Sharknado sequel soon to unleash

03 July, 2014 by Don Groves

Ian Ziering in Sharknado 2: The Second One


The sequel to last year’s cheesy cult telemovie Sharknado will debut on Syfy at 9.30pm on July 31, express from the US.

Sharknado 2: The Second One switches the location from Los Angeles to New York as killer sharks attack the subway system and other parts of the Big Apple.

Given the build-up in hype after the first edition, the follow-up could “break all sorts of records” for the channel, according to Chris Taylor, who runs NBCUniversal International’s channels in Australia and New Zealand.

Judging by the trailer, The Second One brings the same tone and sensibilities as the original, with the same creative team of director Anthony C. Ferrante, screenwriter Thunder Levin and a cast headed by Ian Ziering as Fin and Tara Reid as April, joined by Mark McGrath, lead singer of rock band Sugar Ray as Fin’s brother-in-law, and Vivica A. Fox.

Hired last November, Taylor presided over the January 1 launch of Syfy (which replaced SF) and the rebranded Universal Channel. The other channels in the group are E!, 13th Street and Style.

With the Universal Channel moving to the basic tier on Foxtel and the introduction of Syfy, “we doubled our footprint,” Taylor, a former CEO of Quickflix who spent nine years with the Nine Network, tells IF.

The first Sharknado drew nearly 73,000 viewers on the Universal Channel last July, the highest-rated show since the channel launched in 2010, and a Saturday morning repeat delivered a further 15,400 viewers.

Working with her US colleagues, director of programming Selena Crowley has rejuvenated the Universal Channel’s line- up with new shows such as The Night Shift; Devious Maids, a comedy-drama about a maids bonded by their jobs and struggles with their employers, which launches later this month; and, coming in November, The Librarians, which follows a team of librarians as they embark on efforts to save mysterious, ancient artefacts.

The core audience of women aged 18-54 for E! is up 15% year-on-year, says Taylor, spurred in part by the Red Carpet season. Later this year he will announce the first local commission for the Style channel.

As vice president, international television, Taylor is also responsible for selling NBCU’s shows to broadcasters in Australia and New Zealand. The studio doesn't have an output deal so it can sell on the open market.

After the LA Screenings he is pitching a raft of new shows including Odyssey, the saga of three families who are pulled into an international military conspiracy; Satisfaction, a drama that follows an investment banker and his wife who are stuck in a stagnant relationship; State of Affairs, which centres on a CIA attaché who balances his job with a complicated personal life; and Mission Control, a comedy set in 1962 about gender wars in the space race.