'Enterprise' Won't Face Superman Until October

By Caillan
July 30, 2003 - 10:10 AM

Enterprise's early debut this fall could give the series a head-start in the ratings wars.

UPN's chief rival in the battle for viewers, the WB, yesterday announced it will launch the third season of Smallville on October 1, Zap2it reported. By that time Enterprise, which debuts on September 10 in the same timeslot, will be three episodes into its new season.

Both Enterprise and Smallville appeal to fans of science-fiction and fantasy and aim to attract the coveted youth demographic. Prior to the 2003-2004 television season, Smallville aired on Tuesday nights with the WB's dramedy, Gilmore Girls. But the WB network has moved the man of steel to Wednesday 8 p.m. from this fall, thus putting it in direct competition with Enterprise.

When Smallville's timeslot switch was announced, it was seen as another nail in the ratings coffin for Enterprise. The fifth Star Trek series attracted an average of 5.73 million viewers in the 2001-2002 season, narrowly beating Smallville's 5.72 million. But last year Smallville took flight, drawing in an average of 6.36 million viewers an episode compared to Enterprise's 3.92 million.

UPN's decision to launch Enterprise's revamped third season earlier than most programmes could pay ratings dividends for the series, since it will not be competing with the new seasons of other television series. The WB will also debut Buffy spin-off Angel on October 1, giving Enterprise's new lead-out show, Jake 2.0, three clear weeks to establish itself before it faces competition from another genre series.

The WB's full list of fall premiere dates can be found at Zap2it.

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