On the fourth day of Christmas
Syfy Channel gave to me
Four punches to the face,
Three cancelled series,
Two crying eyes,
And a stabbed and bleeding franchise!
Nine days before Christmas and SyFy does it again. Yesterday on Twitter – Twitter of all things!– SyFy announced that they are not going to order a third season of Stargate Universe. The current season will be allowed to finish it’s last 10 episodes in Spring of 2011, but after that, that’s all folks.
There are lessons to be learned here, and if SyFy isn’t learning them yet, they will soon. They have outraged an entire fandom with 140 characters. Lesson: Don’t cancel a show using Twitter when the cast and crew don’t know. Syfy’s grade: F. When SyFy announced the cancellation of SG-1 to the cast and crew during their celebration for the 200th episode of the series, I thought that was low. SyFy, I am so disgusted that I am speechless. Not only did they announce it on Twitter and then allow rumor and speculation to circle while the media tried to get confirmation from sources that hadn’t even heard about it yet, but they also didn’t send any notice to the cast and crew. Many of the cast members, like David Blue, found out because their Twitter fans sent their condolences. Oops!
This blatant act of disrespect for the cast and crew has angered fans so much they they immediately started to rip into SyFy’s Twitter guy, Craig Engler. Mr. Engler then made the error of not responding to fan’s upset tweets. Instead he retweeted the crew’s messages of thanks to fans for their support, and their thank you’s to one another for the experience. For some fans this has only compounded SyFy’s stupidity. They ignore the outcries of the fans, disregard the cast’s right to be informed, and only acknowledging messages from the cast that appear to accept their fate.
The cancellation of SGU couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the Stargate franchise. MGM’s financial crisis has forced them to slow and even stop the franchises’ growth. Novels that used to be punctually published by Fandemonium keep getting delayed by months because MGM is dragging their feet to approve the stories. The production of action figures has stalled out, preventing the release of the latest set which includes the first Ba’al and General Hammond figures. For the first time since they were first produced, there is no Official Stargate SG-1calendar for 2011. Stargate Resistance, the franchises’ one and only running game, will close on January 15th because MGM, for reasons unspecified, has not renewed their licensing agreement with the developer, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment. To make matters worse, Resistance was CME’s way of raising funds to complete production on Stargate Worlds, a highly anticipated MMORPG. Because of the expired licensing agreement, work on Worlds has stopped in its tracks. Fans are still praying that the planned movie continuations of SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis will be green-lit, but this news of SGU‘s fate has thrown doubt on whether MGM will be willing to do what it takes to keep the franchise alive. PLEASE
With the franchise in such a tentative position, the cancellation of SGU could be the final straw. I remember discussing SGU with several members of the Gateworld team at a convention before the series premiered, and something that David Read told us then has always stuck in my head. He said that if Universe failed, if it went a couple of seasons and then was cancelled, that would be the end of the Stargate franchise. There would be nothing left from which to build it up again.
If this is so, we have SyFy to thank for running the Stargate series into the ground through their poor decision to move SGU to Tuesdays and then stubbornly keep it there despite evidence that fans were watching the show’s Friday night re-run instead.
Now is the time to act on behalf of the entire Stargate franchise. Recently, MGM struck a deal with Spyglass Entertainment, the production company behind many films, including Star Trek, Get Him to the Greek, and the newly released The Tourist. Spyglass has essentially purchased MGM’s debt, and in return is now in management of MGM’s assets. Their daily operations are back underway and they are taking steps towards putting projects back into production. SGU‘s cancellation could potentially lead Spyglass and MGM to believe that the Stargate franchise is not worth further investments. OR, and this is a big “or”, they could recognize SyFy for the idiots that they are and choose to actively find a new home for SGU and the franchise. After all, when SG-1 was cancelled, Stargate was MGM’s second most successful franchise, right behind the Bond franchise!
We have a campaign to run, and we know from the SG-1campaign what works and what doesn’t. For instance, boycotting SyFy won’t do anything. Instead we need to work really hard to support what we do like on SyFy, whether that is Sanctuary, Destination Truth, or Ghost Hunters. We need to tell them we want more SGU in every way we can, including watching every episode live when it returns. We need to watch it via Hulu, buy it on iTunes, watch it On Demand, and buy season 2.0 on DVD as soon as it comes out. We have to show MGM our support so they will do what it takes to get SGU picked up again. This doesn’t have to be the end.
A petition has been launched on PetitionSpot.com, and in less than 24 hours it has collected over 400 signatures! Add yours now!!
A campaign to save the Stargate games is running a petition as well, and since all aspects of the franchise need to survive in order for the franchise to grow as a whole, I ask you to please take a second and sign this petition as well, even if you have no interest in gaming.
Running a letter campaign is crucial. Write to these MGM heads:
- Charles Cohen,Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
- Travis Rutherford, Executive Vice President of MGM Interactive
- Steven Hendry, Senior Executive Vice President, Finance
- Bedi A. Singh, President, Finance and Administration & Chief Financial Officer
- Stephen F. Cooper, Vice Chairman
- Harry E. Sloan, Chairman
- Mary Parent, Chairperson for Worldwide Motion Picture Group
At these addresses:
MGM Worldwide Television Distribution
2500 Broadway Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404-3065
MGM Studios Corporation Purchasing
240 Broadway Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
10250 Constellation Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067
And send emails here:
Remember to be courteous in your messages to MGM. They are not at fault for the cancellation of SGU, and they have yet to make a statement on their plans for the future of the show. There’s no telling what they have in mind. All we need to do is encourage them to find ways to let the show continue.
I know we are all furious at SyFy for what they have done, but cursing at them isn’t going to get us a third season of SGU. Instead we need to politely and strongly encourage them to change their minds, and tell them what we intend to do if they don’t. This could include boycotting the companies that advertise their products on SyFy, and boycotting NBC’s other channels and sponsors. Someone on Twitter suggested sending Syfy lumps of coal for Christmas. If we can do that and it catches on, it could become as well known as the Kleenex box campaign was when SG-1 was canceled!
Don’t forget to Tweet, blog, post on your Facebook, and spread the word anyway you can! Provide links to this and other campaign information sources. Tweet your support to @MGMstudios and your disappointment to @SyFy. Let your voice be heard. Together we cansave the Stargate.
UPDATE: It just occurred to me how easy SyFy has made it for us to bury them with correspondence if we act quickly and work hard. Soon all the NBC staff will be going on their Christmas vacations, if they haven’t left already. Chances are many of the top executives won’t return to work until after New Years. This is both good and bad for us. They could have figured that if they cancelled SGU before the holidays, the ensuing firestorm would have run itself out by the time they came back. We must not let that happen! The good news is that if we work hard now, we could easily overload their email in-boxes, and their snail mail bins before they get back, forcing them to sort through the mess! This could have a powerful impact! So let’s get to work!
Merry Christmas. It’s time to fight.