The 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 Fi.com 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