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UPN Brings Back More ‘Model,’ Moonves Talks Up Network

Jan 19, 2005  •  Post A Comment

At the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour Wednesday, UPN President of Entertainment Dawn Ostroff announced the network’s reality series “America’s Next top Model” is coming back next season for fifth and sixth cycles. The fourth cycle of “Top Model” premieres Wednesday, Mar. 2.

“‘Top Model’ has been a huge success,” Ms. Ostroff said. “The three cycles have broken ratings record. Additionally, the move to Wednesdays has increased ratings among young women in the triple digits.”

Ms. Ostroff was introduced by Viacom co-President and co-Chief Operating Officer and CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves, who said the network’s strategy of focusing on young women has helped UPN increase its women 18 to 34 numbers and has set up the network for more advertising dollars.

“We’ve changed the perception of this network,” he said. “We are moving the network forward.”

Ms. Ostroff declined to say what the new younger female focus would mean for the future of the network’s “Star Trek” franchise drama “Enterprise” in terms of a pickup for next season.

“It’s something we are just starting to look at now,” she said, noting that the network is in the middle of its pilot pickup process. “This would be the time we would just start to talk about it.”

Mr. Moonves admitted that WWE wrestling, long a UPN staple, “doesn’t fit with the overall strategy” of attracting more young women but is appropriate counterprogramming to strong Thursday night competition from other networks.

“It still makes us a decent amount of money,” he said.

Ms. Ostroff said “Amish in the City” was not coming back for a second season.

“I’m going to say no, but not sure if any of you believe me,” she said, alluding to the network’s misleading claim last year that it had canceled the show’s production, though it was secretly preparing it for air.

Mr. Moonves addressed the network’s flat ratings in terms of adults 18 to 34 and adults 18 to 49, despite growth on Wednesdays, thanks to “Top Model” and “Kevin Hill.” He said UPN’s drop in the ratings for its Monday and Tuesday urban comedies this season have hit the network, which he said may be an issue for Nielsen Media Research and its African American household sampling.

“I’m not here to knock Nielsen,” Mr. Moonves said. “We are questioning those numbers and looking at whether that sampling is right.”

Ms. Ostroff also announced a number of February sweeps highlights, including the Monday, Feb. 14, premiere of the “One on One” spinoff “Cuts” at 8:30 p.m. On Monday, Feb. 7 at 8:30 p.m. UPN will rebroadcast the episode of “One on One” that introduced the characters and set up the plot for “Cuts.” That same night, the sitcom “Half & Half” will move to its new time period Mondays 9:30 p.m., replacing “Second Time Around.”

On Wednesday, Mar. 2, the fourth cycle of “Top Model” premieres at 8 p.m., followed by the live finale of “The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott” at 9 p.m. The night before UPN will air a “Top Model” special that will profile the contestants of the recently completed third cycle.

Ms. Ostroff also announced the music reality show “R U the Girl with T-Boz & Chilli” would premiere in the summer. Ms. Ostroff said the show, which has former TLC members T-Boz and Chilli auditioning for a third singer for a new band, would be “respectful” to the memory of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez, who died in a car accident in 2002.

“There will be respect paid to who TLC was,” she said. “It will be very fresh and different television because it is such a personal story.”