From what was originally a joint venture with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate Entertainment, has now turned into a sole proprietorship as Comcast has purchased FEARnet and become the sole owner of the company. While businesswise that may sound like a good deal, with the buyout comes a crushing blow to horror fans. Because of this move, horror fanatics are about to lose their favorite channel and OnDemand service on television.
FEARnet is being disbanded and will be losing its status as a stand-alone brand as Comcast’s NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment division tears it apart and folds it into its other existing properties.
“NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment has acquired all remaining interests in FEARnet from its productive venture with Lionsgate and Sony, FEARnet, along with its popular content, will be integrated into NBCU Cable Entertainment. This process will take place over a yet to be determined period of time.”
No matter how long they take, that means the death counter is ticking and soon we’re no longer going to have this fantastic channel at our disposal.
While it isn’t official, it is expected that the channel’s assets will mainly be split up between the network’s thriller, suspense and horror-focused Chiller network with some of its content also heading over to Syfy. How does this effect the employees? Well 10 of FEARnet’s 25 employees get to stay through the transition but the rest are all being let go. NBCU claims they will be trying to transition the remaining 15 employees to other areas of the company but there is no word if that will actually be occurring. Peter Block, FEARnet’s president, will be staying on through the transition.
After being on the air for nearly 8 years as a cable channel, as well as the wonderfully written website that was always up to date with the latest content and a (usually) top notch VOD service, we’re seeing the end of an era. While the network is being folded into other channels, it sounds as if the website will be fading away completely. On top of the 15 employees mentioned above that were let go so has the entire freelance staff that was writing for the website who were cut free instead of bringing them over to work on SyFy or Chiller TV’s websites.
I had a chance to speak with John Squires, who was a freelance writer for FEARnet and is an active voice in the online horror community who had this to say:
“FEARNET has been a staple in the horror community for so many years and I think the loss will be felt for years to come. The company allowed so many horror fans to live their dreams and spend their days doing what they loved, which is a truly beautiful thing. I was merely a freelance writer for the website, and I really feel for those who called the FEARNET offices home, for all these years. It was THE dream job within the horror community, and I am so grateful and thankful that I was able to lend my voice to the site, even if it was only for a year. As sad as the death of the company is for me personally, it’s even sadder for the horror community as a whole, which has lost one of the all time greats. The community just got a little less awesome, for sure.”
With the content being folded into their other channels could this mean that Chiller TV will finally have a decent VOD selection and expanded HD content? I’m not going to hold my breath but only time will tell.
What are your thoughts on the death of FEARnet? Do you think Comcast made the right decision to roll it into its existing channels or have they just taken out the best horror channel and VOD service on television for no apparent reason? Share your thoughts below!