The contract extension between Best Brains and Sci-Fi Channel expires at the end of January, 2004. No further extensions are planned. MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 will leave the television, perhaps forever, at 11 a.m. Eastern and Pacific time, on January 31, 2004, when episode 912-THE SCREAMING SKULL ends.
This schedule is subject to change at any time.
Listings are for Eastern AND Pacific time; on the Sci-Fi Channel.
11/1 - 9 a.m. -  TRACK OF THE MOON BEAST
11/8 - 9 a.m. -  PHANTOM PLANET
11/15 - 9 a.m. -  THE GIRL IN GOLD BOOTS
11/22 - 9 a.m. -  OVERDRAWN AT THE MEMORY BANK
11/29 - PRE-EMPTED
12/6 - PRE-EMPTED
12/13 - 9 a.m. -  HAMLET
12/20 - 9 a.m. -  QUEST OF THE DELTA KNIGHTS
12/27 - 9 a.m. -  THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION
The January schedule is tentative at this time.
1/3 - 9 a.m. -  HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND
1/10 - 9 a.m. -  INVASION OF THE NEPTUNE MEN
1/17 - 9 a.m. -  FINAL JUSTICE
1/24 - 9 a.m. -  BOGGY CREEK II
1/31 - 9 a.m. -  THE SCREAMING SKULL (with short: ROBOT RUMPUS)
Meanwhile, MSNBC entertainment reporter Gael Fashingbauer Cooper's November 13th column raised quite a stir, as evidenced by her November 18th report.
However, the problem here is that no matter how funny or how many awards it won, MST3K just was never a ratings winner for Sci-Fi. At Comedy Central, it started strong but petered out during it's sixth season. Also, the shortened seventh season sort of put the lid on the coffin as far as Comedy Central was concerned, then the almost non-existent release of MST3K: THE MOVIE and the bad relationship with new network CEO Doug Herzog combined to drive the nails into the lid. At Sci-Fi, it was a combination of the series never quite meeting its ratings expectations and the departure of CEO Barry Schulman--the show's biggest defender at Sci-Fi (its second-biggest being Asst. Programming Manager Ray Cannella)--that led to MST3K's demise there.
There had been hopes at one time that another cable network would pick up MST3K, but one of the unfortunate realities of the business is that the prices for the rights to the movies that MST3K riffed on were skyrocketing! Several films they had hoped to do at Sci-Fi actually got pulled because the asking prices were 3-times higher than what the network had budgeted. (Another problem was that Toho Company utterly forbade the use of any Godzilla movies in Sci-Fi's library on MST3K!) The possibility of continuing the series as a direct-to-DVD/video venture was also explored and abandoned--when they crunched the numbers, it was clear that it wouldn't work.
Sadly, Best Brains Inc. was never able to get any other projects off the ground, and the ensemble group of writers/performers has disbanded and moved on to other projects. BBI still maintains an office and sells MST3K memorabilia, but is otherwise no longer engaged in producing new entertainment. Satellite News: The Official MST3K Info Club Web Site is still up and running, but I suspect that the end of January will also see the end of Sci-Fi's MST3K site.