UPN Buries 'Buffy'By Caillan
February 28, 2003 - 4:28 AM
Enterprise network UPN yesterday announced Buffy The Vampire Slayer will finally be laid to rest after seven years.
The popular genre show will bow out on May 20 with a one-hour series finale, entitled 'Chosen,' trade paper Variety reported. Buffy's end does not come as a surprise — earlier this week star Sarah Michelle Gellar confirmed to Entertainment Weekly her slaying days were over.
Emmy-nominated creator and executive producer Joss Whedon doesn't see this as the final curtain for Buffy, which moved to UPN two years ago after the network agreed to pay a licence fee of $2.3 million an episode to poach the show from its principal rival, the WB. "We're not going to end it by saying, 'There can be no Buffy no more.' But it definitely has a message of emotional and thematic closure that's as important as anything we've said."
Whedon has considered another spin-off — the series previously spawned Angel in 1999 — but it won't necessarily be ready for the 2003-2004 season. "I think ideally the best thing to do would be to wait and not rush anything," Whedon said. "There are paradigms that I've posited that could start next year ... [but] whatever came next, it would have to have at its center an idea as worthy as [Buffy and spin-off Angel] were. And somebody who's pretty."
Should a spin-off materialise, there are no guarantees it would end up on UPN, although the network's executives are said to be "interested" in taking it on. Buffy and Enterprise are UPN's most-recognised series, and although both have suffered from a ratings downturn this season, the slayer's exit will leave a large gap in the network's primetime line-up.
"We're still in discussions [with Whedon], and they've ranged in many different places, many different directions," UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff told Zap2it. "But we're not prepared to announce anything yet."
Buffy's Tuesday 8:00 p.m. timeslot is a very competitive television hour, with the series usually losing the ratings battle against heavy-hitters such as JAG, American Idol, ABC's comedy block and even the WB's Gilmore Girls. UPN has ordered eleven pilots for next season, but they will have to fight off stiff competition from the other networks to succeed in Buffy's old timeslot.