In some very sad news for fans of horror, Deadline announced yesterday that FEARnet has closed its doors. The company, which was launched as a cable network channel, website and VOD service in 2006, has been bought out and consolidated by Comcast, who previously co-owned the brand alongside Sony and Lionsgate.
Word is that Sony and Lionsgate chose to simply monetize their shares, and since Comcast already had their own horror network in Chiller, they chose to just consolidate the two and eliminate FEARnet completely. In the worst news of all, 15 of the 25 FEARnet employees were let go today. NBCUniversal hopes to find jobs for the other 10 across their company.
There is also a chance that some of the cable television material will go to Syfy. FEARnet president Peter Block will stay on until the transition is completed. There is some hope that the 10 employees who were not let go will find success, but Comcast was just voted the Worst Company in America in a Consumerist poll, so they have that to worry about.
The Chiller Network launched a few months after FEARnet kicked off and was never as popular, but the money rules the day here. Since Chiller was Comcast’s baby, it wins out in this consolidation. One of the biggest success stories recently for FEARnet was the series Holliston, and there isn’t any word yet on whether it will live on, and if so, where it will air although Adam Green said that it is independently owned and not owned by FEARnet.
As for the FEARnet website, it seems that fantastically written site is going away for good. It is those writers who were among those who were let go, including one of my favorite critics, Scott Weinberg. Here are some fantastic tweets from some major horror filmmakers concerning the way Comcast went about destroying the FEARnet brand.
Thank you @FEARNET for all your years of supporting horror. Good luck @scottEweinberg & company.
— Eli Roth (@eliroth) April 15, 2014
My heart goes out to the good people at @FEARNET. They and @scottEweinberg have been good to me over the years & I’m sorry they are going.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) April 15, 2014
Thanks @FEARNET and Kristy Jett for supporting @Return2NukeEm http://t.co/sXdCCCPtYX
— Lloyd Kaufman (@lloydkaufman) April 15, 2014
The FEARnet news does not necessarily effect the possibility of HOLLISTON’s future as we are an independently owned show. Stay tuned.
— Adam Green (@Adam_Fn_Green) April 14, 2014
The way the @FEARNET acquisition was handled is horrifying. Best of luck to all the talented writers and editors who made it so special.
— TravisStevens (@TravisStevens) April 15, 2014
I love FEARNET movies and its variety of horror related comedy, and I also like Chiller, but FEARNET is the best. As usual, corporate interests and money win the day, but I will never forget my FEARNET. Thanks to all of you who worked over the years at FEARNET for all of the great frights.