UPN

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This article is about the defunct television network. For other uses, see UPN (disambiguation).
United Paramount Network
Type Defunct broadcast television network
Country United States
Availability United States, Canada
Headquarters Hollywood, California
Owner United Television/Chris-Craft Television (1995)
United Television/Chris-Craft Television/Viacom (1996–2000)
Viacom (2000–2006)
CBS Corporation (2006)
Key people
Lucie Salhany
(Chief Executive Officer, 1995–1997),
Michael Sullivan
(President of Entertainment, 1994–1997),
Dean Valentine
Chief Executive Officer (1997–2001),
Tom Nunan
(President of Entertainment, 1997–2001),[1]
Adam Ware
(Chief Operating Officer, 1999–2002),Dawn Ostroff
(President of Entertainment, 2002–2006)[1]
Launch date
January 16, 1995 (1995-01-16)
Dissolved August 31, 2006 (2006-08-31) (on current MyNetworkTV affiliates)
September 15, 2006 (2006-09-15) (officially)
Replaced by The CW
MyNetworkTV

The United Paramount Network (UPN) was an American broadcast television network that launched on January 16, 1995. The network was originally owned by Chris-Craft Industries/United Television; Viacom (through its Paramount Television unit, which produced most of the network's series) turned the network into a joint venture in 1996 after acquiring a 50% stake in the network, and then purchased Chris-Craft's stake in the network in 2000; UPN was spun off to CBS Corporation in December 2005, when CBS and Viacom split up into two separate companies.

UPN shut down on September 15, 2006, with some of its programs moving three days later to The CW – a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Time Warner (majority owner of The WB, itself shutting down two days later).[2]

History

Origins (1949–1993)

Paramount Pictures had played a pivotal role in the development of network television. It was a partner in the DuMont Television Network, and the Paramount Theaters chain, which was spun off from the corporate/studio parent, merged with ABC in a deal that helped cement that network's status as a major network. The Paramount Television Network was launched in 1949, but dissolved in the 1950s.

In the wake of the successful Universal Studios ad hoc syndication package Operation Prime Time, which first featured a miniseries adaptation of John Jakes' novel The Bastard and went on to air several more productions, Paramount had earlier contemplated its own television network with the Paramount Television Service. Set to launch in early 1978, it would have run its programming for only one night a week. Thirty "Movies of the Week" would have followed Star Trek: Phase II on Saturday nights. Plans for the new network were scrapped when sufficient advertising slots could not be sold, though Paramount would contribute some programs to Operation Prime Time, such as the mini-series A Woman Called Golda, and the weekly pop music program, Solid Gold. Star Trek: Phase II went into production as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, absorbing the costs already incurred from the aborted television series.

Paramount, and its eventual parent Viacom (which bought Paramount Pictures in 1994), did not try to forget about the possibility. Independent stations, even more than network affiliates, were feeling the growing pressure of audience erosion to cable television in the 1980s and 1990s, and there were unaffiliated commercial stations in most of the major television markets, at least, even after the foundation of Fox in 1986. Meanwhile, Paramount, long successful in syndication with repeats of Star Trek, found itself with several first-run syndicated series by the turn of the 1990s, in Entertainment Tonight, The Arsenio Hall Show, Friday the 13th: The Series, War of the Worlds, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

In 1993, Time Warner and Chris-Craft Industries entered into a joint venture to distribute programming via a prime time programming block, the Prime Time Entertainment Network (PTEN). PTEN can be seen as the ancestor of what would become UPN and The WB, since Chris-Craft later became a partner in UPN, while Time Warner launched The WB (in a joint venture with the Tribune Company) at roughly the same time.

Launch (1994–2000)

The UPN colorful shapes logo, used from 1995 to 1998, and in various iterations from 1998 to 2002 (though the "primary colors" variant continued on some affiliates and print until 2002).
Silver variant of UPN logo, used from 1998 to 2002.

