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Superman Prequel ‘Krypton,’ Christopher Meloni Drama ‘Happy’ Greenlit at Syfy

Variety logo Variety 5/11/2017 Addie Morfoot
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Syfy is switching up its on-air look and getting back to its roots.

In anticipation of the NBCUniversal cabler’s 25th anniversary this September, Syfy will not only change its logo, but also expand its news division, Syfy Wire, and amp up the network’s original programming slate.

On Tuesday, Chris McCumber, the president of entertainment networks at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, announced that Syfy has greenlit two series — the Superman prequel “Krypton” and “Happy!,” a graphic novel adaptation starring Christopher Meloni as an alcoholic, corrupt ex-cop turned hit man and his imaginary blue-winged horse played by Bobby Moynihan.

Additionally the network will develop George R.R. Martin’s “Nightflyers” with Universal Cable Productions. The supernatural thriller based on Martin’s novella is set in the future on the eve of Earth’s destruction. The series is being developed with executive producers Gene Klein (“Suits”), David Bartis (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith”), and Doug Liman (“Suits”) of Hypnotic.

“Nightflyers” joins previously announced projects in development at Syfy, including “Brave New World,” with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, and “Hyperion,” being developed with Bradley Cooper, Graham King, and Todd Phillips.

McCumber, who began overseeing Syfy last year, made it clear that to succeed, the network will have to create genre-driven content in addition to a home for fans.

“We took this past year to take a real hard look at ourselves,” McCumber said. “At what’s working and what’s not working. Just a few years ago the entire industry, Syfy included, really felt the need to go broader to gain market share and be successful. We believe now that the opportunity for Syfy is to do the exact opposite. It has become crystal clear to us that owning the genre is much more than simply making great science fiction shows. It’s also about creating a universe for fans to come and celebrate the genre that they love.”

To help create that “universe,” the network is expanding its editorial division, Syfy Wire, to infuse breaking genre news, in-depth analysis, and original content across its entire ecosystem. Via the website, and future on-air program development, programming integrations, and regular interstitials and lower-thirds, Syfy Wire will cover the latest in science fiction television, film, books, comics, gaming, and technology.

“What ‘E! News’ is to E!, Syfy Wire will be to Syfy,” explained Alexandra Shapiro, executive vice president of marketing and digital entertainment networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.

In addition, Syfy’s purple logo has been replaced with a sleeker black and yellow typeface. The new look will debut on June 19 across all linear, digital, social, and experiential platforms.

“This is not just a simple cosmetic facelift or a logo refresh,” said Shapiro. “This is a wholesale change top to bottom.”

But this is not the first time Syfy has promised a return to its roots. In 2009 the network changed its name from plain old Sci Fi Channel and in 2015 they announced an ambitious slate of scripted dramas to combat an identity crisis caused by veering away from the high-concept storytelling that put it on the map in favor of paranormal reality fare, foreign acquisitions, and B-movies.

But McCumber is adamant that this year’s reboot is different.

“We are going to walk the talk here,” he said. “We are going to be developing high-end scripted entertainment. This is just he beginning.”

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