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UPN deals for ‘Roswell,’ benches vet ‘Moesha’

Move marks the first dual skein net jump since '95

NEW YORK — The alien teens of “Roswell” will join “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on the trans-network express from the WB to UPN next fall.

UPN sealed an 11th-hour deal Wednesday afternoon to pick up 22 episodes of “Roswell” from 20th Century Fox TV and Regency TV. Both sides had been hammering out an agreement all week, but UPN had hoped to land a smaller pickup. The weblet ultimately agreed to sign up for a full season.

“We were fortunate that a show that had been growing on the WB became available,” said UPN CEO Dean Valentine. “We realized that it’s a terrific show and that it’s got a fanatical audience.”

The “Buffy”-“Roswell” move marks the first time two network series jumped in unison to another web since “Family Matters” and “Step by Step” left ABC for CBS in 1997.

‘Moesha’ moves out

Meanwhile, UPN has decided not to bring back the Big Ticket sitcom “Moesha,” starring Grammy Award winner Brandy, for a seventh season this fall.

That means the grappler net, which announces its lineup this morning at Madison Square Garden, slides into next season without its two longest-running series. “Star Trek: Voyager,” the skein that launched UPN in 1995, airs its series finale May 23; “Moesha” first bowed in January 1996.

“Buffy,” which the netlet snatched last month from the WB, now becomes the oldest skein on UPN. “Moesha” was first developed at CBS, which then passed on the series. UPN picked it up and quickly used the series as a springboard to turn its focus on young, urban comedies.

Valentine said he believed the show “had run its course.” The laffer had already taped its season finale; that episode will now wind up as the series’ last episode.

“It was time to freshen up the night,” he said.

‘One on One’

Family laffer “One on One” will take the empty slot on UPN’s Monday night comedy block. The sitcom originally came from Fox Television Studios and Greenblatt-Janollari, but FTVS opted out after it decided “One on One” didn’t fit the company’s financial model.

Sources said FTVS saw limited international potential for the series. Bob Greenblatt and David Janollari will remain as exec producers on “One on One,” but FTVS agreed to hand the series’ production over to Paramount Network TV — with the stipulation that UPN renew Greenblatt-Janollari’s “The Hughleys.”

Here’s a look at UPN’s fall schedule:

  • Monday kicks off with “The Hughleys” at 8 p.m., followed by newcomer “One on One.” The 9 p.m. block remains the same, with “The Parkers” leading into “Girlfriends.”

  • Call it WB night on UPN: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” keeps its Tuesdays at 8 p.m. timeslot, followed by “Roswell” at 9 p.m.

  • Newcomer “Star Trek: Enterprise” takes the 8 p.m. slot, an hour earlier than where predecessor “Star Trek: Voyager” had resided. Midseason sci-fi hour “Special Unit 2” airs at 9 p.m.

  • “WWF Smackdown” body slams its way onto Thursdays for a third year.

  • After having tried (and failed) to capitalize on “Smackdown” by airing series on Friday, UPN brings back its Friday night movie.

Among midseason contenders, the Lions Gate/Paramount entry “The Dead Zone,” starring Anthony Michael Hall, is expected to make the cut. Series not returning include “7 Days,” “All Souls,” “Celebrity Deathmatch,” “Chains of Love,” “Freedom,” “Gary & Mike” and “Level 9.”

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