Paramount formed the Paramount Stations Group when it purchased the assets of the TVX Broadcast Group, which owned several independent stations in major markets, in 1991. This was not unlike the purchase of the Metromedia stations by News Corporation ten years earlier, which were used as the nuclei for Fox. In another parallel, 20th Century Fox (the News Corporation subsidiary behind the Fox network, which was spun off with the company's other entertainment assets to 21st Century Fox in July 2013), like Paramount, had long been a powerhouse in television syndication. All indicators suggested that Paramount was about to launch a network of its own. In late 1994, Paramount announced the formation of the United Paramount Network. The new network would be owned by Chris-Craft Industries, while most of its shows were to be produced by Paramount Television. The "U" in UPN stood for Chris-Craft subsidiary United Television, which owned the network's two largest stations: New York City's WWOR-TV and Los Angeles's KCOP-TV; the "P" represented Paramount Television, the studio that formed a programming partnership with Chris-Craft to create the network. Chris-Craft and Paramount/Viacom each owned independent stations in several large and mid-sized U.S. cities, and these stations formed the nuclei of the new network.

UPN launched on January 16, 1995, initially carrying programming only on Monday and Tuesday nights. Like Fox had done a decade earlier, UPN started with a few nights of programming each week, with additional nights of primetime shows gradually being added over the course of several seasons. Thus, for all intents and purposes, its affiliates were still basically independents during the network's early years.

The first telecast, the two-hour pilot episode of Star Trek: Voyager, was an auspiciously widely viewed start, having been seen by 21.3 million viewers; however, Voyager would never achieve such viewership levels again, nor would any of the series debuting on UPN's second night of broadcasting survive the season. In contrast, The WB debuted one week earlier, on January 11, with four series – only one of which, Muscle, would not survive its first season. The first comedy series to debut on UPN were Platypus Man, starring Richard Jeni, and Pig Sty, with both shows airing Monday nights in the 9:00 p.m. hour; both received mixed reviews, and neither lasted long.

Other early UPN programs included the action series Nowhere Man, starring Bruce Greenwood and Marker, starring Richard Grieco; the comic western Legend starring Richard Dean Anderson; the science-fiction themed action series, The Sentinel; and Moesha, a sitcom starring Brandy Norwood. Of the network's early offerings, only Star Trek: Voyager, Moesha and The Sentinel would last longer than one season. As a result of the lack of viewership, UPN operated on a loss and had lost $800 million by 2000.[3]

Within nearly two years of the network's launch, on December 8, 1996, Paramount/Viacom purchased a 50% stake in UPN from Chris-Craft.[4] Over time, UPN began to run additional nights of programming. The first expansion came with the addition of Wednesday primetime programming in the 1996–1997 season. Thursday and Friday nights were the last to be added to the network's primetime slate, beginning with the 1998–1999 season.

Viacom era and decline (2000–2006)

Proposed logo for the stillborn Paramount Network.

In March 2000, Viacom exercised a contractual clause that would force Chris-Craft to either buy Viacom out of UPN, or have the former sell its ownership stake in the network to Viacom. Chris-Craft was unable to find a suitable partner and allowed Viacom to buy out its 50% stake in UPN, giving Viacom full control of the network.[5][6] This gave UPN the rare distinction of being the only broadcast network whose stations in the three largest markets of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago were not owned-and-operated stations of the network – with Viacom taking full ownership control of UPN, KCOP-TV and WWOR-TV's statuses automatically switched from being UPN O&Os to being UPN affiliates. Meanwhile, Chicago affiliate WPWR-TV was the largest UPN station that was not owned-and-operated by the network, as neither Chris-Craft or Viacom held ownership of that station. As a result of Viacom taking Chris-Craft's stake, the network's largest owned-and-operated station became Philadelphia's WPSG.

Shortly afterward, Viacom shortened the network's official name from the "United Paramount Network" to the three-letter initials, "UPN". Viacom also proposed a rebranding of UPN into the "Paramount Network", using a prototype logo based on Paramount Pictures' mountain logo, which served as the basis for the "P" triangle in the original UPN logo. This idea was abandoned after many affiliates protested, citing that the rebranding might confuse viewers and result in ratings declines.

A few months before, Viacom bought CBS (merging the network's owned-and-operated stations into Viacom's Paramount Stations Group unit), creating duopolies between CBS and UPN stations in Philadelphia (KYW-TV and WPSG), Boston (WBZ-TV and WSBK-TV), Miami (WFOR-TV and WBFS-TV), Dallas–Fort Worth (KTVT and KTXA), Detroit (WWJ-TV and WKBD-TV) and Pittsburgh (KDKA-TV and WNPA). Viacom's purchase of CBS was said to be the "death knell" for the Federal Communications Commission's longtime ban on television station duopolies. Further transactions added San Francisco (KPIX-TV and KBHK, the latter of which was traded to Viacom/CBS by Fox Television Stations) and Sacramento (KOVR and KMAX-TV, the former of which was sold to Viacom/CBS by the Sinclair Broadcast Group) to the mix.

