Laughter has proved to be the best medicine for UPN.
While a lack of breakout hit comedies continues to plague the broadcast biz, UPN managed to find ratings success and industry respectability in 2003 by doubling its laffer count in the fall.
The sitcom success with shows such as “All of Us” and “Eve”– as well as the surprise hit reality skein “America’s Next Top Model” — more than made up for the May departure of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the continued troubles of “Star Trek: Enterprise.”
UPN Entertainment prexy Dawn Ostroff believes that the people working on the new comedies — think “All of Us” exec producers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith — are as important as the ratings such shows have had.
“Our No. 1 goal was to bring A-level talent to the network,” she says. “When you look over the last year, we’ve made great strides in doing that, from the level of writers and directors and exec producers behind the scenes to the talent starring and guest starring on our shows.”
The drive to bring top talent to UPN is one reason Ostroff considers critically hailed spring drama “Platinum” a success. While it was canceled after just a handful of episodes, she says, the skein drew stellar reviews and changed the perception in the creative community about what kinds of projects could come out of the network.