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Chiller takes a chill pill

Horror net looks to soften image in the manner of Syfy

Chiller is going under the rebranding knife.

The horror cable channel, which NBC Universal and DirecTV launched in early 2007, is getting a redesigned logo to go along with a new tagline, “Scary Good,” and changes to its programming lineup.

The move comes more than a year after NBC U relaunched Sci-Fi as Syfy to broaden its viewership and target more than just fans of science fiction.

Chiller is looking to do the same, with the visual makeover led by the same team that initiated the Syfy switchover. The purpose is not to alienate auds that may be put off by the trappings associated with horror.

“It was launched as a horror network, but ‘Scary Good’ links into the fun of being scared,” Dave Howe, president of Syfy and Chiller, told Daily Variety. “We all enjoy the thrill of a scare and like those round-the-clock scary moments.”

The new Chiller logo, which debuts Oct. 27, “gives you the two sides of Chiller,” Howe said, with its font representing the more accessible programming, like “Fear Factor,” which performs well for the network on Saturday, and the harder, more thriller elements of the channel. “The logo brings it to life in a more elegant fashion,” Howe added.

Syfy execs, who oversee Chiller, have been waiting for the Halloween weekend to roll out a new marketing blitz that will include a variety of events, including a trek to next summer’s Comic-Con in San Diego. A high-profile presence there has paid off for Syfy over the past two years.

“We have very ambitious plans to grow this network as a brand,” Howe said.

Net targets younger viewers, who have long been big fans of the horror genre and a demo that Chiller has lately been able to attract more of. The average age of its viewership is down to 47. Ratings have climbed 86% among the 18-34 demo and 66% in adults 18-49.

To begin the rebranding, execs needed to wait until the channel reached more viewers. Nielsen began tracking Chiller’s ratings in June, and the channel is now available in more than 40 million homes.

They’re also looking to capitalize on a new slate of programming, which includes the channel’s first special, “Chiller 13: The Decade’s Scariest Movie Moments,” in December, and first original movie, “The Passenger,” based on the novella by bestselling author Jack Ketchum. It bows in the spring.

Chiller will begin running Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” next month, in addition to other skeins new to the net.

They will be added to a sked that includes NBC’s “Fear Factor” and international series like “Afterlife” and “Apparitions,” anthology series “Masters of Horror,” repeats of “The X-Files,” “Tales From the Darkside,” “Twin Peaks” and “Millennium,” as well as horror pics from various studios.

“We didn’t want to lean into the narrow stereotypes of traditional horror programming,” Howe said. “We wanted to make it more accessible and broaden it.”

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