UPN Shows Hyped At Press PresentationBy Christian
July 17, 2002 - 4:08 AM
UPN officially ended the summer news drought and kicked off the Fall television hype season Sunday when it organised a press presentation of its full programming slate.
The UPN press junket was part of the Television Critics Association's Summer Press Tour, taking place all month in Los Angeles (story). Present at the event were UPN executives, Enterprise producers and cast, and staff members of most of UPN's other shows. Also taking place the same day was an official gala celebration of Paramount's 90th anniversary, which was attended by the lead actors of four of the five Star Trek stars.
Reports of both events appeared in many of the online media over the past days. Below is a round-up of articles covering the events:
- The official Star Trek site reported comments by both of Enterprise's executive producers, previewing the show's second season.
"We've written about six episodes to date," Rick Berman said. "Brannon and I are writing our third now, which is kind of a La Femme Nikita-type episode. We also have a very humorous episode that has our good captain going and spending some time in Sickbay, because his dog gets sick. He moves into Sickbay the same way a mother will move into the hospital when her child gets sick, and it ends up being an 'Odd Couple' kind of an episode between the captain and Dr. Phlox. It's a lot of fun."
Brannon Braga provided story information on two specific episodes, including 'Carbon Creek,' in which Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) will play her own ancestor. "We've got a show that takes place in 1957, where we learn that Vulcans actually made first contact with Earth long before Zefram Cochrane. The whole show takes place in the 1950s, with T'Pol's great-grandmother. And we've got a terrific episode coming up in which Reed gets pinned to the hull of the ship by an alien mind, and Archer has to go out and save him."
Further information on the press event, including comments by Enterprise actors Connor Trinneer ('Trip' Tucker), John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox) and Anthony Mongtomery (Travis Mayweather), as well as an extended photo gallery, can be found by following this link.
- Former Deep Space Nine executive producer Ira Steven Behr, now working as staff writer on The Twilight Zone remake, told Zap2It he enjoyed being able to write for an anthology series. "Something like The Twilight Zone gives you the chance to explore stories, characters, situations that don't usually come up in your standard franchise television fare. And as a writer, and I guess also an audience member, that excites me." More information on Enterprise's future companion show can be found in the full article.
- Marc Berman at MediaWeek visited the UPN press presentation, and passed judgement on the network's three new shows. The TV critic seemed positive about Haunted and new sitcom Half an Half, but said of Enterprise companion show The Twilight Zone that "[although] the fit out of Enterprise is seamless, nothing can - or will - match the original version of The Twilight Zone. Based on the two former non-successful remakes sometimes it's better to leave well enough alone." More comments from Berman, including several dealing with next year's WB line-up, can be found in the full edition of his Programming Insider column.
- Several shots were fired in the ongoing war between netlets the WB and UPN, after WB head Jamie Kellner said he found the term "netlet" no longer fitting. He described the WB as a main broadcast network, as well as the fifth largest, something that CBS president Les Moonves took issue with.
"I really think it is extraordinary to want to be included in the top five when, in fact, the WB is number six," Moonves, who also oversees UPN, told the press. "And I think it is incredible to put up a slide and not mention that the results they put up there were only for the month of May. The last time I noticed, television is on 12 months a year, not just for 30 days."
Moonves pointed out that for the entire season, UPN beat the WB in every important demographic category, as well as in overall viewers. "Yes, they beat us in 12 year old girls, but I understand that's no longer their target demo." More smack talk can be found here.
- The second genre show UPN will be debuting next year is Haunted, for which star Matthew Fox was on hand to answer questions.
Fox will be playing Frank Taylor, a private investigator with the ability to communicate with the souls of the dead. The actor said he knew the show would be good from the moment he read the script. "Frank Taylor would be a huge challenge to play. [...] The paranormal activity is something that you really have to spend a lot of time thinking about. I mean, how does somebody deal with that happening to them? And all the different levels [in] coming to terms with [it], if he ever comes to terms with it. I mean, I would think it would be more of a curse than it is a blessing. [...] And then it's got a whole other level of this, where you have a man who's had his own child abducted out of his house two years before and does not know what happened to him. And not only is he a father, but he's also a cop, and it happened on his watch. [...] There's something so incredibly haunting about that. [...] I think the title of the show works on a lot of levels."
Further details on Haunted, which will air following Buffy the Vampire Slayer next season, can be found here at the Sci-Fi Wire.
Also up at the official Star Trek site is a report of Paramount's anniversary party, billed as "90 Stars for 90 Years."
Two of these 90 stars featured at the event were Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer) and Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway), while Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko) and William Shatner (James T. Kirk) were also in attendance. Other Trek alumni who were present at the event were major Hollywood stars such as Whoopi Goldberg (Guinan), James Cromwell (Zefram Cochrane), Ashley Judd (Robin Lefler) and Kirsten Dunst (Hedril in 'Dark Page'). All of the guests, who also included people such as Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford, were treated to a gala dinner and music by a 40-piece orchestra.
A photo gallery of the event, one image of which can be seen above, can be found here on the official site.
- Les Moonves continued to enjoy talking down the WB in a report at Electronic Media Online. "After all the nice things [the WB] said about us [Saturday], I just wanted to set the record straight. They're right, we should be included in the top five and they should not be included at all. Now, I told you this was going to be fun. It's great to have somebody else to pick on besides ABC and NBC. ... I'm really enjoying this."
- More dignified was a panel UPN organised on diversity in television, which was attended by Linda Park (Hoshi Sato) and the stars of many of the network's other series. UPN is the network featuring the most representatives of ethnic minorites on its shows, and all actors said they were pleased with the amount of diversity on their shows. An extensive report of the panel, featuring quotes from many of the actors (although not from Park), can be found here at MediaWeek.
- 790 photos from Paramount's 90th anniversary celebration, including 10 of Kate Mulgrew, 7 of Scott Bakula, 30 of Ashley Judd, 10 of James Cromwell, and 22 of Whoopi Goldberg, can be found here at WireImage.
- CBS president Les Moonves spoke to MediaWeek about the TV business in general, warning writers that the days of multi-million dollar talent deals were over. But he also spoke about UPN's acquisition of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which many critics felt the network overpaid for. "You can't take Buffy as an entity alone," Moonves said. "I compare Buffy to when Fox stole the NFL from CBS way back when. Fox overpaid by about $200 million. At that time it may have looked ridiculous, but what it did was, it made Fox a major league network. Suddenly affiliates were jumping ship, and suddenly the P&L of one item is not so important, is not the be-all and end-all."
"[Buffy the Vampire Slayer] helped put UPN on the map. It got a lot of attention. Yes, it was a high price tag, but it was a price tag that raised the entire value of this entire network," Moonves concluded. For more of his comments, please follow this link.
- UPN last year ordered two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, taking it up to its seventh season, which is also the final season for which series star Sarah Michelle Gellar is under contract. However, in a USA Today article Les Moonves said he was hopeful the show would continue, and losing it would be like "NBC losing Friends." In turn, Buffy creator Joss Whedon said he would also like the show to continue, even without Gellar. ''I think it could. I don't know if it would."
- The Detroit News has coverage of both UPN's press presentation and its diversity panel.
- Finally, several photos as well as a short video of Paramount's 90th Anniversary Party can be found here at Entertainment Tonight Online.
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