Sci Fi Channel Gets a New Captain

Published 7 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:24 pm,

Dave Howe Sci Fi Channel Gets a New CaptainThe Sci Fi Channel has a new president and his name is Dave Howe. He’s taking over the job from Bonnie Hammer, who has helmed Sci Fi for the last 4 years and has taken it all the way up to the number 6 ranked channel. I’m surprised (and pleased) that the Sci Fi Channel ranks that high. Hammer will still be involved, but only in the background. In addition to president of the Sci Fi Channel, Howe will also control the reins of marketing, global brand strategy and the rapidly expanding digital domain. Busy guy, eh?

Howe joined the Sci Fi Channel 6 years ago as the executive vice president of marketing and brand strategy, and helped oversee the marketing and development of programs like Tin Man, Battlestar Galactica and Eureka. That’s not a bad track record.

Howe has plans to build revenue by expanding the Sci Fi brand from the cable channel to video games and the mobile and youth markets. I’m hoping that includes upgrading their Saturday night flicks from C to B movies. Even if the movies are fun in a campy sort of way, they certainly could stand some improvement.

Despite the present writers strike, he wants the channel to go from the present 10 markets to 20 markets by the end of ’08 with specialty offshoots of its Sci hub. And to me the most important aspect of the process – replacing the channel’s headlining series: Battlestar Galactica. He also wants to expand unscripted shows like Ghost Hunters. Personally I hope they bring in a couple of good headline series and spare me more of the Ghost Hunter type shows. I don’t mind Ghost Hunter, but I find too much I can pick apart while watching it, while I find myself getting immersed in a show like Battlestar Galactica.

If you’re wondering if Howe can expand on his present Sci Fi success, consider this: Howe came to the Sci Fi Channel after having a successful 15 year run at the BBC in London. He led on-air marketing teams of the BBC’s 17 UK and international channels, including BBC America, BBC World, and the UK flagship broadcast channels BBC One and BBC Two. He also led the teams responsible for positioning and launching over 10 new entertainment and news channels in the UK and internationally, including BBC News 24, BBC America, BBC Canada, BBC Choice, BBC Knowledge, BBC Three, BBC Four, UK Horizons, UK Drama, UK Style, UK Play, and UK Food.

This new development is pivotal to the growth and success of this offshoot network of NBC. Howe has been instrumental in some of the more popular aspects of this network and the BBC, so this could be the beginning of a great era for the network. We will probably be seeing some changes in the Sci Fi Channel that some will like, and others will not.

I think the Sci Fi Channel may have the right man for the job and this could translate into success on the horizon, or the event horizon as we may put it if he can expand BSG‘s success into other shows.

Sources: Sci Fi Channel, SciFiPedia, Variety

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  1. BSG, while not my cup of tea, was critically and publicly successful, and Tin Man, while still not quite up to spec (way too long for the kind of story being told and, well, what the heck was the writer smoking when he had flying monkeys emanate from the tattooed bosom of the villainess?) showed some real potential.

    I love Eureka, which I hope gets more than half a seasons’ worth of shows when the writers return, if anyone remembers the show at all by then.j

    Sci-Fi has suffered for a long time from a heap of mismanagement. There are few genres as rich and deep as science fiction, and a orchestrating a successful channel based around that genre should be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel (which the Mythbusters proved really is quite easy).

    Instead, we are offered “Ghost Hunters”, professional wrestling (what?) and grade Z original movies (sorry, but calling these things grade “C” is a disservice to all words that begin with the letter). Most times they can’t even secure the rights to show truly classic examples of the genre and instead dish out “Lake Placid” and worse yet “Bloodrayne”. Some of their most successful series have been bought from other channels (Stargate SG-1) and then proceed to squeeze every last drop of creativity out of it well beyond the point where the gum has lost its flavor and continues to chew for the sake of chewing.

    If this new change in management fixes some of the problems listed above, then I think I might be encouraged, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

  2. More “reality” shows? That’s never a good thing.

    Beyond that, more shows of the caliber of BSG and Dresden Files would be the kind of thing that might get me watching them more often. Not exactly hard, since I don’t really watch them at all these days.

  3. Thanks for writing that Bruce. I love to read about the management aspects of TV, Movies, and Networks. And this definitely qualifies.

    If this guy follows his track record succesfully, he will be running NBC in a few years. Everyone knows they help in a bad way.

    My “open suggestions” to Sci-Fi;

    1.get some Anime. Cartoon Network (adult swim) had a good run of shows, but they have degraded into low-brow garbage. Air those late at night instead of crappy grade-z knock off movies. Failing that, get the rights to MST3K from Comedy Central.

