Syfy is an American basic cable television channel, launched on September 24, 1992 under the name Sci Fi Channel and currently owned by NBCUniversal. Originally, the network specialized in science fiction programming with shows like Battlestar Galactica and Stargate Atlantis. Over the years, however, the channel branched out into paranormal, fantasy and horror programs as well. In 2009, the channel adopted the Syfy name. It is roughly equivalent to the Canadian network Space.
Entertainment industry entrepreneurs Mitchel Rubinstein and Laurie S. Silvers founded the SCI-FI CHANNEL as a small venture with minimal distribution in the early 1990s. Shortly after Rubinstein and Silvers' Hollywood Media Corp established the network, it was purchased on September 19, 1992 by USA Networks, a joint operation between Paramount Pictures and MCA which also ran USA Network and Court TV at the time, for $30 million.
In its infancy, the network acted as a secondary market for science fiction television shows, movies and film serials either owned by the two companies or purchased for broadcast after the initial investment. USA Networks reportedly spent $70 million on acquiring programming for the network, including shows like Dark Shadows and Doctor Who. In addition to its second-run programming, the network also launched original series, starting with Sightings in 1992, and helped popularize anime in the United States. Many of the programming decisions were supervised by the channel's advisory board, which included science fiction luminaries Gene Roddenberry and Isaac Asimov.
Several years after the network was established, its parent company saw a series of shake-ups. In 1994, Paramount was sold to Viacom and Seagram purchased a controlling stake in MCA. Three years later, Seagram bought Viacom's interest in USA and the SCI-FI CHANNEL and subsequently sold them to Barry Diller in 1998, who formed USA Networks, Inc., which also included film, TV and home shopping assets.
From November 1998, the Sci-Fi Channel was re-branded as SF. Then from January 1999 reverted to a shorter version of the original name SCI FI. On December 2, 2002, the name was again relaunched as mixed case Sci Fi.
All of these assets, with the exception of the home shopping channels, were sold to Vivendi Universal in 2002 and then merged with NBC with all of Universal's other film and television assets in 2004. After the merger, the network began airing more programs outside of science fiction, paranormal, horror and fantasy shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and ECW.
On March 16, 2009, Sci Fi announced that it would be changing its name to Syfy, in an effort to rebrand the network, which had gradually fallen away from being based purely on science fiction programming. Executives also hoped that the move would make the network's name more profitable for marketing, due to the fact that "Sci Fi" is a generic term and "Syfy" can be protected by trademark. The new name took effect on July 7, 2009 with the tagline of "Imagine Greater."
- Program Listing: A complete listing of shows that aired new episodes on Syfy.
- SCI FI Pictures: Listing of original made-for-TV movies produced for the network.