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November 1 2008

The Sci fi Channel Sucks

It’s amazingthe Sci Fi Channel can find the power button, let alone broadcast anything live.

Starting in 2006, the Sci Fi Channel has taken to showing live episodes of Ghost Hunters on Halloween night.  For those unfamiliar with the show, Ghost Hunters documents the investigations of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) as they hunt for evidence of ghosts and the paranormal.  Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s an entertaining watch, and I tune in each Halloween for the live episode.

After last night’s disaster, I may have to reconsider.

While the show started off telling us about how hard it was to set up on an island, they were investigating the civial war prison, Fort Delaware, it was still pretty inexcusiable how bad the tech side of things was.  They had lost a day of set up time due to weather, but that doesn’t explain why microphones kept cutting out, video images froze and filming near your generators is never a wise idea.

You could almost excuse the technical glitches, they were on an island after all, but the never-ending self promotion of other Sci Fi Channel shows got nauseating.  For the second year, the show was hosted by Josh Gates of Destination Truth, which he reminds you of endlessly.  Then you had Steve Valentine, the host of the new show Estate of Panic, co-hosting and going out to investigate with the team, but that also meant we got endless promotions for a second show through out the night.  Amanda Tapping, formerly of Stargate SG-1 and now Sanctuary, spent the night investigating… and clips of her new show being played repeatedly.  So, we’re at three cross promotions now and… oh yeah, for the thrid year we had a wrestler!  While all of them have been from the ECW, which airs on Sci Fi, the first two were tolerable, this year’s guy, “The Miz” was down right annoying and disruptive.

So on top of all the technical issues, we had to put up with four self-promoting crossovers with other Sci Fi shows.  However, I will say Ms. Tapping seemed genuinly interested in the proceedings and investigated for the entire show, while the others dropped in and out.

Think the problems ended with the show?  Oh no, my friends, there were more.  During the episode, we were informed about there now being a social network for fans of the Ghost Hunters show, Join The Hunt, and seeing as how I work with social networks, I went to check it out.  I tried multiple times last night to sign up, and each time I was told to try again later.  Are you kidding me?  Your servers couldn’t handle the influx of new members?  Good job, Sci Fi!  Way to lost potential members and blow a huge marketing moment.

This isn’t too say that TAPS was innocent of oddness last night.  Steve Gonsalves, the tech supervisor for TAPS seemed to be playing to the cameras last night far more than he usually does, and doing very little actual investigating.  Luckily you can always count on the main guys, Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes, being professional in their actions and investigations.

In short: Sci Fi, if you do this again, clean up the tech aspects, and fine, have a cross promotion with another show, but not with four of them!



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  • JL

    I missed the show, but know exactly what you’re talking about with their crazy cross-promotion. Universal is crazy with promoting their shows, even across the other networks.

    I can’t think of SCi-Fi going live very oten on anything. Too bad they didn’t get some tech help from of of their other nets like NBC or MSNBC.

  • JL – That’s what I was thinking. The NBC/Universal group is huge, they couldn’t go to say the sports division and ask the golf guys for help. I can’t say I’ve ever seen the golf tournaments have this many problems with a live feed.

    … course, they also don’t have a wrestler hunting ghosts. That may factor in.