At the time of UPN's launch, the network's flagship station was Chris-Craft-owned WWOR-TV in Secaucus, New Jersey (which serves the New York City market). Even after Chris-Craft sold its share in the network to Viacom, WWOR was still commonly regarded as the flagship of the network since it had long been common practice for this status to be associated with a network's New York station. For this reason, some doubt was cast on UPN's future after Fox Television Stations bought most of Chris-Craft's television stations on August 12, 2000, which included several UPN affiliates (including WWOR and West Coast flagship KCOP).[7] Fox later bought the third-largest UPN affiliate, Chicago's WPWR-TV, through a separate deal with Newsweb Corporation.

In 2001, UPN entered into a public bidding war to acquire two series from The WB, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell, from producing studio 20th Century Fox Television. UPN eventually outbid The WB for the shows and aired them together on Tuesday nights until Roswell ended its run in 2002, Buffy ended its run the following year. New shows began to breathe life into the network starting in the fall of 2003 with America's Next Top Model, followed up by the fall 2004 premieres of the sitcom All of Us (which was produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith) and the mystery series Veronica Mars, and the Chris Rock-produced and narrated sitcom Everybody Hates Chris in 2005.

On June 14, 2005, Viacom announced that it would be split into two companies due to declining performance of the company's stock; both the original Viacom – which was renamed CBS Corporation – and a new company that took the Viacom name would be controlled by the original Viacom's parent National Amusements (controlled by Sumner Redstone). UPN became part of CBS Corporation, while the new Viacom kept Paramount Pictures among other holdings each company acquired in the deal.[8][9]

Network closure

On January 24, 2006, UPN parent CBS Corporation and Time Warner, the majority owner of The WB, announced that they would shut down both networks and launch a new broadcast network that would be operated as a joint venture between both companies, The CW, which incorporated UPN and The WB's higher-rated programs with newer series produced exclusively for The CW. The new network immediately signed 10-year affiliation agreements with 16 stations affiliated with The WB (out of 19 stations that were affiliated with the network) that were owned by that network's part-owner, the Tribune Company – including stations in the coveted markets of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago – and 11 UPN stations that were owned by CBS Corporation.[2][10] Fox Television Stations' nine UPN affiliates were passed over for affiliations as a result, and the company responded two days later by removing all UPN branding from those stations and ceasing the promotion of UPN programs. One month later on February 22, Fox announced the formation of MyNetworkTV, a new network that would also debut in September 2006 that would use the company's soon-to-be former UPN affiliates as the nuclei.[11]

UPN quietly went off the air on September 15, 2006 – three days prior to the launch of The CW; WWE SmackDown was the last official program broadcast on UPN, ending the network's existence after 11 years (although some affiliates aired the network's optional weekend encore block). However, the Fox-owned UPN stations disaffiliated from the network on August 31; as a result, UPN's last two weeks of programming did not air in ten markets where Fox owned a UPN affiliate that was set to become an owned-and-operated station of MyNetworkTV, when that network launched on September 5. WWE SmackDown, however, aired in those markets on Tribune's WB stations, most of including those that would join The CW shortly afterward. With the exception of SmackDown, all programs during the network's final three months were reruns. After the network's official closure, UPN's website was redirected to The CW website, and then to CBS's website.

Programming

At the time of its shutdown, UPN ran only two hours of primetime network programming on Monday through Fridays (compared to the three Monday through Saturday and four Sunday primetime hours offered by the Big Three networks). UPN never carried any weekend primetime programming throughout the network's run (though it did offer children's programming on weekend mornings until 2003, and a movie package to its affiliates on weekend afternoons until 2000, when the latter was replaced with a two-hour repeat block of UPN programs); as a result, affiliates held the responsibility of programming their Saturday and Sunday evening schedules with syndicated programs, sports, movies or network programs that were preempted from earlier in the week due to special programming in the 8–10 p.m. (ET/PT) time period. This primetime scheduling allowed for many of the network's affiliates to air local newscasts during the 10-11 p.m. (ET/PT) time period.

