Contenders for UPN post named

Jul 30, 2001  •  Post A Comment

UPN is down to a short list of candidates to fill the top programming spot vacated by Tom Nunan on Friday.
Heading the list, according to a number of sources, are Robert Greenblatt and David Janollari, the producers of UPN sitcoms “The Hughleys” and “One on One” and HBO’s “Six Feet Under.”
Others on the short list, sources said, include Nancy Josephson, co-president of Hollywood agency International Creative Management; David Milch, co-executive producer of ABC’s “NYPD Blue” and creator of CBS’s short-lived “Big Apple”; Jim Miller, formerly executive vice president of original programming at USA Network; and Gay Rosenthal, a veteran producer of documentary series for UPN sister Viacom cable networks VH1, TV Land and TNN: The National Network.
In-house candidates include Kelly Edwards and Patrick Moran, UPN’s senior vice presidents of comedy and drama development, respectively.
While Mr. Greenblatt and Mr. Janollari are said not to be unhappy with their current situation, sources said they would likely welcome the challenge of programming a network.
However, Mr. Greenblatt, speaking for himself and Mr. Janollari, dismissed the speculation, adding, “We have the greatest respect for everyone at UPN, and we are very happy in our current capacity producing two shows for them.”
If Mr. Greenblatt and/or Mr. Janollari are offered the job and decide to take it, however, they could easily return to their producing capacities in the event UPN falters.
Rumors about the producing duo, who are currently co-presidents of The Greenblatt Janollari Studio, began to seriously heat up last week just as News Corp. and Fox Television Stations received approval from the FCC for the $5.4 billion acquisition of eight major-market UPN affiliates previously owned by Chris-Craft/United Industries (see story, Page 3).
News Corp.’s pseudo-independent production umbrella group, Fox Television Studios, has been tied into a long-term production pact with Greenblatt Janollari Studio, but one high-placed network source said that deal has recently become “nonexclusive.”
“I really don’t know if it would require Fox’s approval for Greenblatt and Janollari to move over, but I’ve also heard they might be long shots because they might have to dissolve their production company to do it,” said the Fox source.