UPN: A ‘Model’ For Success With Young Female Viewers

May 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

After years of flailing in search of an identity, UPN is sticking with its latest goal of attracting young women. With the continued success of “America’s Next Top Model,” the strategy is simple.

“It feels like they are going to be whatever works-and duplicate the hell out of it,” an agent said.

That explains the “Model”-like drama “The Studio” from Warner Bros., which follows three Hollywood hopefuls, and Paramount’s one-hour “Sex, Lies & Secrets,” a look at aspiring L.A. musicians.

With needs on Monday for the network’s traditional urban comedy night, Chris Rock’s semi-autobiographical “Everybody Hates Chris” from Paramount Network Television and AJ Calloway’s behind-the-scenes fictional talk show from Sony Pictures TV are good candidates.

The big question, in a post-“Star Trek: Enterprise” world, is what UPN will do on Fridays, especially if it gets rid of “Model” repeats at 9 p.m.

The network could create an 8 p.m. comedy block with producers Courteney Cox Arquette and David Arquette’s behind-the-curtain morning chat show “Talk Show Diaries” and Paramount’s “Love, Inc.,” starring Shannen Doherty as a matchmaker, and then go with the Jennifer Lopez-produced one-hour “South Beach” at 9 p.m.

Though this season’s drama rookies “Veronica Mars” and “Kevin Hill” have garnered mostly modest ratings, industry insiders say the shows represent the direction UPN should be moving toward. But at least one agent still struggled to figure out what the network is trying to be.

“They have done fine,” the agent said. “I just don’t know what a UPN show is. I’ve never understood it and I never will.”