Most of UPN's programming through the years was produced by Paramount Television or a Viacom-owned sister company (Viacom Productions, Big Ticket Entertainment, Spelling Television or CBS Productions). UPN's first official program was Star Trek: Voyager, with the first comedy shows to debut being two short-lived series: Richard Jeni starring vehicle Platypus Man, and Pig Sty.

Other notable UPN programs during the network's existence included The Sentinel, Moesha, Star Trek: Enterprise, WWE SmackDown, America's Next Top Model, Girlfriends, the Moesha spin-off The Parkers, Veronica Mars, Everybody Hates Chris, and Dilbert. In the summer of 2005, UPN aired R U the Girl, in which R&B group TLC searched for a woman to join them on a new song. The network also produced some special programs, including 2001's Iron Chef USA. From 1996 to 2006, much of UPN's comedy programming for the remainder of the network's run (particularly those seen on the network's Monday evening lineup) was largely aimed at African American audiences (with minor exceptions in shows such as Clueless, DiResta and Head Over Heels).

UPN occasionally acquired series cancelled by the other broadcast networks, including former WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell (both of which moved to UPN in 2001, Buffy was picked up after The WB chose not to renew it due to skyrocketing license fees while Roswell joined UPN after that same network also cancelled the series),[12] and former ABC series Clueless and The Hughleys. The first such program to move to UPN from another network was In the House, which moved to the network from NBC (which cancelled the series after its second season) in 1996. In its later years, as part of the network's desire to maintain its own unique identity with its own unique shows, UPN had a policy of "not picking up other networks' scraps", which was a strong argument when fan pressure was generated in 2004 for them to pick up Angel, the spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer which had been dropped from The WB.

UPN aired only one regular sports event program: the much-hyped XFL in 2001, as part of a package from co-creator and WWE founder Vince McMahon, which also included what was then WWF SmackDown!. UPN had planned to air a second season of XFL in 2002, but it also demanded that SmackDown! be reduced by 30 minutes; McMahon did not agree to the change and the football league folded not long afterward.

News programming

Like The WB, UPN never aired national morning or evening newscasts; however, several of its affiliates and owned-and-operated stations did produce their own local newscasts. Several UPN affiliates ran a local newscast in the 10:00–11:00 p.m. Eastern/Pacific (9:00–10:00 p.m. Central/Mountain) timeslot at some point during or throughout their affiliations with the network; though there were a few stations that also produced a weekday morning newscast; early evening newscasts were largely absent on most of these stations. The UPN affiliate body had fewer news-producing stations in comparison to stations aligned with the Big Three television networks (NBC, ABC and CBS) and considerably fewer than Fox and especially The WB. In several markets, the local UPN affiliate either outsourced news programming to an NBC, ABC or CBS station in the market (either due to insufficient funds for production of their own newscasts or in later years after the FCC permitted duopolies in markets with eight or more stations in 2000, the station being operated through a legal duopoly or operational agreement with a major network affiliate); other affiliates opted to carry syndicated programming in the hour following UPN's primetime programming lineup.

When the network launched in January 1995, UPN automatically gained six affiliates with functioning news departments through Chris-Craft/United Television and Viacom's respective affiliation deals with the network, all of whom founded their news operations as either independent stations or during prior affiliations with other networks: WWOR-TV/Secaucus, New Jersey (New York City), KCOP-TV/Los Angeles, WKBD-TV/Detroit, KPTV/Portland, Oregon, KMSP-TV/Minneapolis and WTOG/Tampa, Florida. Two more stations would join them later on: KSTW/Seattle, also owned by Viacom at the time, after it affiliated with UPN in 1997 through the reversal of a 1995 affiliation switch with CBS affiliate KIRO-TV (which also kept its news department as a UPN affiliate), and KMAX-TV/Sacramento, which joined UPN after being acquired by Viacom in 1998 and began producing newscasts shortly after its 1995 affiliation with The WB. KSTW and WTOG's news departments were shut down in 1998 due to cost-cutting measures mandated by Viacom.

