syfy has worked with a number of different production companies (most of them independent) to make over 200 original movies of this type.



The channel's website launched in 1995 under the name "The Dominion" at It dropped the "The Dominion" name in 2000. It was one of the first large-scale, publicly available, well-advertised, and non-portal based websites. In addition to information on the channel's programming, it covers science fiction in general. The site has won a Webby Award and a Flash Forward Award. From 2000 to 2005, it published original science fiction short stories in a section called "Sci Fiction", edited by Ellen Datlow, who won a 2005 Hugo Award for her work there. The stories themselves won a World Fantasy Award; the first Theodore Sturgeon Award for online fiction (for Lucius Shepard's novella "Over Yonder"), and four of the Science Fiction Writers of America's Nebula Awards, including the first for original online fiction (for Linda Nagata's novella "Goddesses").[48]

On April 22, 2006, the site launched Sci Fi Pedia as a commercial wiki on topics including anime, comics, science fiction, fantasy, horror, fandom, games and toys, UFOs, genre-related art and audio, and the paranormal.[49] In 2009, Sci Fi Pedia was shut down without explanation.

As part of the channel's rebranding in 2009, the URL was changed to As of 2010, began to contain webisode series including Riese: Kingdom Falling (as of October 26, 2010), The Mercury Men (as of July 25, 2011, and Nuclear Family[50] (as of October 15, 2012).

Science Fiction Weekly

Science Fiction Weekly was an online magazine started and edited by Craig Engler and Brooks Peck on August 15, 1995. In April 1996, it began appearing exclusively on "The Dominion" as part of a partnership with the site, before being sold to the Sci Fi Channel completely in 1999.[51] The publication covered various aspects of science fiction, including news, reviews, original art, and interviews, until it merged with Sci Fi Wire in January 2009. It was last edited by Scott Edelman.

Sci Fi Magazine

Sci Fi Magazine is the channel's official magazine. As of 2005, it is edited by Scott Edelman.


Blastr[52] (formerly Sci Fi Wire), an adjunct of the Syfy website, is the daily news wire edited by Scott Edelman. It covers news related to science fiction, fantasy and supernatural-themed entertainment, including films, television, games, books, fandom and rumors. Blastr is frequently cited as a source of breaking news by other websites and by publications as varied as the New York Post and TV Guide.


In 2008, Syfy, then the Sci Fi Channel, averaged a 1.0 household rating; 242,000 viewers among Adults 18–34 (up 4% vs 2007); 616,000 viewers among Adults 18–49 (up 5% vs 2007); 695,000 viewers among Adults 25–54 (up 6% vs 2007) and 1,278,000 total viewers (up 7% vs 2007). It saw two years of consecutive growth among female audiences, with a 12% increase among women 25–54, a 14% jump in women 18–49 and 6% in women 18–34. The channel also was ranked among the top ten watched channels for male viewers ages 18–54, and women ages 25–54 (#10).[53]

For 2010, Syfy averaged 1.199 million viewers, down 6% from 2009. In Adults 18–49 the channel averaged .539 million viewers, down 11% from 2009. For 2010 Syfy did not hold any of the Top 20 Primetime Original Series.[54]

