Programming

UPFRONT & CENTER: Sci Fi Channel Expands Web Offerings

Cable Network Announces Stand-Alone Gaming and Tech Sites; Original Scripted and Unscripted Shows; New Social Game 3/18/2008 02:00:00 PM Eastern

Sci Fi Channel is expanding its Web offerings in gaming, technology and entertainment programming -- three areas it said its tech-savvy audience favors.

SciFi.com

The network announced plans for stand-alone gaming and tech sites, original scripted and unscripted shows and a new social game at its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York Tuesday.

As it continues to position itself as the home of all things science-fiction, not just a linear cable network, SciFi.com is an increasingly important part of the channel’s portfolio. The site averaged about 3 million unique visitors each month in 2007, according to Sci Fi.

“Our growing network of sites -- starting with the incredibly successful launch of DVICE and continuing next with gaming -- is designed to tap into our audience’s insatiable appetite for technology, games and entertainment,” said Craig Engler, senior vice president of SciFi.com.

The game site will launch in mid-April as a blog-esque hub for news and information on games, players and strategy. Separately, SciFi.com will add a Game Center of casual games, also in mid-April, and launch “Cylon or Human,” a social game in which people pick identities and create pages for themselves and their network of friends.

On the programming side, SciFi.com redid its Sci Fi Rewind video player to stream full-length TV episodes with better technology.

The site will premiere Battlestar Galactica’s fourth and final season debut episode nine hours before it runs on the linear TV channel, and it will host complementary Webisodes, as it has for past seasons, throughout the show’s final run.

Also joining the site is Starcrossed, a Web-only series about the behind-the-scenes antics of a science-fiction space soap. The show is written by Stargate Atlantis’ David Hewlett and executive produced by Stargate Atlantis/SG-1’s Jane Loughman and John G. Lenic.

For complete coverage of the upfronts, click here.

March