UPN Aims To Broaden Its AppealBy Caillan
December 29, 2002 - 2:00 PM
In an effort to appeal to a younger, multiethnic demographic, UPN has commissioned two new programmes as mid-season replacements.
The first new UPN offering is Supermodel, the latest in a flood of reality TV shows. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Supermodel follows model Tyra Banks and a panel of experts in their search for a woman to take on the "high-stress, high-stakes world of supermodeling." Eight finalists will go through intensive training, covering runway skills, physical fitness and publicity. Throughout the training period, they will spend two months together in a Big Brother-style house.
UPN has also ordered six episodes of the "hip-hop drama" Platinum, produced in collaboration with MTV. Created by Third Watch scribe John Ridley and Sofia Coppola ('The Virgin Suicides'), the series centres around two brothers who create their own record label. With MTV arranging for big industry names to make special guest appearances on the show, UPN will allow the music channel to show repeats of the series.
Entertainment president Dawn Ostroff couldn't be more pleased with the new series, which will allow the network to attract the urban youth demographic. "We are very conscious of being multiethnic and being keyed into what 18-to-34-year-olds are interested in," the UPN executive said.
While genre staples such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Enterprise have suffered from declining ratings, the network's Monday-night urban comedy lineup has been going from strength to strength this season. "What's been working great is Monday," Ostroff said. "We've created an environment where people come for appointment viewing."
Enterprise lead-out show The Twilight Zone also figures strongly in UPN's plans. The update of the classic anthology series, executive produced by DS9's Ira Steven Behr, is hosted by African-American film star Forest Whitaker and its episodes are aimed at a multiethnic audience. "It's the reason why we're so enthusiastic about that show," Ostroff said.