Sci-Fi Storm

Dinner with Syfy’s Mark Stern

by on Oct.11, 2010, under Television

Just wanted to give a quick recap of dinner last night…it was pretty informal (but a REAL nice restaurant – Bice at Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Studios), with a group of about 40 or so digital press partners and the Syfy executives. At our table we had Mark Stern, the head of programming development, and got to ask various questions. Here is a bit of recap, paraphrased somewhat as it was fairly noisy.


Mark has a lot of hopes for their version of Being Human. I asked about how they would duplicate the popularity of a British show that is currently still in production, given that past attempts at similar shows typically did not last long. He said that they have a great cast to start, and that where the British show tends to play fairly loose with the “rules” of the characters (a ghost that can bring dinner to a house, etc.) they will set and obey the rules a lot more. They will also take out story elements of the British show that didn’t work, and take others that did work and expand on them, perhaps over several episodes.

He also mentioned that he is currently looking at 30-minute scripted comedy series, an area that they can see a need but hasn’t been serviced well (and even on the broadcast networks, sitcoms appear to have mostly suffered against one-hour “dramedy” shows.) Hopefully they find a story and a cast that can fulfill that gap.

And of course there is the reality programming. For the most part they’ve been able to introduce reality programs (due to their overall popularity) that have kept to the roots of the channel, with a few exceptions (OK, sometimes wrestling can be far-fetched and “out there” 🙂 ), and the current crop of shows are expected to do well.

Today is all the actual program panels, so expect a lot of tweets…and retweets would be appreciated!

Oh, funny story…also at our table was Rosa Golijan from Gizmodo – Mark got up and walked away, but left his iPhone 4 – Rosa hid it (a Gizmodo person stealing an iPhone? Unheard of!), and we planned to get Mark to go to Halloween Horror Nights by giving him Twitter clues for a scavenger hunt – but he’d have to borrow someone else’s phone…Rosa gave it back though…


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