Sci Fi gets remade

Programming broadened to include fantasy, paranormal

CANNES — The Sci Fi Channel is getting a £2 million ($3.7 million) makeover abroad.

Idea is to broaden the programming mix to include fantasy and the paranormal, to re-design the Web site and to enhance interstitials to reflect the move to the mainstream.

There will be new print, radio and billboard ad campaign and an extensive public relations effort designed to grab viewers’ attention in the U.K. and on the European Continent.

“We have seen the science fiction genre move from the periphery to the center of the entertainment arena. It is no longer restricted to aliens and space operas,” Sci Fi intl. prexy Dan Marks said.

Marks said the new programming launch will include a primetime factual strand showcasing the mysterious and unexplained — think ghosts, psychic phenom and conspiracy theories.

A 10 p.m. movie slot will be reinvigorated with classics like “Gattica,” “The Mummy,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “Stigmata.”

Patrick Vein, prexy of Universal Network Enterprises, told Daily Variety at Mip that the channel in Europe will benefit from U.’s own branding and programming expertise as well as the rich and and diverse catalogue of product available from the studio.

“There isn’t a lot of room for hot air. To be profitable we need to stay relevant and offer a great service.”