News comes today that Sci Fi Channel needs to change its name in a necessary rebrand; henceforth, the network of science fiction programming will be known as “Syfy.” Bonnie Hammer, former president of the network and now president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment adds the explanation, “We couldn’t own Sci Fi; it’s a genre. But we can own Syfy.” The new tagline for the network: “Imagine Greater.”
This is problematic for a lot of other networks, ones we suggest will also have to “imagine greater” when it comes to naming and ownership.
Food Network springs to mind. The network may think it OWNS food, but Fox’s Gordon Ramsey’s got a message: Wake up and smell the burnt soufflé. There could be hell to pay if Food doesn’t change its name, and soon. Might I suggest: Fd. I know: It reads like an abbreviation on the Periodic Table. But that might lead to a good ad strategy. Fd: Imagine Greater Elements. If that doesn’t work, how about EVOO? Just making a suggestion.
And where does Comedy Central get off? How about right here? I laugh watching every network. Even C-Span delivers a good humdinger every now and again. Besides, there’s nothing inherently funny about the name “Comedy Central” anyway. How about this: CMDY. Sound like an abbreviation for something illicit. Now that’s funny.
Golf Channel? Yeah, okay, sure. The network that doesn’t show the final rounds of the majors . . . owns golf. Someone at the network needs a mulligan. Here’s what I think: Glph. Take away the pesky vowel, and throw in the ph at the end. Makes it classy. Or how about this: Tgr. That’d bring the kids in.
History Channel . . . you’ve got to be kidding. To quote noted historian Cherilyn Sarkisian—okay, Cher—“If I could turn back time, I’d take back those words.” History is a hard thing to take ownership of. Face facts: You’d need a much bigger programming slate than you’ve got. Might we suggest: Pst. Or better yet, Wr.
It’s hard not to applaud this cogent move by Sci Fi . . . sorry, I mean, Syfy. Still getting used to that. But I smell a good trend coming. You hear that, folks at TVLand? Do I watch ALL my TV on your network? Are you some giant portal through which I do all my viewing? No, you’re not.
And please don’t get me started on YES.
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Rob has written for Broadcasting+Cable since 2006, starting with his work on the magazine’s award-winning 75th-anniversary issue. He was born a few blocks away from Yankee Stadium … so of course he’s published three books on NASCAR, most notably, Full Throttle: The Life and Fast Times of NASCAR Legend Curtis Turner. He’s currently the special projects editor at TV Guide Magazine. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post and his origami art has been in The Wall Street Journal. He lives with his family in New Jersey and is writing a novel about the Wild West.
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