Out there in the space between porn, World of Warcraft servers and commentators talking about Twitter in a way that confuses them and their viewers, something is happening to the neckbeard enclave.

The Sci-fi Channel is getting a face-lift.

They are going from this


to this


Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

But, the reasoning behind it makes sense, as stated here by the NYT and Bonnie Hammer of NBC Universal.

One big advantage of the name change, the executives say, is that Sci Fi is vague — so generic, in fact, that it could not be trademarked. Syfy, with its unusual spelling, can be, which is also why diapers are called Luvs, an online video Web site is called Joost and a toothpaste is called Gleem.

“We couldn’t own Sci Fi; it’s a genre,” said Bonnie Hammer, the former president of Sci Fi who became the president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. “But we can own Syfy.”

The article goes on to talk about how the name change is ultimately liberating for the network. They don’t have to be wedged into science fiction programming, they are free to full explore the breadth of speculative fiction (as they were already doing.)

And the reason for doing this now? Sci-fi is posting some of its biggest ratings ever, and the show that is responsible for a huge chunk of those ratings, Battlestar Galactica, is going off the air. Between this and the start of the fall up-front season, it was the perfect time to re-brand the network. Come fall the last vestiges of the old network will be completely gone.

But this transition is not, as Warren Ellis points out, with out its flaws:

Two of my Polish readers have just pointed out that, in Polish, “syfy” has a meaning somewhere between zits, filthy and scum. Oops.