Great Achievements, Greater Expectations
By Stuart Miller -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/14/2007 7:00:00 PM
How would you like to be the one to put your reputation on the line by asking for a $40 million budget for a miniseries—for a cable science-fiction miniseries, no less? And how much more nervous would you be if the boss you were asking to pony up the dough was someone with a reputation for being, shall we say, less than forgiving—somebody like Barry Diller?
When pitch came to shove for getting Taken made in 2002, however, Bonnie Hammer didn't flinch, and the miniseries was a breakout hit for the Sci Fi Channel.
Things for Hammer couldn't seem to be better. Now president of USA Network—cable's top-rated network in 2006—and Sci Fi, she's a major asset that NBC Universal inherited when it acquired control of those networks.
One of this year's recipients of NATPE's Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, Hammer says she finds it “amazing to have my name linked in the same sentence” with the late legendary NBC programmer. But she does see some similarities in their approach to television.
“I'm a risk-taker,” she says. “The chance to win big or lose big gets me excited. I like a challenge that makes me stretch and that sets the bar high for my team and makes them stretch for a goal, too.”
Hammer has been stretching and pushing herself in new directions for years, whether it was working in photojournalism, on programs like Frontline and Nova for WGBH, or helping carve a niche in the 1980s for a fledgling cable network called Lifetime.
“We'd do documentaries about women's issues on a shoestring budget and then sit in Meredith Wagner's apartment in the Village drinking a bottle of wine and watching the rough cuts,” Hammer recalls, referring to her former co-worker, who is now executive VP of public affairs for the women's network.
At Sci Fi and USA, the budgets have grown, but so have the expectations. By taking risks and blending her programming skills with branding and marketing savvy, Hammer has proved more than up to the task. “She's a left-brain and right-brain person,” says NATPE President Rick Feldman. “Like Brandon, she's a smart business executive, but she also has plenty of creative input.”
That combination prompted Hammer to take a chance on projects like the 20-hour Taken that helped make Sci Fi into a mainstream channel; the miniseries won Sci Fi its first Golden Globe nomination and its first major Emmy (Best Miniseries). She joined that network in 1989 and took the top job in 2001, and these days Sci Fi is Top 10 in households and key demos, and a revised Battlestar Galactica has become one of television's most acclaimed series, even earning a Peabody Award. USA, which Hammer took over in 2004, had golden years in the past, but it hasn't been cable's leading network for six years—until now.
But success hasn't dramatically changed Hammer. “Like Brandon, she's a mentor to a lot of people,” Feldman says. “And she's one of those people who have figured out how to get a lot out of people without acting wretchedly toward them. She's someone people really like. She has great leadership abilities.”
“I definitely put together Bonnie and Brandon in a big way,” says Edward James Olmos, who co-starred in Tartikoff's hit Miami Vice and now co-stars on Sci Fi's somewhat surprising hit Battlestar Galactica. “Like Brandon, Bonnie is very committed and follows her instincts—in this business, you sometimes have to give way to your gut feelings.”
Additionally, Hammer still keeps her eye on the larger good. At USA, she's looking into bringing back the network's “Erase the Hate” campaign that she created years ago. In September, she launched the Visions for Tomorrow initiative, an effort to spark America's leading thinkers, organizations and policymakers into searching for ways to solve society's most pressing issues. She also serves as a mentor for Women in Film & Television.
While this TV lifer remains committed to the medium, she is not content to coast. At work, that means finding “great growth possibilities for my team,” but she also wants to make at least one feature film and write a book.
Says Hammer, “I'm always looking for the next challenge.”
Bonnie Hammer is a horrible failure. She has turned the network into a mockery, and ruined just about every show that WAS enjoyed. Bonnie Hammer and her decisions are abhorred, both by men, and by women. From bungled decisions such as putting horrible pro wrestling on the channel meant for science fiction, to cancelling just about every show that was good. Alienating viewers. Angering fans. Losing viewership. Losing money and revenue for the network. Irritating the female audience by tainting the USA network, and Sci fi channel with ECW pro wrestling which depicts women getting beat in the face. Boasting about nurturing channels for women, while behind women's backs, renewing shows like garbage wrestling that pour in a 86% male demographic.
And wrestling ratings on Sci fi are HORRIBLE. Her executive decision to insert Wrestling on the sci fi channel is a dismal failure. The Nielsen's for wrestling on sci fi are a flop. 1.1, 1.0, 1.6, 1.2's.
