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July 14 2024


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UPN Gaining On The WB

By Kristine
December 23, 2003 - 10:25 PM

Though UPN came out of November sweeps month with some troubling losses, primary competitor the WB was hit much harder.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, CBS CEO Les Moonves is encouraged by the fact that UPN and the WB are closer in numbers right now. "The good news for us is we're very close to the WB," he said. "It was five-tenths [of a demo rating point margin last year], and now that's sort of cut in half."

While Monday and Tuesday nights' black comedies have held their own in the ratings, Moonves does admit to some concern about Wednesday nights, the home of Star Trek: Enterprise. "We need help Wednesday," Moonves said. "The numbers are disappointing." Hollywood Reporter noted that Enterprise has sunk 24% in the 18-34 year-old category, while Jake 2.0, Enterprise's lead-out show, performs significantly weaker than Enterprise on a weekly basis.

Moonves commented that he wanted the network's offerings to flow better on a night-to-night basis. "One of things we have been trying to do with Tuesday night is to get a little bit of flow out of Monday," he commented. "[Last season], when you went from the black comedies [on Monday] to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there was no flow, and the next night, you were doing Star Trek. So I think Monday and Tuesday are now going hand in hand a lot better, and hopefully we can start spreading [flow across] the week that way."

Friday is also a weak night for UPN, leading Moonves to comment that scheduling for Fridays is currently "up in the air." On Fridays, UPN typically shows theatrical movies, but Moonves has considered moving Tuesday's comedies to Fridays and airing movies on Tuesdays.

Despite the fact that UPN was down in the key demographic of 18-34 year-olds, UPN was the only network other than CBS to show any kind of gain this year in sweeps month (story). UPN was up 4% in households this year, scoring a 2.6/4. UPN had scored a 2.5/4 the previous year.

Ultimately, Moonves remains optimistic about UPN's future. "Right now, UPN is in that situation where they're helping our stations," he commented. "And we foresee that there's a light at the end of the tunnel for [UPN]."

For more from Moonves on UPN and CBS, visit Hollywood Reporter online.

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