UPN Enters 'The Twilight Zone'

By Caillan
February 22, 2002 - 5:39 PM

Enterprise network UPN today announced its first pilot order for the 2002-2003 season - a new incarnation of the cult sci-fi anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Industry veteran Pen Densham will write and executive produce the show, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Academy Award-nominated filmmaker previously served as executive producer on The Outer Limits and produced the films 'Backdraft' and 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.'

Created by Rod Serling, the original Twilight Zone ran from 1959-1965 on CBS, picking up three Hugo awards in the process. The series set the standard in cult television, spanning the horror, mystery and sci-fi genres. Its trademark feature was the unexpected twist at the end of each self-contained episode.

UPN will also be bonding with fellow Viacom network CBS in the reality genre, with the netlet set to show reruns of The Amazing Race 2 together with its own Under One Roof.

Leslie Moonves, who recently assumed responsibility for both networks as part of a Viacom cost-cutting venture, has scheduled repeats of the reality challenge show on Friday evenings, only two days after its first-run showing on CBS.

"When we first brought the complementary assets of CBS and UPN together, we said we would look for unique opportunities where each would benefit from the association," Moonves told trade paper Variety. "We think this is an exciting win-win opportunity for The Amazing Race, for both networks and for their respective viewers."

The deal will enable the network to run the series together with Under One Roof, which involves families competing to win a luxury beach house. New UPN entertainment president Dawn Tarnofsky-Ostroff couldn't be happier about the arrangement. "It made sense to have a night of reality programming," she said.

But despite this cross-pollination, the executive maintained the networks will keep separate identities. "If there are other programs that really work for both of us, we would be open to [more repurposing]," she said. Given the different target audiences, Tarnofsky-Ostroff added "there won't be many cases of that."

In addition to The Twilight Zone, Tarnofsky-Ostroff said she plans to give the go-ahead to more pilots next week. The network intends to produce between four and six one-hour shows next season, in addition to several comedies. Several projects that were previously under development at CBS have now moved over to its sibling network.

The original Twilight Zone article can be found here at the Hollywood Reporter, while more on The Amazing Race 2 is available in this Variety report.

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