Not all of UPN's news-producing stations were owned by the two companies that formed the nuclei of the network's affiliate group; WUAB/Cleveland, which started its news department in 1988, also continued its 10:00 p.m. newscast as a UPN affiliate (it would begin producing newscasts for sister station WOIO-TV in February 1995, after that station became a CBS affiliate; though WOIO eventually took over production of the newscast by 2002). Harrisburg affiliate WLYH-TV briefly continued its newscasts after switching to UPN from CBS in 1995, until WHP-TV began operating the station under a local marketing agreement that fall. WFTC/Minneapolis continued to produce a late evening newscast after Fox Television Stations (which acquired KMSP-TV through the Chris-Craft purchase and switched the station to Fox) acquired the station from Clear Channel Communications and switched the station to UPN – it was moved to 10:00 p.m. to avoid competing with KMSP's 9:00 p.m. newscast until the WFTC newscast was cancelled in 2006.

Outside of KPTV and KMSP, which are both now Fox stations, none of the former UPN affiliates that produced newscasts during their affiliation with the network continue to maintain a self-supporting news department (despite license requirements imposed by the station's 1983 transfer of its license to Secaucus, New Jersey from New York City to cover New Jersey issues, WWOR-TV – which continued to produce news programming after coming under common ownership with Fox O&O WNYW – shut down its news department in July 2013 and replaced its lone 10:00 p.m. newscast with an outside produced program called Chasing New Jersey, a move that resulted in calls by state politicians for the FCC to revoke Fox's license to operate the station;[13][14][15] KTTV took over production of sister station KCOP's newscasts in 2007, before discontinuing news programming on that station in 2013; KMAX's news department has since been merged with that of KOVR although it still produces a morning newscast separate from that station; and WKBD shut down its news department in 2003 with it being replaced by a short-lived WXYZ-produced 10:00 p.m. newscast).

Children's programming

Main articles: UPN Kids and Disney's One Too

When the network launched in January 1995, UPN also debuted a weekend morning cartoon block called UPN Kids (later called "The UPN Kids Action Zone" during the 1998–99 season). In 1997, UPN added two teen-oriented series to the lineup with reruns of the syndicated Sweet Valley High and a new series, Breaker High; both shows filled the weekday morning block for the 1997–98 season, while they were also included alongside the animated series on Sunday mornings. Unlike other networks, UPN gave its affiliates the option of running its weekend children's program block on either Saturdays or Sundays. In January 1998, the network entered into a deal with Saban Entertainment to program the Sunday morning block (with shows such as The Incredible Hulk, X-Men and Spider-Man joining the lineup).[16][17][18]

In 1999, UPN contracted the network's children's programming to The Walt Disney Company; the teen-oriented and animated series were replaced with a new block called Disney's One Too, which debuted on September 6, 1999 and featured select programs seen on ABC's Disney's One Saturday Morning lineup (such as Recess and Sabrina, the Animated Series).[19] Many UPN affiliates at the network's launch were already airing The Disney Afternoon, a block supplied by Disney-owned syndication distributor Buena Vista Television; however, that block would be discontinued in August 1997. The addition of Disney's One Too reinstated UPN's children's program block to two hours, running on Sunday mornings and weekday afternoons. In 2002, Digimon: Digital Monsters moved to UPN from Fox Kids, due to Disney's acquisition of Fox's children's program inventory as well as the Fox Family Channel, which was renamed ABC Family by that point.

By 2003, the "One Too" branding was dropped for the block due to the rebranding of ABC's Saturday morning lineup from One Saturday Morning to ABC Kids (though the block was unofficially referred to as Disney's Animation Weekdays outside of the network). UPN chose not to renew its contract with Disney, with the network dropping all children's programming on August 29, 2003. This left UPN as one of only two major broadcast networks that did not air a children's programming block (the other being Pax TV, which discontinued its Pax Kids lineup in 2000, before reviving children's programming as Ion Television through the 2007 launch of Qubo). Incidentally, UPN's successor The CW carried over the Kids' WB (now Vortexx) Saturday morning lineup from fellow successor The WB, resulting in UPN affiliates that joined The CW in September 2006 carrying network-supplied children's programming for the first time since the One Too block ended.

Some Fox stations that declined to run that network's 4Kids TV block passed on the block to an affiliate of UPN or The WB, or an independent station, in order for the Fox affiliate to air general entertainment programming or local newscasts on Saturday mornings (for example, WFLD/Chicago moved the 4Kids TV schedule to co-owned then-UPN affiliate WPWR-TV, while WFLD aired news, and children's programming that fulfilled the Federal Communications Commission's E/I obligations for broadcast stations in place of the 4Kids lineup). In other cases, some UPN stations aired their own blocks of syndicated children's programs designed to meet the minimal three hours of E/I programming required by the FCC.

