UPN To Bow Third Night With Two Dramatic Hours

UPN will stay in a dramatic way with its third night of programming, scheduling the hourlong series “The Sentinel” and “Swift Justice” for Wednesdays beginning March 13.

The second Blockbuster Entertainment Awards will air on the netlet the previous week as a two-hour special launching the third night.

As reported (Daily Variety, Nov. 4), UPN has given 13-episode orders to both shows: “The Sentinel, ” a Paramount Network TV hour starring Richard Burgi as a detective with heightened sensory powers, exec produced by Dan Bilson and Paul DeMeo (“The Flash”); and the Dick Wolf/Universal TV series “Swift Justice,” starring James McCaffrey as a cop-turned-vigilante.

UPN currently airs four dramas on Monday and Tuesday, while the rival WB Network offers all half-hour comedies. “Justice” is Wolf’s third series, joining the long-running NBC drama “Law & Order” and Fox Broadcasting’s sophomore hour “New York Undercover.”

30-minute pair

UPN has also ordered two half-hours for midseason: “Moesha,” a comedy from Big Ticket TV, and an animated version of “The Blues Brothers” from Film Roman.

By launching in March, UPN figures to face more network repeats in the relatively down period between the February and May sweeps.

The inaugural Blockbuster Awards aired in June as a two-hour CBS special, attracting a 5.7 rating, 10 share in Nielsen. The new awards will be broadcast live from the Pantages Theater.

The agreement represents a sort-of synergy, given that Blockbuster Entertainment Group is a unit of Viacom Inc., which is peripherally connected to UPN through another studio division, Paramount Pictures. The awards honor performers in movies, homevideo and music, with winners determined through voting at Blockbuster Video and Music stores. Nominees and categories will be announced in mid-December.

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