UPN Bringing Back ‘Model,’ Sticking With Wrestling

Jan 19, 2006  •  Post A Comment

UPN has ordered the seventh and eighth installments of its reality series “America’s Next Top Model” for the 2006-07 season, a core piece of programming designed for the network’s target audience of young women, and is also likely to bring back its male-skewing Friday night professional wrestling.

UPN President Dawn Ostroff made the programming announcements Thursday during the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.

The sixth installment of “Model” will debut Wednesday, March 8, at 8 p.m. (ET), a week after a special “Where the Girls Are” episode that will profile the series’ past winners.

Despite its continued focus on women 18 to 34, negotiations to run “WWE SmackDown!” for next season are happening, Ms. Ostroff said. “We fully intend to have wrestling on our schedule,” Ms. Ostroff said.

Regarding its low-rated midseason drama “South Beach,” the network will continue to run the series and not remove it as quickly as it did the fall drama “Sex, Love and Secrets,” which was taken off the air after one episode.

“‘South Beach’ is going to be on for a while,” Ms. Ostroff said, noting it has a “very challenging” time period on Wednesdays at 8 p.m.-up against “American Idol.”

“We have a very patient attitude with the show,” she said.

Addressing in her opening remarks the press tour hot topic of new platforms, Ms. Ostroff said the younger viewers that make up UPN’s core audience are “early adopters” to new technology, which explains why last fall UPN was the first network to partner with Google to offer a streaming episode of its comedy “Everybody Hates Chris.”

“We’ll continue to get our quality content on our new platforms, expanding points of contact with the audience and creating new revenue streams,” she said.

But new platforms are most valuable now for driving viewers back to the original broadcasts, Ms. Ostroff said, echoing her counterpart Nina Tassler at UPN’s sister network CBS.

“It’s a way of driving viewers back to the television set,” Ms. Ostroff said. “It’s a way to reach out to people who can’t see every episode.”

UPN also made other programming announcements:

  • Executive producer and co-creator Chris Rock is currently directing an episode of his single-camera rookie comedy “Everybody Hates Chris.” Executive producer Will Smith is also directing an episode of his third-season comedy “All of Us.”

  • Michelle Williams of the band Destiny’s Child is guest starring on the comedy “Half & Half” for a three-episode arc as an HIV-positive record executive. The story arc supports the Know HIV/AIDS Initiative, a joint venture between CBS Corp., Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation.