Syfy updating fairy tales for movie franchise

Putting new twists on Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood

Syfy is reinventing fairy tales and pop culture characters as part of its Saturday night TV movie franchise.

The network is airing five titles that give a contemporary twist on a classic story, from Hansel & Gretel (years after escaping the witch in the haunted forest, Hansel returns seeking revenge) to Little Red Riding Hood (a descendant of Little Red discovers her family secretly hunts werewolves).

"It's exciting to take a treasured brand and put our own sideways spin on it," said Thomas Vitale, executive vp programming and original movies at Syfy. "By turning familiar timeless stories inside out, we're creating an entertaining new genre for our popular Saturday night movie franchise."

The series is partly inspired by the network's mandate to find projects with broader appeal that began in earnest last year with the network's rebranding from Sci Fi to Syfy.

Syfy's Saturday movies continue to be one of the last bastions of regularly produced made-for-TV movies. Each film is typically an international co-production made with a budget of about $2 million and shot on 35mm film. Syfy works with about 10 indie studios, which also distribute the titles on DVD. Each tends to average about 1.8 million viewers Saturdays during the network's twice-monthly original airings.

Syfy's series of fairy tale titles kick off with "Beauty and the Beast" on Feb. 27.
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