Sad news, horror fans. Deadline is reporting that NBC Universal has decided to axe Chiller, the horror-centric cable channel. Viewers have until New Year’s Day to soak in all of the independent horror movies and Steve Niles’ Remains as they can, as the curtain will be dropped when the calendar turns to 2018. In a bit of good news, however, there are no layoffs expected as network employees are expected to be reassigned to other NBC departments and projects.
Chiller debuted in 2007, and became a haven for independent and B-level horror films. The network’s fan-base demanded original content in the early years, and NBC obliged in 2010 with Chiller 13: The Decade’s Scariest Movie Moments, a show featuring celebrities and genre icons discussing the best horror films from the early 2000’s. In 2011 the network premiered its first original movie (Remains), and in 2016 they premiered their first original television series (Canadian horror anthology Slasher.) Chiller also acquired the rights to several programs, both international (Afterlife) and domestic (Masters of Horror, Tales from the Crypt.) Another highlight of the channel was its 2007 viewer contest titled “Dare 2 Direct Film Festival”, premiering on Halloween night 2007.
Chiller and NBC also created a film distribution company back in 2013, specializing in horror and thrillers. On July 31, 2013, Chiller was merged with its former competitor Fearnet after Comcast’s purchase of NBC.
Unfortunately, the death knell for the network was its struggle to receive carriage deals from cable companies. Although reaching a potential 40 million homes, Chiller was often put into “premium” package and pricing tiers for customers which hurt their exposure. This was true of DirecTV, among other carriers. Beginning in February of this year, Chiller was removed entirely from the channel lineup by Dish, Spectrum, Verizon Fios and Cox. Streaming services are also to blame, as most content shown by the channel is available online as well.
You have until December 31st to get your Chiller fix, so here at HNN we encourage you to do so. Although we appreciate the effort by NBC, our hope one day is that horror will have a permanent place in a basic cable lineup in the near future. With the explosion of horror television shows and movies overtaking Hollywood in the last few years, that dream has to be one step closer to reality.
Rest in Power, Chiller.