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Thursday, January 31, 2008

UFO Hunters vs... UFO Hunters?

I told you sometime back that The History Channel was premiering their new series, UFO Hunters, last night. Imagine my surprise when I saw a show with the very same title on Sci-Fi at the very same time! And it was also a premiere!

We discussed it and thought it might have been some kind of joint-venture, the way Sci-Fi shows one season of Dr. Who at the same time BBCA is showing another, but that didn't make any sense. Further, the show descriptions were entirely different.

It turns out that The History Channel originally aired an episode of its UFO Files entitled UFO Hunters in 2005. They decided to develop it as a spin-off series and applied for a trademark of the name in October, 2007. Sci-Fi announced it had bought a new reality series from the Ghost Hunters producers with the same name in July 2007, then filed a patent on the name in November - less than week after The History Channel. However, History was able to file its claim as an "ongoing series currently in progress," while Sci-Fi was forced to make its claim as an "intent to use."

Both networks changed their scheduled debut dates so that neither could claim they were the first to air the series under said title. However, History's UFO Hunters is already on-schedule as an ongoing, weekly series; Sci-Fi's UFO Hunters is still in development, so they billed their show as a "special."

Neither network plans to change the title, but even though History got the claim first and can point back to the show with the same title in 2005, the working title was actually UFO Road Trip. It appears the decision to change the name may have been made after Sci-Fi announced their new series.

Neither claim has been granted at the time of this posting, but when you search for "UFO Hunters" in IMDb, it automatically comes up to the History Channel series' page. I left a summary of this information there as an FAQ, but it has yet to show up.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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