See also


  1. ^ Lieberman, David. "Comcast Completes Acquisition Of GE’s 49% Stake In NBCUniversal." (March 19, 2013)
  2. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 23, 2013). "List of How Many Homes Each Cable Networks Is In - Cable Network Coverage Estimates As Of August 2013".  
  3. ^ Strother, Susan (October 23, 1989). "The Business of Science Fiction: Mitchell Rubenstein Is Turning People On to the Sci-Fi Channel".  
  4. ^ Chase, Averil (n.d.). "The Sci-Fi Channel, a History of the First Two Years". The Thunder Child. 
  5. ^ Carter, Bill (September 28, 1992). "Will There Be Any Space For Outer Space on Cable?".  
  6. ^ Carter, Bill (March 31, 1992). "Television Notes; NBC Tries Again With a News-Magazine Format". The New York Times. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  7. ^ Himna, Catherine. "Sci-fi Channel Picks Disney As Home Port". Orlando Sentinel. 
  8. ^ a b Rubenstein, Mitchell (March 22, 2009). "Syfy, Say Iy's Not So!".  
  9. ^ "The Seagram Company Ltd. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. today announced that Seagram has agreed to purchase an 80 percent interest in MCA for $5.704 billion in cash".  
  10. ^ Swann, Phillip (October 3, 2007). "DirecTV Adds Six HD Channels". Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  11. ^ """JREF's Pigasus Awards "Honors" Dubious Peddlers of "Woo.  
  12. ^ Bianculli, David (March 19, 1999). "Freaky Fridays On Revised Sci-fi Cabler Gets Busy As Networks Nap".  
  13. ^ """SCI FI Channel Re-Positions Itself as "The Channel of Imagination. Free Online Library. Dec 17, 2002. Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  14. ^ Mirkin, Steve (August 31, 2003). "The Minds Behind SCI FI Channel’s New Look". Animation World Network. Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  15. ^ Hinman, Michael (March 15, 2009). "SciFi Channel Changes Name ... To Syfy".  
  16. ^ Wheaton, Ken (March 17, 2009). "Should We Start a Syfy Death Watch?".  
  17. ^ Schneider, Michael (March 20, 2009). "TV rebranding a tricky proposition".  
  18. ^ "Tip/Wag - Mississippi, Talk Shows, SyFy". March 18, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2010. 
  19. ^ Elliot, Stuart (March 15, 2009). "Sci Fi Channel Has a New Name: Now, It's Syfy". The New York Times. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  20. ^ Syfy is Turning Into VH1: More Reality TV and Tracy Morgan, io9, March 18, 2010
  21. ^ Syfy Announces New Programming for 2010-2011, The Flick Cast, March 19, 2010
  22. ^ Syfy Channel 2010: More Reality, More Games, Inside TV, March 23, 2010
  23. ^ SCI FI president Dave Howe answers your Syfy questions, Sci Fi Wire, March 20, 2009
  24. ^ Pennington, Gail (July 9, 2010). Haven' widens reach of Syfy programming"'". Tube Talk (with Gail Pennington).  
  25. ^  
  26. ^ "UN and Battlestar Galactica host discussion of human rights and armed conflict".  
  27. ^ "Outstanding Miniseries 2003".  
  28. ^ Stropoli, Rebecca (May 25, 2006). "Sci Fi Gets Itself in a Headlock".  
  29. ^ Griffin McElroy. "WCG Ultimate Gamer reality show hits SciFi Channel March 10".  
  30. ^ a b "Sci Fi Channel Launches Monday Night Anime Block".  
  31. ^ "America's Sci Fi Channel Adds Anime on Tuesdays".  
  32. ^ Beveridge, Chris (July 15, 2009). "Syfy, Chiller Take On More Anime". ManiaEntertainment. Retrieved July 15, 2009. 
  33. ^ "U.S. Syfy TV Channel Moves Anime to Thursdays in March". Anime News Network. February 23, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  34. ^ "U.S. SyFy Channel Lists No More Anime After June 9". Anime News Network. May 27, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  35. ^ "SmackDown" Goes Syfy, World Wrestling Entertainment, April 13, 2010
  36. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 22, 2011). "Syfy Presents Programming Slate At Upfront". Deadline. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  37. ^ Woerner, Meredith (April 25, 2012). "How Syfy Will Bring Science Fiction Back to Television". i09. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  38. ^ Heroes of Cosplay" Coming to SyFy With Chloe Dykstra, Holly Conrad, Jessica Merizan""". 7 July 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  39. ^ "'"Syfy Announces Premiere Dates for 'Defiance' and 'Dominion. TV By the Numbers. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  40. ^ Syfy Announces All-New Zombie Series 'Z Nation'
  41. ^ "SCI FI Slate Announced". Sci Fi Wire, (Syfy/Sci Fi Channel). April 3, 2002. Archived from the original on June 6, 2002. 
  42. ^ a b "SCI FI Adapts Marvel Series". Sci Fi Wire (Sci Fi Channel). January 3, 2003. Archived from the original on February 8, 2002. 
  43. ^ a b "SCI FI Unveils Film Slate". Sci Fi Wire (Sci Fi Channel). July 9, 2003. Archived from the original on August 4, 2003. 
  44. ^ "Scorsese Comes to SCI FI". Sci Fi Wire (Sci Fi Channel). July 11, 2003. Archived from the original on August 4, 2003. 
  45. ^ Pilot"Kyra"Twohy Readies . Sci Fi Wire ( June 7, 2004. Archived from the original on June 7, 2004. 
  46. ^ Wolf, Gary (October 2004). "We've Created a Monster!".  
  47. ^ "SCI FI Channel Challenges Government Secrecy". Coalition for Freedom of Information (Press release). October 22, 2002. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  48. ^ "SciFiction". Official site (Syfy/Sci Fi Channel). Archived from the original on August 31, 2005.  Also: Archive of SciFiction stories, May 15, 2000 - December 28, 2005
  49. ^ "'"Sci Fi Has Its Finger On The 'Pulse (Press release). The Futon Critic, Sci Fi Channel. April 26, 2006. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  50. ^ Danzis, Alan. "SyFy's Upcoming 'Nuclear Family' To Premiere First On Xbox LIVE". Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  51. ^ "Sci Fi's Craig Engler Promoted To SVP & GM, Sci Fi Digital". VFXWorld. March 13, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  52. ^ SCI FI Wire Changes Its Name, Looks to the Future with Blastr, Access Hollywood, July 14, 2010
  53. ^ "Sci Fi Has Best year Ever! #5 in Adults 25 - 54" (Press release). The Futon Critic, Sci Fi Channel. December 17, 2008. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  54. ^ "Year-End Cable Ratings: USA Still On Top, History Breaks Into Top 10 With Big Gains". Deadline Hollywood. December 23, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2011 

External links

  • Official website
  • SyFy Games
  • Syfy on Facebook
  • Syfy on Google+
  • Syfy on Twitter
  • Syfy's channel on YouTube
  • Syfy at the Internet Movie Database
  • Boucher, Geoff (December 7, 2008). "Sci Fi charts its course for the future". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
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