UPN Scores February Sweeps SuccessBy Lisa
March 5, 2002 - 2:52 AM
UPN enjoyed its most successful February sweeps in five years.
Official figures announced last week show that UPN was the fifth most popular network during the 31 January to 27 February sweeps period. It attracted an average prime time audience of 4.53 million viewers - up 20% from the same time last year.
Demographic information on the network's viewers showed encouraging figures for advertisers. UPN was the third most popular network with males aged 12-34 and male teenagers. It was the fifth most popular with adults aged 18-49 and 18-34.
Strong performances from Enterprise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and WWF Smackdown meant that all five nights of programming brought in results higher than 2001. This was partially thanks to a decision by the other major network to air mainly reruns during the same period, in the face of strong competition from the Winter Olympics on NBC.
More information on UPN's performance in the February sweeps can be found in this Variety report.
UPN aims to build on the success of February with two brand new shows debuting tomorrow night. As If and The Random Years will air on Tuesday evenings from 9:00 p.m.
As If is described as 'teen Sex and the City.' It will trace the lives and loves of six twentysomethings living in Los Angeles. The Random Years, meanwhile, centres on three male flat mates who have known each other all their lives. It features Boy Meets World star Will Friedle.
Friedle's role in the show came about after a part in the WB show Off Center went to another actor. "I look at it this way, everything worked out exactly the way it was supposed to," Friedle told the Asscosiated Press. "I'm on the show that I really wanted to be on. And I'm doing what I really wanted to do. And I think we're all happy to be where we are now and just ready to get started."
UPN hopes that positioning the shows directly after Buffy the Vampire Slayer will give them a strong lead-out audience. However, Tuesday nights remain one of the most competitive, with Fraiser, Spin City, Scrubs and 100 Centre Street, all battling for viewers in the popular time slots.
As two brand new shows launch, two more are in the works. It was announced earlier today that UPN has ordered two new drama pilot episodes.
Empire was written by Three Kings scribe John Ridley and is a 60-minute drama. It will focus on two brothers who own an Los Angeles hip-hop record label and their families. Ridley wrote the pilot based on an idea developed with Sofia Coppola.
The second pilot ordered today is titled One for the Money, after the novel upon which it is based. It follows a girl from Jersey who becomes a bounty hunter working for a bail bondsman.
Whether either of these pilots will make the leap into full series will not be known until May, when UPN will announce its line-up for the 2002-3 season.