R.I.P FEARnet: Comcast Will Soon Fold The Network Into Chiller And Syfy
Well, horror fans, it looks like the glory days of having two genre-themed TV channels will soon be coming to an end, as FEARnet is getting the pink slip – or the blood-red slip, as it were – from parent company Comcast. Considering the channel’s market was limited to specific cable outlets, this won’t affect as many viewers as the dissolution of a more popular brand would, but it’s never fun to watch something fail. Especially when Comcast, recently voted the Worst Company in America in a Consumerist poll, is the one pulling the plug.
FEARnet began as a multi-platform network broadcasting both televised and online content, launched in a three-way partnership between Comcast, Lionsgate Entertainment and Sony Pictures in 2010. The latter two companies recently decided to opt out of the deal, according to Deadline, and the constantly growing cable empire bought out their shares before announcing the network would come to an end at a “yet to be determined period of time.” Sensibly, a lot of FEARnet’s content will be moved to the similarly thriller-minded network Chiller, with some things possibly going to Syfy. Here’s an indicator of just how small the world is that Comcast is lording over: NBCUniversal launched Chiller a few months after FEARnet made its Halloween 2010 debut, but it (along with Syfy) became Comcast’s property when the company acquired NBCUniversal in 2011. Stop competing with yourself, Comcast.
It’s unclear exactly what will be shipped over to the other networks, though. I was really hoping two horror channels would have led to a wealth of original programming, but the only full-length scripted project FEARnet put out there was Holliston, a decent but corny sitcom from Hatchet director Adam Green and Wrong Turn 2’s Joe Lynch. It’s lasted two seasons so far, and it’s possible we’ll see more of it in the future, though that wasn’t part of the announcement. Take a peek below.
It was a bit of real life horror for 15 FEARnet employees, who were laid off after the announcement. Ten workers are staying on elsewhere, and there are plans to find spots for at least some of those who lost their jobs. Network president Peter Block is staying on through the proceedings, but his future plans weren’t stated.
This merger will hopefully get Chiller more attention and more funding for better programming. The greatest achievement we could ever hope for is Comcast bringing The Real Ghostbusters (which aired as Saturday morning FEARnet fare) back to larger audiences, especially those of us with satellite. They could do away with a few more networks in order for that to happen as well.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
By Erik Swann
By Erik Swann
By Erik Swann
By Nick Venable