Sci Fi Channel to become Syfy: Thank the lawyers?

In perhaps the most ill-advised branding move since New Coke, the network's basic-cable Sci Fi Channel will be renamed the phonetically similar Syfy on July 7.

In perhaps the most ill-advised branding move since New Coke, NBC's basic-cable Sci Fi Channel will be renamed the phonetically similar Syfy on July 7.

The change reportedly comes from a desire to own a trademark on the network's name. The term sci-fi is a generic description of a fiction genre (often featuring futuristic technology), while Syfy can be a unique brand.

Bonnie Hammer, president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, told The New York Times, "We couldn't own Sci Fi; it's a genre...but we can own Syfy."

The derisive hoots have already begun. Entertainment industry columnist Nikki Finke points out, "Adding to the idiocy is that there's already a company called SyFi Global, an information technology (specialist)." Meanwhile, Gawker says the network's new tagline, Imagine Greater, "means nothing and is grammatically incoherent."

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.

 

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