CBS president and CEO Les Moonves said United Paramount Network will get
its own entertainment president and it will not be turned into a repurposing
vehicle for CBS.
Moonves, who assumed oversight of Viacom Inc.-owned UPN late last year, told
TV critics gathered in Los Angeles Monday that he will assume most of former UPN
president Dean Valentine's responsibilities.
On Friday, Valentine was let go as the network's top executive after a
Valentine's $22 million breach-of-contract suit against UPN and Viacom has
still not been settled, though.
'There will be a president of entertainment appointed hopefully not before
too long,' Moonves said, adding that he has a short-list of candidates for the
UPN has not had a head of entertainment since Tom Nunan left the network
early last year.
As for rumblings that Moonves would use UPN to air repeats of CBS
programming, Moonves said, 'There has been some suggestion that UPN will become
CBS2. While we are going to make the most of joint opportunities, it is safe to
say that is absolutely not going to happen.'
He continued, 'We think there is growing strength in the UPN brand and it
will continue to be an independent brand with a distinct personality and a
distinct target audience.'
He added that UPN's name won't be changed and that there are no plans to shut
down the network's current facility in Santa Monica, Calif.
Moonves talked of UPN's current success with new series Buffy the Vampire
Slayer and Star Trek spinoff Enterprise.
'Competitively, and not that I'm at all competitive, UPN
remains on top of The WB [Television Network] and I have a new enemy to pick
on,' he said. 'It's not ABC and NBC anymore -- now I have to go after The WB,
and I'm going to.'