Thursday, April 17, 2014
R.I.P. FearNet ~ 2006-2014
The TV landscape is fickle and ripe with deals, mergers, and acquisitions, and the latest victim is a popular horror brand: FearNet. Deadline reported this week that Comcast is killing off FearNet, and folding its content into Chiller TV and SyFy. Although the effective date was not announced, more than half of the staff at FearNet was let go on Monday.
FearNet launched on Halloween 2006 via VOD service on Comcast, then came the website, and in some markets even a 24-hour channel with some original programming (which never materialized here in Northern California). A few months later, then-rival NBCUniversal debuted Chiller TV on competing services like DirectTV and TimeWarner. But then Comcast bought NBCUniversal (who also owns SyFy). It appears there are too many genre channels for the media conglomerate to keep operating so FearNet got the ax. Whether Chiller will be brought to all Comcast customers remains to be seen (visit this page and follow the prompts to submit an email to Comcast - this really works).
A 24-hour horror channel continues to be a fantasy for many, and a dominate network has yet to fully materialize. I hope this merger will pump new blood (and resources) into Chiller and help it become the dream channel, or rather the nightmare channel, we want to have. There is so much horror content out there beyond movies, and now that Comcast owns so much of it perhaps it will be easier to license the needed programming to help Chiller succeed.
I am incredibly sad to see FearNet go – they put such a valiant effort into scaring us on a daily basis and I am eternally grateful for their hard work. And I hope FearNet's brilliant Facebook page will continue in some form. If you don't follow it, you're missing some of best, most irreverent, and weird horror news on the web.