WWE To Replace 'Enterprise' on UPN Slate

By Michelle
May 19, 2005 - 9:41 PM

UPN has replaced one of its best known franchises with another on Friday nights. WWE Smackdown! will move from its longtime spot on Thursdays into the slot formerly held by Star Trek: Enterprise; the wrestling show is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Friday as well as the hour following.

The network announced its fall schedule today, reports ABC News, which reiterated UPN's statement that their new slate of comedies on Thursday nights for the 2005-6 televisions season represents bold counter-programming on a night when no other network has a block of comedies.

Three new series will join the fall lineup. Everybody Hates Chris is based on the childhood experiences of comedian Chris Rock. Another new comedy, Love, Inc., will star the oft-controversial Shannen Doherty as well as Holly Robinson Peete. These series will air on Thursdays along with returning shows Eve and Cuts.

The network will air a new drama, Denise Richards' Sex, Lies & Secrets, on Tuesday nights after America's Next Top Model. Sophomore series Veronica Mars will move to Wednesday nights at 9. UPN's acclaimed Wednesday night drama from the 2004-5 television season, Kevin Hill, will not return for a second season. Nine established series will remain on the network; at mid-season, the network will unveil another new drama, South Beach, produced by Jennifer Lopez.

UPN president Dawn Ostroff announced the schedule at Madison Square Garden in New York today, noting that the network has never had regularly scheduled episodic programming on Thursdays when it now plans to air two hours of comedies. She said that the network believes that Nielsen ratings underreported African-American viewership and that the Monday night comedy lineup this season was even more successful than initially calculated.

"America's Next Top Model remains UPN's top show, and it has abandoned male-skewing action and sci-fi dramas (including Star Trek: Enterprise) to focus on female viewers," noted USA Today. Friday would appear to be the only night of programming on UPN still targeted toward male viewers, as UPN is now aggressively pursuing female demographics.

UPN's contract with the World Wrestling Federation ends in 2006, so it appears unlikely that the series will return the following year unless UPN changes its target demographics again.

The complete UPN fall schedule may be found at The Futon Critic.

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