You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Clueless’ set to lead UPN’s Tuesday night

NEW YORK — UPN may be changing leaders, but the netlet will stay with its strategy aimed at young urban viewers.

Lucie Salhany, who plans to leave as chairman as soon as a successor is named, on Tuesday unveiled the weblet’s schedule to advertisers at the American Museum of Natural History along with Michael Sullivan, UPN’s president of entertainment.

After remaking the weblet in past seasons, UPN this time around is sticking to twin strategies of scheduling largely ethnic sitcoms early in the week and keeping its sci-fi package of “The Sentinel” and “Star Trek: Voyager” from 8 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday. In midseason, a package of sci-fi telefilms and a few theatricals will begin airing on Thursday, a fourth night, although UPN execs declined to provide details.

“We will continue focusing on edgy programs geared toward the young viewer,” Salhany said.

On Mondays, UPN at 9 will add “Good News,” from MTM Prods., about an urban gospel minister, surrounded by the returning “In the House” at 8, “Malcolm & Eddie” at 8:30 and “Sparks” at 9:30.

On Tuesdays, UPN will drop drama “The Burning Zone” and program four sitcoms, with “Moesha” returning in a new timeslot at 8:30, followed by “Hitz,” from Paramount and MTV Prods., about a pair of A&R execs in the music business, and “Head Over Heels” (Columbia TriStar Television), about two brothers running a Florida video-dating service. “Clueless,” the first-year ABC series based on Paramount’s feature film, moves to UPN to lead off the night at 8. ABC did not pick up the series for a second season.

Aside from “Burning Zone,” the new entries will replace “Homeboys in Outer Space” and “Goode Behavior.”

Ad buyers said “Clueless” could be a hit for UPN, even with half its ABC rating, while opinion was divided on the Thursday movie.

Overall, the presentation was “less-focused than the WB’s,” said one, but UPN still enjoys a distribution and ratings advantage.

And they wondered whether UPN was squandering one of its top series, “Moesha,” by moving it from 8 to 8:30, making room for “Clueless.”

Salhany defended the move, noting “it’s very important to flow the audience into 9 o’clock.” Hammocking “Moesha” between “Clueless” and the new “Hitz” will, she hopes, offer a bridge of male viewers to the new series. “It’s about building a block, not just a show, and gives us a chance to expand our reach on the night.”

Par parent Viacom, the 50% owner of UPN, thus has two new series on UPN’s schedule, with “Clueless” and “Hitz.”

Backup series include “Ruby,” from Columbia TriStar, with David Faustino (“Married … With Children”) and the voice of Whoopi Goldberg as a puppet Hollywood star; “Macio,” from QDE, starring the standup comedian; and “Veronica’s Video,” from Big Ticket Television, with Corbin Bernsen in a father-son team running a video-rental store.

UPN also said Tuesday that two-thirds of its roughly 105 primary affiliates have signed new pacts that will keep them broadcasting UPN programming until 2003 to 2005.

As reported, UPN is adding a one-hour weekday teen block, including Saban Entertainment’s “Sweet Valley High” and “Breaker High,” the latter about a high school on a cruise ship. A Sunday-morning block will program an hour each geared toward kid and teen audiences.

And UPN will enter the sports arena with a multiyear agreement to air the annual U.S. Open Professional Figure Skating Championships, beginning with four hours of coverage on Nov. 29 and 30.

More TV

  • Globe Centred On Asia And Oceania,

    APOS: Online Video Headed for 15% Annual Growth, Disrupting Asia Markets

    A blistering 15% annual growth of online video will give the Asian video industry (TV, pay-TV, home entertainment and streaming) a growth rate nearly double that of North America for the next five years. According to a new report from Media Partners Asia, published on the eve of the APOS conference in Indonesia, Asia’s online [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Writers Guild Says Over 7,000 Members Have Fired Agents

    Over 7,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have fired their talent agents, the Hollywood union said on Monday. As promised, the guild delivered a first round of termination letters to agents in a show of support for the WGA’s full-on war with the Association of Talent Agents. “Today the Guild delivered a first [...]

  • The Spanish Princess Starz

    TV Review: Starz's 'The Spanish Princess'

    With sumptuous costumes and a cast including a couple of familiar and beloved costume-drama players, Starz’s “The Spanish Princess,” about the travails of Catherine of Aragon, seems designed to appeal to lovers of broadly drawn historical romance. (It hits the air May 5 with a built-in fandom: Like past Starz miniseries including “The White Queen,” [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Jada Pinkett Smith's

    TV News Roundup: Amazon's 'Sneaky Pete' Releases Season 3 Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Amazon Prime Video releases a trailer for Season 3 of “Sneaky Pete,” and “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith sets a return date on Facebook Watch. FIRST LOOKS The official trailer for the third season of “Sneaky Pete” on Amazon Prime Video has been released, showing off the new [...]

  • Tammy Filler Nathan Najarian NBC

    E! Expands News Coverage, Brings 'Today' Vet Tammy Filler Aboard (EXCLUSIVE)

    E! is expanding its entertainment-news programming, with plans to add three more hours of coverage to its linear schedule in 2020, Variety has learned. To help spearhead the effort, the cable channel is bringing aboard Tammy Filler, a veteran producer on NBC’s “Today,” to lead creative and production for E! News. The expansion of news [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content