Stealing from WB, UPN aims to top it

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UPN has taken two shows away from The WB and now network executives are vowing to beat their rival four out of five nights a week during the upcoming season.

UPN President Dean Valentine says his network, which is adding Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Roswell this fall, will beat The WB in three key ratings areas on four out of five nights during the upcoming season. "Based on the strength of our schedule and the momentum that we already enjoy, by this time next year, UPN will not only have improved substantially where we are today, but we will have beaten The WB on four out of five nights that we program in adults 18-34, adults 18-49 and in total viewers, thus ensuring that the lead we already enjoy will increase," Valentine told TV critics at a gathering in Los Angeles.

Valentine also said this year he expects UPN to top the $160 million that the network took in from advertisers a year ago. He conceded that UPN's CPM's (Cost Per Thousand) were off 3% this year due to the sluggish ad market, but said the network will likely make up with that via strong scatter market sales.

UPN will stagger the premiere of its fall lineup this year, launching its new Monday night comedy One On One on Sept. 3 along with new episodes of The Hughleys. A week later (SEPT. 10), The Parkers and Girlfriends will return with new episodes and the UPN Movie Friday will start on Sept. 21. The newest Star Trek series will debut with a special two-hour episode on Sept. 26 and Special Unit 2 will get going on Oct. 3.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer will also start its run on UPN with a 2-hour premiere on Oct. 9, while Roswell will kick off on Oct. 16. UPN COO Adam Ware told critics that the network has been assured by over 80% of its affiliates that they will not pre-empt Tuesday or Wednesday nights during the 4th Quarter of 2001.
- Joe Schlosser

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