Viacom Standing Firm Behind UPN

By Christian
September 15, 2000 - 7:34 PM

  • As reported by Reuters, Viacom Chairman and CEO Summer Redstone spoke out on Wednesday about the future of the UPN network, saying the company expects to make UPN profitable within 18 months.

    Speaking at a U.S. equities conference in London, Redstone said Viacom had big plans for UPN, and dismissed worries about the network's future after the buy-out of many important UPN affiliates by News Corp. "We believe it's possible to turn UPN to profit in 12-18 months," said Redstone.

    Besides talking about UPN, Redstone made several further announcements about Viacom, saying that the company is aiming for a core earnings growth of at least 20% this year as well as next year. In addition, he said that the company, which just finished a $15 billion acquisition of all of the Infinity Broadcasting radio group, is also looking to acquire another cable channel. Finally, Redstone rejected suggestions that Viacom should join up with an internet company, saying that AOL in fact approached Viacom before merging with Time Warner, but that Redstone turned them down. Read more about this here.

  • Wednesday's rerun of Voyager's 'Pathfinder' earned UPN a 2.8 rating / 4 share, up from last week's 2.3/4. This landed the show in fifth place for the night, ahead of a 'Roswell' rerun.

  • On Monday, UPN scored fairly well with the season premiere of 'The Hughleys' (transferred over from ABC) and their new show 'Girlfriends'. 'The Hughleys' achieved a 4.8/7 rating, putting it ahead of UPN favourites 'Moesha' and 'The Parkers', while 'Girlfriends' scored a 4.4/6. UPN placed fourth for the night, ahead of FOX and the WB, which mostly programmed reruns.

  • And 'Girlfriends' was received pretty well by Phil Gallo at the Daily Variety, who says it could well turn out to be a black version of 'Sex in the City' if UPN gives it a chance to blossom. His full review of the show can be found here.

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