X

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.

ackermandan-square
ackermandan-square
Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman

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."