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UPN adds 3 new series

'Chains,' 'Souls' aim to broaden male aud, Valentine sez

UPN is shaking up its primetime sked, adding a trio of new series and revamping three nights of programming.

Among the changes: the return of series programming on Tuesday nights and the U.S. launch of the nonfiction format “Chains of Love.”

Endemol USA’s “Chains,” which literally links five strangers together in a bizarro “Dating Game,” is now set to bow April 17 at 8 p.m. Show had been set to air on NBC, but the Peacock ultimately opted out of the skein due to concerns over content.

“Chains” will be followed at 9 p.m. by “All Souls,” the latest from producer Aaron Spelling. Hourlong thriller is set in a Boston hospital where all sorts of freaky things are happening. Spelling, E. Duke Vincent, Stuart Gillard and Mark Frost (“Twin Peaks”) are exec producers.

UPN topper Dean Valentine told Daily Variety the Tuesday duo of “Chains” and “Souls,” which replaces the net’s Tuesday movie, is designed to broaden the net’s core aud of young males.

“I’ve said this before, but we want to be male-friendly, not male exclusive,” he said. “We think these shows really have the capacity to attract a strong male core but also attract females as well. We think we can make some significant inroads on the night.”

Valentine is particularly optimistic about “Chains,” which will air in the same 8 p.m. Tuesday slot in which ABC had some success with “The Mole” this winter.

Meanwhile, with series programming returning to Tuesday nights, UPN will revert to a Friday movie night, starting April 20.

Third new series to be rolled out is “Special Unit 2,” a sci-fi detective skein from exec producer Evan Katz (“Three”). Show, from Paramount Network Television, bows Wednesday, April 11 at 8 p.m. “7 Days” will go on hiatus.

UPN Thursday also announced several other minor adjustments to its Friday sked. Starting March 23, repeats of Monday laffers “The Parkers” and “The Hughleys” begin a four-week run from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. A week later, UPN will temporarily begin double-pumping toon laffer “Gary & Mike” in the 9 o’clock hour; “Level 9” has been canceled.

Series will continue to run on the night until the April 20 return of the UPN Friday Movie.

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