UPN playing sitcom card - Broadcasting & Cable

UPN playing sitcom card

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UPN executives say their new schedule has produced strong results with
advertisers and that they are looking to put on two new Tuesday comedies during
mid-season.

Armed with newcomers Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Star Trek spin-off Enterprise, UPN finished the November sweeps with its
best performance in a sweeps since 1997.

UPN finished the sweep up in nearly every ratings category from last year, including 11% in adults 18-49, 7% in households and 7% in total viewers.

UPN COO Adam Ware said on a conference call with reporters Thursday that the network will have "double-digit" gains in revenue for the 4th quarter.

"We'll finish out 2001 in very good shape, particularly considering everything that has happened this year," Ware said.

UPN President Dean Valentine, who is currently suing the network over a contract dispute, said he "has an itch to talk about" the on-going legal saga but he "didn't want to scratch it."

As for mid-season programming, Valentine said the network will be putting new comedies As If and Random Years into the Tuesday 9 p.m. ET/PT slot in either March or April.

As If is a single-camera comedy based on a British series and Random Years is from co-owned Paramount Network TV and follows three guys living in a New York City apartment. The two comedies will bump reruns of drama Roswell in the spring.

Valentine also said the network, through its commitment to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, will get the rights to Buffy spin-off Angel if The WB were to cancel it at the end of the season.

"We are hoping they feel passionately upset with Angel and give it to us," Valentine said.
- Joe Schlosser

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