The Horror: Chiller Expands Original Slate

NBCU’s fledgling Chiller network is hoping to put the fear into a wider audience with three new projects scheduled to premiere in the third and fourth quarters.

Of course programming horror doesn’t make it easy for the network to stand out. After all, between HBO’s vampire-centric True Blood and AMC’s zombie-filled The Walking Dead, not to mention much of sibling network SyFy’s schedule, the horror field is pretty crowded.

“We’re in the heart of a horror phase,” said Thomas Vitale, evp, programming and original movies at Chiller.

Vitale noted that the network’s key demographic is adults 18-49. But he added it’s also skewing slightly more female—a fact which might explain its recent acquisition of the popular TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In turn, that acquisition might explain Vitale’s programming strategy: “What we¹re trying to do is put out a horror brand that’s not dark and depressing. It’s not a slash fest. It’s suspenseful, it’s visceral. But it’s also fun.”

The new programming includes two original movies: Remains (zombies in a futuristic Reno) and Ghoul (kids sleuth disappearing town folk). The third project is a countdown special.

Since officially receiving Nielsen ratings in June 2010, the network is averaging 121,000 viewers, including 49,000 18-49 viewers.