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Syfy Informs Us that WWE Is "Imagination-Based Sports Entertainment"

Wwe-wrestling About a year ago, the Sci Fi network took a dramatic step toward their rebranding and changed their name to Syfy. Because apparently the key to success is 1) spell things phonetically thereby removing all meaning 2) alienate your already alienated audience base 3) ... 4) PROFIT/DINOSHARK!


Back during the name change, Sci Fi founder Tim Brooks stated,

"The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular."

Ugh. Somebody get this guy a communications counselor. Not only did he insult the perhaps small but built-in audience/meal ticket that he had in favor of a not-yet-existent new audience, but he was stupid enough not to realize that video game geekery is far more mainstream now and there's no need to slap a negative connotation on it. Also, women may be the minority in "geek" circles, but we're certainly there and you don't need to insult us by purchasing programming that your flunkie demographics crew tells you that we'll like. ("What if we ran a Star Trek marathon but made it so that everyone was wearing pink? Chicks love pink! Dolla dolla billz, y'all!")

Anyway, while Syfy continues to bring fairly quality sci-fi programming like Caprica and Dinoshark (fuck yeah), they recently made a telling move in their rebranding efforts: picking up the WWE's Friday Night Smackdown.

I'm not going to insist that sci-fi geeks couldn't possibly have any interest in wrestling (or "wrestling" as the case may be). I'm sure there's plenty of crossover. But, and forgive me if I'm over-thinking this, what the hell does professional wrestling have to do with science fiction? Well, let's smoke whatever drugs Syfy president Dave Howe is on and listen to his rationale:

"WWE is the ultimate in imagination-based sports entertainment. The fantastical thrills of Friday Night SmackDown provide an ideal addition to the Syfy slate, as it targets the younger male and female demographics, which are the fastest growing categories for WWE. With Tuesday night, a proven winner for our original drama series including Warehouse 13, there is bigger opportunity for series such as Stargate Universe, Sanctuary and Caprica to thrive on a night with a significantly larger number of viewers available to watch live."

Ah, spin dressed up as rhetoric, how I love thee. "Imagination-based sports entertainment" is I'm-trying-to-buy-another-yacht-speak for, "That shit is fake and so is science fiction so we're golden."

Sure. It's true that WWE is all theater and the participants play out elaborate conflicts through intricate choreography and overacting for throngs of people juiced up on Monster energy drinks and escapism, and WWE is expanding into other avenues of entertainment, including video games, so perhaps this marriage makes more sense than I'm giving it credit for. It just still seems far-fetched to me.

I guess I want to know how Syfy loyalists feel about these changes. Are you feeling abandoned by the network that was supposedly for you? Tell me. This is a safe space for you, unlike Syfy which has now flooded your space with the dudes that shoved you into lockers in high school.

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Comments

norm

Dare I say that the network is ... jumping the dinoshark?

I was very unhappy when Spike TV started. They had all the damn Star Trek reruns, but they had the most appalling and misogynistic ads so we couldn't let the kids watch. "Syfy" is going down the same road. It won't be long before I start changing the channel in disgust.

Bethany

I'm seconding norm and I don't even have kids! I just don't want to see misogynistic ads and change then channel whenever an ad for WWE comes on and surf until I think the ad is done. Does wrestling really have a large female audience? Is that really how they think they'll get smart female viewers? I love Warehouse 13 and Eureka and do have the Star Trek on Monday nights but I'm not feeling as much a part of the network as I used to. It just doesn't feel as "smart" anymore.

Melinda

Word. It's been an ongoing conversation between my husband and I for months now on why the heck there is wrestling on "SyFy", and how amazingly annoying it is. I am a diehard loyal fan of several "SyFy" shows (Stargate, Eureka, Warehouse 13)But I've been more and more disappointed and annoyed at the direction "SyFy seems to be taking these days, and this makes me even more sad. I'd really hate to lose one of the few channels I can typically always rely on when I want to watch plain old good sci fi. And I also find it extremely offensive at the notion that since I'm a sci fi fan I must be a geek in the basement. I'm a girl, that watches sci fi and manages to have a pretty successful career and social life outside of my mom's basement, and I resent the implication that these gimmicks will appeal to me more because silly girls really can't understand real sci fi.

Jessi

Frankly, I don't find the addition of wrestling nearly as troubling as the change to "SyFy" which I dubbed a pet name for syphilis.

I am a geek girl through and through and have watched SyFy for years. Years. I love a lot of their original programming (Warehouse 13, Caprica, formerly The Dresden Files) and I absolutely get giddy over their miniseries (Tinman, Alice). I am also quite the fan of the creature features. But, let's face it. A lot of these things are not really science fiction. Lake Placid 2 was not even a little science fiction. It has long been a channel for SF, yes, but also for horror, suspense and fantasy. And yeah, wrestling doesn't fit in with any of that, but if wrestling pays the bills well enough to get fabulous programming like Alice funded, then, I'll change the channel every Friday night and be glad for what I've got.

And let's face it. Geeks are everywhere, we are not nearly the marginal audience that everyone believes we are. But, we could stand some help. If wrestling pulls in people who then become genuinely interested in Eureka and then become real fans of the genre, then so be it. I won't complain.

Jessi

Wow, that was long. Sorry, yo.

anna

They've had WWE for ages. The only thing new here is moving the dramas to Tuesday and slapping the wrestling on Fridays.

But I've been annoyed at Sci-Fi since they canceled Farscape and stopped showing MST3K, so even though I still watch Warehouse 13, Eureka, and Caprica, I'm never actually happy with them and their stupid stupid name.

Karen

Anna--yep, when we lost MST3K I was very grumpy. Ask my husband. BSG was the saving grace of SciFi for a while, and Caprica is darn good, and Warehouse 13 is watchable (it's no X Files, not by a long shot, but I like the actor who plays the boss).

But wrestling? WTF? None of the wrestling fans I've ever known have been into science fiction or fantasy. Somebody has their demographics skewed.

jillian

Let me explain in short words. Not all young people are alike. Scifi is for smart people. WWE is for idiot rednecks. You cannot serve them all.

Washington "Do Not Adjust the Vertical" Cube

So are you gonna be KYDY? ...leading to all sorts of questions about explosions in your bedstead.

Maybe I should be WahCah? WooCoo? WuCu?

I just skimmed a television guide to see if I even watch SYFY anymore, and the answer is "nope" except for the occasional movie I guess.

Heck. They could be the Star Trek/24/7 station. I've always thought certain things should have their own tv station and that's all they run: Law and Order, Star Trek, Cheesy 70's shows like Mannix-Cannon-HarryO-Kojak-HawaiiFiveO-AnythingO, Hitler History channel stuff, James Bond movies.

This only works if you see someone doing a piledriver on a Klingon.

incognito

I'm not totally sure that WWE is solely for idiot rednecks. It was extremely popular at my Ivy law school. (Maybe they were watching ironically, but some explained to me it wasn't about the wrestling, it was about the storylines.)

I was sad when the Outdoor Life Network changed to Versus and took up auto racing and MMA all weekend. Just can't fight that young male demographic, I guess.

Becca

WWE has been on Syfy since it was still Sci Fi. The old ECW brand made its debut there and was on for years so this isn't a new thing.

And for what it's worth, I'm female, and I'm a huge pro-wrestling fan. Just because the outcomes are predetermined doesn't mean they don't earn it every step of the way. You can't fake getting hit in the head with a chair, and there are no springs beneath the mat.




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