Television movies

During the late 1990s, UPN produced a number of television movies under the umbrella brand Blockbuster Shockwave Cinema, in conjunction with sponsor (and then-sister company) Blockbuster Video, almost all of which were science fiction films.

From UPN's inception until 2000, the network also offered a hosted movie series called the UPN Movie Trailer to its stations. The weekend block featured mostly older theatrically released action and comedy films, often those from the Paramount Pictures film library. The Movie Trailer block was discontinued in 2000 to give stations that opted for them room for a two-hour block of select UPN series that aired in primetime during the previous week. There were also three Paramount-branded blocks that aired on Viacom's UPN owned-and-operated stations between 1995 and 2000: the Paramount Teleplex as the main brand for movies at any given timeslot, the Paramount Prime Movie for primetime features, and the Paramount Late Movie for films airing in late night timeslots.

Shows that almost aired on UPN

  • According to Simon Cowell's biography and Bill Carter's book Desperate Networks, UPN was offered American Idol but turned it down. The program would subsequently be picked up by Fox, where it experienced major success.
  • As part of the contract for picking up Buffy the Vampire Slayer, UPN was obligated to pick up Angel if it was cancelled by The WB while UPN was still airing Buffy. However, Angel was cancelled by The WB the year after Buffy ended its run on UPN. Despite a large fan campaign, UPN declined to pick up the show.
  • Firefly was offered to UPN after being cancelled by Fox, but UPN declined to pick up the series to allow a second season to run.[20]
  • Malcolm in the Middle was originally developed for UPN before being picked up by Fox,[21] where it lasted for six seasons.
  • Talkshow with Spike Feresten was reportedly to air on UPN; it debuted on Fox as part of its Saturday late night lineup one day after UPN's closure, and aired on the network until its 2009 cancellation.
  • After the faliure of the 2002 Nancy Drew pilot, a weekly was offered to UPN, but they refused to pick it up.
  • According to The TV IV, nine new scripts for a third season of The Critic were written for UPN;[22][23] had it been picked up, UPN would have been the third network to have aired the series as it was originally picked up by ABC and then moved to Fox for its second and final season.

Affiliates

Although it was considered a major network by the Nielsen ratings, UPN was not available in every American television market. In some areas, UPN programming was shown off-pattern by affiliates of other networks or by otherwise independent stations, such as in the case of Honolulu's KIKU-TV. Some affiliates were also known to extensively preempt network programming in order to broadcast local sporting events.

By 2003, UPN had an estimated audience reach of 85.98% of all U.S. households (equivalent to 91,689,290 households with at least one television set). In contrast, The WB was viewable in 91.66% of all U.S. television homes. This is mainly because The WB operated The WB 100+ Station Group, a group of cable-only stations in markets below the top 100 (prior to the September 1998 launch of The WB 100+, The WB's programming was carried over the superstation feed of the network's Chicago affiliate WGN-TV), while UPN did not have such a service. UPN did have one cable-only affiliate in its station body, Fort Myers, Florida's WNFM-TV, which joined the network in 1998. UPN had approximately 143 full-power owned-and-operated or primary affiliate stations in the U.S. and another 65 stations aired some UPN programming as secondary affiliates.

In markets where Viacom had a CBS/UPN duopoly, the UPN station was used to air CBS network programs, pre-empting the UPN lineup altogether, in the event that local sporting events or extended breaking news coverage would air on the CBS station as the CBS-owned outlets were usually the senior partner in the duopolies (the only exception being Detroit, where WKBD-TV is considered the senior partner to WWJ-TV due to WKBD being longer-established). One such event occurred on September 26, 2004, when Hurricane Jeanne forced a scheduled NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins in Miami to be postponed from its scheduled start time of 1:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time; the game aired locally on KDKA-TV and WFOR-TV while their respective UPN sister stations, WNPA-TV and WBFS-TV, aired CBS's regular Sunday night programming instead.