    2. LESS original movies. Most of them have no appeal. I’m sorry, but I avoid Bruce Campbell like the plague now. A nice alternative — get the rights to MST3K from Comedy Central. ;)

    3. More tech expose or comic-con coverage. G4 shouldn’t own these areas. They don’t do a very good job to begin with.

    4. 2008 will be a banner year for SciFi movies. Vic & co. have done a fantastic job previewing them. What has SciFi done? Maybe they have some surprises in store for closer to the release dates?

  4. jerseycajun: I didn’t hold my breath when BSG came back, but they did well with it. I saw parts of Tin Man and found it to be an interesting twist on the family classic and Eureka was just plain fun.

    It think the mismanagement is more of a plateau that Hammer hit. She got Sci-Fi up to 6th, but she tapped out and I suspect NBC recognized that and instilled new, proven blood.

    I might have been liberal with the ‘C’ rating.. but I love having the movies on in the background when I’ve run out of other things to watch.. Z rated stuff wouldn’t even qualify for that!

    FlameStrike: I’m with you. More reality shows can’t be good and with the advent of reality shows being manipulated / edited as they are by the networks these days, they aren’t that full of reality any more!

    Thanks for writing in everyone.

  5. Zipper, I’m with you, dude. I think Bruce Campbell is one of the coolest guys on the planet – but damn… the movies he chooses to appear in are utter dreck.


  6. Hey Zipper: Glad you like the post. Thanks.

    Sci fi does have an anime night, on Monday’s, late.. but they could do better as far as I’m concerned.

    MST3K.. oh, the good ‘ol days. When you say secure the rights, you mean rights to the years that Joel was on it, right?

    I have 4 heroes in my life and Tom Servo is one of them for his colorful method of opinion delivery!! (OK, sarcasm) Thanks for writing Zipper.

  7. For those fans of MST3K, google “Cinematic Titanic”. It’s a project that’s reuniting most of the original MST3K cast, including Joel and Josh Weinstein (Frank’s predecessor).

    Unfortunately Bruce, Kevin Murphy isn’t a part of the shenanigans this time around.

    As I understand it, he’s been doing occasional work with Mike Nelson on the latter’s “Rifftrax” project, which produces similar fare, only as an additional commentary track you sync when playing the original to get the MST3K effect.

  8. jerseycajun, great points!

    Why does the sci-fi channel have horror movies? Is it because video stores used to cram them into the same section?

    I remember seeing bold, cinematic ads at the theatre for Sci Fi mini-series such as Dune. What happened?

    Three years back, Comcast announced that Sci-Fi would be available via digital cable only. I don’t want digital, so I’ve just done without Sci Fi. Anyway, as jerseycajun said, most shows had lost their flavor. I was just watching for continuity’s sake. Sci-Fi only had one series I cared about. So I tried to remain spoiler-free until the DVD came out.

  9. Please!!!!!!!!!! Tell Sci Fi to leave wrestling to sports or spike. Ive just about given up on bothering with sci fi. Time to poss dc it. It is gradually becoming un sci fi. I have been a long time sci fi lover, however my fear is that sci fi channel will become generic, whatever channel. Love Y’all Carl

  10. Great point Carl. It stunned me when wrestling started on Sci Fi. I wrote off Sci Fi on Monday nights after that.

  11. I love the SciFi channel! Even those hokey Saturday night movies can be good for a laugh or 2. What I did really really love, was the Enterprise marathons. I never got to see that show when it was originally airing, but now I am hooked on the show. (Ok, I know alot of people diss it, but I enjoy it and that is all that matters to me!). I ALSO enjoy the Friday night Stargate Atlantis and Flash Gordon shows, and I can’t wait for Dr. Who to return to the channel.

    There are a couple of things I would work on though. First, like has already been said, DITCH THE WRESTLING! I feel my IQ level drop just during the commercials. Second, there are TONS of classic sci-fi movies that can be aired throughout the day to re-establish themselves to an ignorant populace. Last week AMC had on “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and I ended up staying up until 2 am to watch it again. Why can’t the SciFi channel do that?? Maybe also do some nights were only classic shows get played (i.e. Star Trek TOS) a’la TV Land.

    All in all, I think the SciFi channel is an excellent channel. I am hoping that Mr. Howe can make it even better!!!

    Counting down to Dr. Who!!!

  12. Yes please ditch the wrasslin, it dumbs down the whole network. Yes it is fiction but the only science it in the steroids. If a person tells me they watch wrasslin I automatically think “Idiot”.