11:56am PT by Michael O'Connell
IFC Officially Ditches 'Independent Film Channel' As 'Spoils of Babylon' Premieres
In a bit of news that may come as a surprise to many, IFC has officially changed its name to IFC.
Though the AMC Networks cable brand has long gone by its acronym, ditching the Independent Film Channel label it started out with, president and GM Jennifer Caserta announced Tuesday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that the old name has still been following them around.
“The name ‘Independent Film Channel’ has been legally retired and IFC as an acronym now stands for nothing,” said Caserta. “Well, it actually stands for a growing number of smart, funny and original alternative comedies, but our viewers already know that. So, starting today, IFC is legally IFC.”
A press release touting the non-news made light of its odd timing: "Some have occasionally continued to refer to it by the name that persisted on a piece of paper in the basement of its home office, the Independent Film Channel, but that document no longer exists."
IFC came to press tour with its high-profile miniseries spoof of miniseries, The Spoils of Babylon. Cast members Kristen Wiig and Tobey Maguire were among those in attendance to talk about the project -- which in a way honors IFC's independent roots. The comedy, which lacked a significant budget, played up the kitsch of yesteryear TV with models, cheap green screens and toy helicopters.
"We would love to have a helicopter shot, but that's expensive," said writer-director Andrew Steele at the IFC panel. "We had to find other means to convey that, and we had to keep it as analog as possible."
A paycheck is not what drew the A-list cast to the project.
"We made so much money," joked Wiig, adding, "It's always fun to do something over-dramatic and not worry about if you're doing a good job acting."
Spoils joins a roster of off-kilter comedies that have come to define the IFC brand since it became ad-supported in 2010. Other series on the 2014 roster include additional runs of Portlandia, Maron, Comedy Bang! Bang and R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet.
IFC debuts the first two episodes of the six-part Spoils of Babylon at 10 p.m. on Thursday.