UPN Executive: 'Enterprise' Will Be Back

By Caillan
January 13, 2003 - 7:14 AM

UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff said yesterday Enterprise will return for a third season.

"Enterprise, as far as we know, will be back," Ostroff told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The executive's comment came despite acknowledgement from the network that Enterprise's sophomore slump has contributed to its ratings troubles this season. "People are looking for UPN to have a hit or two," said CBS president and UPN overseer Leslie Moonves. "It's no secret that, from a ratings point-of-view, UPN is down year-to-year."

While the NX-01 looks certain to return for further adventures next season, Buffy The Vampire Slayer's days could be numbered. "I wouldn't bet that it comes back, but it's possible," Moonves said. Buffy jumped ship from the WB in April 2001 when UPN offered to pay a license fee of $2.3 million per episode. But the genre series has also taken a ratings hit this season, which means the network won't be outlaying more cash to ensure an eighth season. "We won't pay more than we're paying now. That I won't do."

Moonves, who was brought in to head UPN as part of a cost-cutting merger with CBS in late 2001, has made an effort to try and shed the network's money-losing image. "Financially, UPN is in better financial shape than [at any other time] in its eight-year history," he told the assembled press, Variety reported. "Obviously, UPN lost a great deal of money last year but losses have been cut over 50 percent for this year."

Executives are hoping to attract the youth demographic - and ensure a return to profitability - with several new shows in development. Rapper Eve, whose acting credits include 'XXX' and 'Barbershop,' has been tapped to star in a new comedy about a New York fashion designer. "She's one of those unique artists; she's a huge star in the music world, but she also really stands out as an actress," said Ostroff.

Film stars Mel Gibson and Will Smith are some of the other big names currently working on potential UPN series. Gibson's show centres around "do-gooder con artists," while Smith is developing a comedy series with his wife based on their own life. "This isn't a vanity production," Moonves said of the Smiths' project. "Will Smith is in every meeting. He's helping to write the script. His name is just not on it; he's there."

Mid-season releases include new comedy series Abby, which debuted last week, hip-hop drama Platinum, and reality series America's Next Top Model, featuring supermodel Tyra Banks. Moonves said he has one aim in mind with these new offerings. "I want [UPN] to be viewed as a younger network, a hipper network."

Further details on the UPN portion of the press tour can be found at the Hollywood Reporter and Variety, while articles on Eve and Will Smith's new projects are available at the Hollywood Reporter and Zap2it, respectively.

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