The new title gives him official oversight of all aspects of the channel, including programming, development, marketing and branding.
The move, long in the works, makes him the network's top executive. He shifts now from overseeing day-to-day operations to all strategic-development responsibilities for the network. His first order of business: continuing to try to make Sci Fi more than just a TV network in consumers’ minds.
Sci Fi has branched into a magazine, consumer products, comic books and video games, and it is continuing to try to broaden its brand recognition to consumers to stand for all things science-fiction-related, not just television programming.
“There’s a lot of areas I want us to focus on and figure out how we can ultimately tap the hugely untapped potential of this brand,” Howe said in an interview. “This is the most mainstream genre out there, and we have the ability to own an entire category both in terms of television and other affinity lifestyle areas.”
He continued, “This formally recognizes the role in terms of really taking Sci Fi to the next level. The buck stops with me in terms of really finding out how to diversify our revenue stream going forward.”
Howe joined Sci Fi in September 2001 after a long career in British TV, including 15 years at the British Broadcasting Corp., to head up marketing. He has since overseen a brand redefinition to broaden Sci Fi's target audience beyond teen-age boys in their basements.
The network got a big boost from its recent retelling of The Wizard of Oz story, Tin Man. The miniseries was its highest-rated original ever.
"Dave has been an inspired contributor to Sci Fi’s success since the day he joined the team," Hammer said in announcing the appointment. “The channel's on a tremendous roll and the energy, creativity and commitment Dave brings to his new role can only accelerate the momentum."