Who on earth wrote that article above, that person seems like they did not even know what is going on in the broadcast television industry. Bonnie Hammer has now even been transferred AWAY from meddling in the sci fi channel, NBC dumped her back toward USA channel
Go check the "Letters to the editor" on sci fi channel...you will see innumerable complaints about Bonnie Hammer, totally disgusted with Bonnie Hammer from both females and males. Letter after letter calling for her resignation.
There have even been petitions launched about Bonnie Hammer, to get her and her cohort Mark Stern fired off NBC due to their incompetence and horrible decisions, awful programming, and alienation of their entire audience.
Here is a sample of what people are saying about Bonnie Hammer, and her decisions at USA Network, and her poor management at NBC Sci Fi channel:
Irene Senkoff: "How can the president of the Sci-Fi Channel [Bonnie Hammer] be so bloody dense. The things she is putting on that station make me physically ill. Do NOT allow her to continue as president of a channel with such promise. She is giving science fiction a bad name."
Akis Katsimenis: "Bonnie Hammer must go NOW!!!"
Christine Ciraolo: "fire her! bring back scifi."
Wendy Rosenblum: "This [sci fi] channel is a major disappointment, and I rarely watch it."
Loraine B.: "Wrestling is not scifi. bring back the vintage SciFi."
These are women, who are sick of Bonnie Hammer, by the thousands. Equally despised by both men & women for putting horrible programs depicting simulated rapes, men beating women in the face with a bat, and renewing that while selling out for ratings and canceling the shows that people liked in favor of cheap garbage.
Broadcast MediaPulse - 2/14/2008 9:34:00 AM EST
what we have now is a sad joke played on us, the viewers!"
Ramona Jackson: "I am notifying Direct TV of my desire to drop the SciFi channel from my subscription. I do not wish to pay for something I no longer watch nor enjoy"
Linda Spooner: "...how can trippingtherift even get on the air? How can you allow that" [Note: TrippingTheRift is a show put on under the watch of Bonnie Hammer & Mark Stern, that shows animated depictions of women getting manhandled and nearly raped in it. This is shown in some places at 4pm just when (your) kids might come home from school.]
Debra Steinman: "Your programming [on Sci fi chanel] has gone down hill...worthy of the PLAYBOYCHANNEL but nothing else! And YOU''VE stopped listening to the fans"
Joanne Murphy: "I hardly watch this [Sci Fi] channel any more. iam sincerely disappointed with your offerings."
Cheryl Rowland: "My sons are very disappointed"
Joan Kearney: "I see more sci fi on Fox! Changes need to be made."
Rhonda Keller: "We want Sci fi back, like SG1, not some of the lame things on now!!!"
Julie Hunkar: "Except for Farscape reruns, and Stargate, we don''t watch the Scifi channel anymore! the Horror channel as I like to call it."
Holly Hine: "...I''M DROPPING THE CHANNEL"
Michele Y Hosack: "I almost never watch this [Sci fi] channel anymore. ... the programming and marketing have become so poor that it has driven people away..."
Melda A. Tripp: "Science Fiction is not..."Field of Dreams" [Sci Fi aired that] nor Cape Fear! [horror movie with robert de niro]...You all definitly have a problem. it is called lackof good judgement. Please listen to the fans. We are bright,educated, and intelligent! Please treat us this way!"
Betty Phipps: "It would be nice to have a channel that lived up to its name."
Kelly Hora: "the current management is destroying the sci fi channel"
Dorothy Crater: "Sci Fi channel used to be more focused-I love Lexx and really was saddened to hear it had gone off the air. Where have all the classical sci fi fantasy gone?"
Robbie Cohen: "As a person who owns a film production business in Australia, I am appalled at the way some of these executives blatantly ignore and disregard the community.."
Roberta a Krencik: "I want my old sci fi channel back"
Lorrie Calvin: "Sci fi means science ficition, not horror shows!"
Kimberly Graesser: "Since the cancellation of Farscape, I have no need to watch the Sci Fi channel, due to the poor programming. I will also be boycotting the sponsors until some change is made."
Bonnie Hammer, along with cohort Mark Stern, have single handedly been bungling programming decisions during their entire tenure, and Millions upon millions of viewers have just about had it with Bonnie Hammer and are sick and tired of her awful management.
Bonnie Hammer has done for tv, usa, sci fi (which she managed), and women, what Michael Jackson''s nose has done for rhinoplasty.
Bonnie hammer has made NBC USA SCIFI into a horrible abomination, and sickening laughing stock of the entire planet. As you can see from above, thousands and thousands of people want her dumped and fired off the entire nbc network.
Broadcast Media Pulse - 2/14/2008 9:21:00 AM EST
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