On Tuesday, the Sci Fi Channel changes its name to Syfy -- pronounced "sigh-fie," the same as the current name -- a moniker that's attracted its share of mockery since its announcement three months ago. The idea is to expand Sci Fi's audience, but some members of that audience have expressed their displeasure.
"Perhaps the most ill-advised branding move since New Coke," wrote CNet's "Digital City" blogger Dan Ackerman.
Even some of Sci Fi's own SciFi.com commenters were dismissive.
"This is a terrible idea," Grateful Josh wrote.
"You mean the announcement wasn't an April Fool's joke?" Sue Lee asked, adding that the channel should have changed its name to "FRAK," a common expletive on Sci Fi's popular "Battlestar Galactica." Some critics have taken to pronouncing the new name "Siffy."
Howe says "we're not worried," despite the old admonition that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
"We needed a unique and distinct brand name that we can own for the future, that works in the multiplatform, on-demand world," he said, adding that "Sci Fi" isn't a brand name, it's "a genre name."
"Syfy," he said, "gives us a unique brand name.
"The last thing we want to do is alienate our core audience," he added. With the new name, shows such as "Galactica" can be exposed to a wider audience, one not scared away by all that "Sci Fi" connotes ("space and aliens and the future," in Howe's words).
And, of course, it's about the bottom line, which has been true for a number of cable networks over the past few years.