Comic-Con '08: Partying with David Howe
That’s what it seemed like every VIP at Comic-Con was doing with the Sci-Fi Channel president on Saturday night at the Solomar Hotel, just a few blocks away from the San Diego Convention Center. The Sci Fi party,which was co-sponsored with Entertainment Weekly, brought out a variety of TV and film talent, plus the top executives from a host of studios and networks. I grabbed Howe for a quick conversation right before he hit the party’s red carpet (and I hit the bar).
B&C: What are your goals when you come to Comic-Con?
DH: It’s two things. First of all it is giving something back to the fans, the hard core fans, who are actually responsible for creating our shows, giving us our hits, virally talking about the hits, getting our content out there. That’s one front in the attack. The other front of attack is these people are abs the forefront spreading virally news and info about what we’re doing and what our plans are. So they are a huge asset to us. They love us fortunately, they feel a part of what we do. They have a stake in it. They are very protective about the shows that we create, and actually that’s something that a lot of networks can’t necessarily fall upon.
B&C: What were you hoping to get across while you were here?
We’ve been at Comic-Con probably the last 10 years, and we have always felt part of Comic-Con family. I personally haven’t been here in three years, and even compared to three years ago, it is just colossal now. It is kind of strategic opportunity to think long and hard about who we are and what we’re doing and what we need to communicate.
B&C: Do you have to educate your talent before they come here? Do they know what it means to be at Comic-Con?
The new shows, it hits them like a bus. None of them expect the level of adulation, and attention, the level of appreciation and affection. It is phenomenal. When we launch a new show, with new talent, they kind of come here in a small room and there are a lot of interesting questions, but it’s not a big deal. A year later and suddenly they are shocked they can’t walk everywhere, they are constantly bombarded about people wanting autographs, they are the center of attention.
B&C: Is Comic-Con more important than TCA?
No. I think they are both different for different reasons. I think Comic-Con is about consumers and our audience and giving back and also reaching out. I think TCA is strategically important because that’s about positioning the messages, the brand, getting the press to understand why we do things and to talk to us. They fulfill different functions. We release some news here, but a lot the stuff from a trade perspective we do at TCA.
B&C: How has Comic-Con been for you personally?
I have to say I’m coming back next year. Three years away is too long.
B&C: Are you going to be happy when everyone knows who the twelfth Cylon is? Will you be happy when the secret is finally out?
No, I won’t be happy because it will be like an end of an era. Nobody wants to see it end. But in the words of Ron Moore, it is kind of gratifying to have closed something, to help finish something, to actually have told the story in a way to reach a satisfactory ending.
B&C: What about the next iteration of “Battlestar?”
Well, “Caprica’s” now a pilot which will be a backdoor two-hour movie. I haven’t seen it yet, but we’ll get a rough cut in the next couple weeks, but we’re very optimistic that will go to series next year.
B&C: Do you see doing for “Battlestar” what they have done with the Star Wars brand?
We talk about those things, but I think “Battlestar” is such an important landmark show it won’t ever die. So it will be kept alive either through ongoing movies, potentially some sort of feature, animated shows. All of those things are up for grabs.