These factors led to the network struggling in the ratings over much of UPN's existence, with its later Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: Enterprise, perhaps suffering the most and ultimately being cancelled by the network in a controversial decision in February 2005. The most consistent ratings performer for the network was WWE SmackDown. During the 2004-2005 season, the network was getting consistently better ratings than The WB, much of this thanks to its carriage of the WWE.[24]

Station standardization

When the network launched, UPN began having most of its stations branded as "UPN" or "Paramount" (the latter having been used only by the network's Viacom-owned stations, some of whom adopted the "Paramount" branding prior to UPN's launch), followed by the station's channel number. By the late 1990s, affiliates were simply branded under the "UPN (channel number or city)" scheme (for example, in Chicago's WPWR-TV called itself "UPN Chicago" and New York City's WWOR-TV was referred to as "UPN 9", until The CW's launch was announced in January 2006). But most UPN owned-and-operated stations under Viacom/CBS Corporation branded themselves by the network/city conventions (for example, KBHK/San Francisco was branded "UPN Bay Area," WKBD/Detroit was branded "UPN Detroit" and WUPL/New Orleans was branded "UPN New Orleans").

However, that did not always apply, as WSBK-TV/Boston was branded "UPN 38" and KMAX-TV/Sacramento was branded "UPN 31," for example. WNPA/Pittsburgh originally branded itself as "UPN 19", but changed over to "UPN Pittsburgh" soon after the UPN adopted its second and final logo in September 2002, making it one of the few that had carried both standardization styles. Many UPN-affiliated stations followed the same branding scheme (for example, KFVE/Honolulu used the brand "UPN Hawaii").

This would be a continuation of the trend of networks using such naming schemes, which originated at Fox (and even earlier at Canada's CBC Television), and was especially used at CBS (which has most of its owned-and-operated stations, with a few exceptions, brand using a combination of the network's name and over-the-air channel number); The WB, NBC and ABC also use(d) similar naming schemes, but not to that extreme. While the "Big Three" networks do not require their affiliates to have such naming schemes (though some affiliates choose to adopt it anyway) and only on the network's owned-and-operated stations is the style required, UPN mandated it on all stations – though in one case, WCGV/Milwaukee branded as "Channel 24" from 1998 to 2001 with no UPN imagery (that station, which previously branded as "UPN 24", had disaffiliated from the network in 1998 for eight months due to a compensation dispute).

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Dawn's breaking at UPN - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety
  2. ^ a b UPN, WB to Merge Into CW Network, AdWeek, January 24, 2006.
  3. ^ Surowiecki, James (2000-04-03). "Why Won't Anyone Pull the Plug on UPN?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  4. ^ Viacom to buy half of UPN: is investing $160 million in fledgling network, Broadcasting & Cable, December 9, 1996. Retrieved June 22, 2013 from HighBeam Research.
  5. ^ Viacom wins UPN so let the digestion begin, Media Life Magazine, March 2000. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  6. ^ UPN deal done; Viacom buys out Chris-Craft share, Broadcasting & Cable, April 10, 2000. Retrieved June 22, 2013 from HighBeam Research.
  7. ^ Fox in the UPN house, Steve McClellan, Broadcasting & Cable, August 21, 2000. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  8. ^ Viacom Board Agrees to Split of Company, The New York Times, June 15, 2005.
  9. ^ SpongeBob or Survivor?, CNNMoney.com, December 19, 2005.
  10. ^ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
  11. ^ "News Corp. to launch new mini-network for UPN stations". USA Today. February 22, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  12. ^ UPN makes bid for 'Buffy' - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety
  13. ^ Friedman, Alexi (July 3, 2013). "Fox ends MY9 News, will replace it with an interview show". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Criticism continues over WWOR's cancellation of N.J. newscast". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  15. ^ Bichao, Sergio (9 July 2013). "'Chasing New Jersey' news show fails to win over Channel 9 critics". Courier News. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Hontz, Jenny (Jan 27, 1998). "UPN kids pick Nick, not Mouse". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  17. ^ Katz, Richard (Jan 29, 1998). "Marvel, Saban set kids shows for UPN". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  18. ^ Katz, Richard (Feb 24, 1998). "UPN serves up superheroes". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  19. ^ Pursell, Chris (July 19, 1999). "Mouse brands UPN kidvid". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  20. ^ Gamers With Jobs
  21. ^ Lessons in launching - Entertainment News, "Malcolm in the Middle" series finale, Media - Variety
  22. ^ The TV IV - The Critic
  23. ^ The TV IV - The Critic/Season Two
  24. ^ John Consoli, "UPN's Start-of-Week Blues", Mediaweek, October 23, 2004

External links