UPN Bullets

By Amy
September 20, 2000 - 5:46 PM

  • According to a report at Reuters by Michael Schneider and Josef Adalian, it would seem reality shows are the flavor of the season at UPN. The network has recently picked up six hours of wrestling-meets-demolition derby reality series 'Road Rage'. The series, which sounds like a cross between 'Gladiators', 'WWF' and a local motor-cross competition, will see two contestants pitted against each other and a number of 'road warriors' who hurl various items at each other including sludge and oil in order to gain points.

    UPN president/CEO Dean Valentine declares, "it marries demolition derby with great storytelling" and that "there's nothing better than cars smacking into each other" for "get[ting] in touch with the inner boy". 'Road Rage' looks set for midseason and might even land a Friday night slot if one of the dramas airing that night isn't clicking.

    A second reality show, though this time a 2-hour special called "Temptation Manner', will see three couples being followed around a 'Fantasy Island' style resort while their relationships (and their devotion to one another) are put to the test as they swap partners and are tempted into hooking up with someone other than their own significant other.

    David Garfinkle and Jay Renfro of 'Blind Date' are behind 'Temptation Manor', which could become a series as part of the network's regular lineup. Valentine comments that "The best kind of reality shows have relationships at their core".

    The third reality show UPN has ordered is another special, again with the potential to become a series and part of the regular line-up, 'Getaway'. From Paul Stojanovich, the executive producer of 'Worlds Wildest Police Videos', 'Getaway' aims to bring the dramatic car-chase scenes back to TV by taking four of the boys in blue and put them to the test, attempting to capture cars stunt and racing-car drivers. Refering to the car chases of old in shows such as 'Mannix' and 'Baretta', Valentine adds that "we want to be the guys reintroducing that hallowed drama." {editor's note: Personally, I'd like to know what reality these guys are from.}}

  • And UPN isn't the only network preparing reality series. According to a report by Josef Adalian and Michael Schneider at Variety, ordering extra reality series is one of the actions the six major networks are taking in order to combat the possibility of an upcoming writers' and actors' strike. In addition, most networks have ordered additional episodes of success shows, in order to have some material on stock in case of a strike.

  • Marc Berman at Adweek.com is reporting that last week, in keeping with its tradition of airing new comedies before the official start of the season, UPN launched original episodes of Moesha, The Parkers, The Hughleys and Girlfriends, netting the network a hefty 5.3 million viewers and their best ratings since April of 1998, thereby earning them fourth place for the night.

    UPN, along with WB who are employing much the same tactics, are attempting to snare the teen/young adult demographic over the Olympic period as, according to a 1996 Nielsen survey, only 14% of the Olympic viewing audience is made-up of teens and young adults.

    On this topic, chief operating officer of UPN, Adam Ware, said that "since we are not necessarily concerned what affect [if any] the Olympics will have on us, debuting before the season begins allows us to get our message out in an uncluttered environment." He also added UPN sees this as an opportunity to get a head start, unlike many other networks that see the Olympics as a hindrance and have scheduled only re-runs opposite NBC's coverage of the Sydney Games.

  • Earlier this week in New York, Viacom.Inc, owners of the United Paramount Network, announced that the Delaware Supreme court had affirmed a lower court's decisions that gives the company the right to continue broadcasting World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Entertainment's programs, defeating USA Networks Inc's claim that a proposed deal between Viacom and WWF would violate USA's contractual rights because USA had exercised a right-of-first refusal after matching Viacoms offer of $550,000 a week for a four-show series.

    Under the current 5-year agreement between Viacom and WWF, Viacom's TNN channel will be airing three shows, 'Raw is War', 'WWF Livewire' and 'WWF Superstars', in addition to 'WWF Sunday Night Heat' airing on MTV from October 1. Viacom, which had taken a 3% stake in WWF, will promote the shows via its media properties, perhaps most notably including CBS, Infinity Broadcasting (radio), MTV and Showtime. Last year, UPN received a major boost in the ratings after it started airing 'WWF Smakckdown!'.

  • According to a report by Roland Rahal at Reuters, Viacom.Inc has said that once it completely owns the cash-generating radio unit of Infinity Broadcaating Corportation, of which they already own 66%, they plan to embark on a three-billion dollar stock buy-back. In an interview in Kuwait, Viacom Chairman and Chief Executive Summer Redstone told Reuters that once they completely own it, Infinity will generate "$1.2 billion cash and growing about 20 percent a year".

Discuss this news item at Trek BBS!
XML Add TrekToday RSS feed to your news reader or My Yahoo!
Also a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation fan? Then visit CSIFiles.com!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.