Good news, guys — we're finally being guaranteed some action! (Sorry, not that kind.) Starting Saturday with Control Factor, a brain-scrambling government-conspiracy thriller starring Firefly roughneck Adam Baldwin and Elizabeth Berkley, the Sci Fi Channel will premiere two high-octane, low-budget original pictures per month on Saturdays at 9 pm/ET.
"Sci Fi has always done what we refer to as 'mayhem every seven minutes' — very fast-moving flicks that have aliens, creatures, monsters... any form of threat," network president Bonnie Hammer explains to TV Guide Online. "The movies generally have some moral dilemma involved, but the truth is, they [exist] purely for the sake of the chaos. And we've done extraordinarily well with them."
How extraordinarily well? Hammer puts it this way: "We originally just had some 'slightly used' [features] that were acquired either pre- or post-video [distribution], and they did well. So we started getting very aggressive about buying titles before they went to video, and they did even better because they were totally fresh. Then we realized we could produce our own and really start controlling [the content]." Since then, she says, "Our ratings have been amazing without even a print ad in TV Guide!"
Blasphemy! Moving right along, Hammer says she hopes that in the year ahead, Sci Fi not only can establish date night as the berth for death matches, but will find ways to attract a more youthful audience. For starters, she's considering casting fewer long-in-the-tooth former Fox hunks — at present, Grant Show, Richard Greico and Antonio Sabato Jr., all have projects in the works — and more baby-faced WB types.
In any case, fellas, we're all set for a good time. (Well, except for a companion.) Hammer swears her motto in 2003 will remain: To hell with the lights and the camera, just bring on the action! "If you're home and bored, man, this stuff is gonna keep your eyes open!" she promises. "I'm not sure that you'll be intellectually challenged, but you're not going to fall asleep!"