Is UPN or the Shows the problem??

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by todd s, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I have been posting about some really good shows that were cancelled quickly on UPN. I also notice shows in syndication that last for 2-3 seasons that are not as good. So I have to wonder if it is UPN's fault more than the shows themselves. For example: Nowhere Man, Special Unit 2. The were cancelled after one season. I am just wondering if they were in syndication would they have been given more time to find their audience? I personally think that it is UPN's fault. They are not on in all of the country and they are so strapped for money that if:
    a)the show doesn't pull in boffo ratings
    b)is a cheap comedy to produce
    c)named Star Trek (although that could change)

    It get's cancelled quickly.

    Here is a list of short run shows on UPN that might have succeeded in syndication:

    All Souls drama 2001
    The Beat drama 2000
    The Burning Zone drama 1996-1997
    Freedom drama 2000
    Haunted drama 2002
    Legacy drama 1998-1999
    Legend western/comedy 1995
    Level 9 drama 2000-2001
    Live Shot drama 1995
    Love Boat: The Next Wave drama 1998-1999
    Marker drama 1995
    Mercy Point drama 1998-1999
    Nowhere Man drama 1995-1996
    Secret Agent Man action 2000
    Special Unit 2 action/comedy 2001-2002
    The Strip action 1999-2000
    Swift Justice drama 1996
    The Twilight Zone anthology/drama 2002-2003
    The Watcher anthology/drama 1995
    Wolf Lake drama 2002
     
  2. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    I know most of the folks over at UPN and they're good people, but the network has problems that are bigger than them. The first you mentioned. They are on about half as much as a real network is. That causes problems with lead-ins and audience retention. Plus, they are treated as the "other network" (read "red headed stepchild) by everybody: audience, advertisers and even their parent companies/ sibling divisions.

    Thus UPN has struggled to find its purpose for living. It has had the most success attracting minority demographics, (where it really is the #1 network) but unfortunately that's not where the huge ad money is. For a long time rather than embrasing that reality, they measured everything against their #1 show which has always been pro wrestling. Of course it's demographics is teens and young adults (where the big ad money is) so they keep trying things in other slots that will appeal to that audience thinking "They were here on thursday... why won't they come here on Tuesday?" with no luck...
     
  3. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    That was very insightful Erik, thanks!

    I am worried though, when you say that the big ad money is in teens and YA's. The ad companies still don't know that that age group is shrinking - so ilke if they made a show for a slightly older age group, the ad companies wouldn't pay/support it as much?

    Glenn
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Maybe pre-UPN and WB. There isn't much left in terms of syndicated original programming nowadays - three or four sci-fi/fantasy shows - precisely because UPN and WB have taken all the prime slots away.

    Not that UPN has helped much - they have always had a quick hook for hour-long shows, in part because they don't realize it took Fox time to establish themselves, and in part because they haven't been able to establish an identity.
     
  5. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    Glenn:

    You are correct, the teen/ young adult demo is "shrinking" relative to the over 65 demo (the fastest growing demo...) HOWEVER... The size of the audience isn't the only factor. The bigger factor is the size of their WALLETS (in other words- disposable income- The Holy Grail of ad dollars). The retiree demo is and always will be handicapped by the "fixed income" factor.

    Likewise, disposable income for the middle aged households with children is hobbled by the skyrocketing costs of childrearing/education.

    The disposable income index is increasingly shifting to young households (with and without young children) and teens (which blows my mind... IMO Teens shouldn't have DISPOSABLE income... but that's just me.)

    Traditionally, ABC went after the teen/young adult market, while NBC went after the young adult/ middle aged demo. For years CBS was targeting the "retiree" market almost exclusively. In the last five years, even CBS has given up that market and have turned their attention towards younger viewers. Fox and the WB have always gone after the teen niche to the exclusion of most other programming.

    The good news is, that UPN seems to finally be embracing the african american middle class, an increasingly important demographic, which I think advertisers will be fighting over in the very near future, and UPN is carving out a nice little niche for itself, that other networks who show up late to the party are going to have a hard time overcoming.
     
  6. Peter Miller

    Peter Miller Agent

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    If you're looking for a good collection of articles written about UPN involving the moves they have made check out:

    http://www.petesmoviepage.com/UPN/

    The articles go back to 1998.
     
  7. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    Another take on why UPN killed this show. It was not ratings but the head of CBS. This is from an SU2 fan site:

    The best we can put together. SU2 was canceled after CBS took over UPN! Evan Katz, (Creator & Executive Producer) said in an interview on the Yahoo SU2 Fan Club that the "new brass" just didn't like the show! They said the show wasen't right for UPN & cost way to much for network! This is very funny, because UPN's own figures show that SU2 was UPN's 3rd highest rated show. It was behind Enterprise & Buffy. When it was found out that SU2 was canceled Katz asked people to write CBS & Paramount. This did no good! Thank you for your question! Please feel free to contact me with any more!
     
  8. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    That's a pretty neat trick, since SU2 wasn't on concurrently with Enterprise and was probably behind Smackdown! as well. And being "UPN's 3rd highest rated show" is sort of damning with faint praise, anyway - that's only third out of about ten and pretty tiny ratings, quite possibly not enough to justify a show with any sort of effects budget.
     
  9. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    Jason,

    Enterprise and SU2 were on for a about 1/2 a season together. Sept.2001 till Feb.2002. And yes I know a #3 show on UPN is like a #90 show on any other channel. But, that is what I am talking about with UPN. Even if a show is popular. I don't think it ever comes in high in the ratings.
     

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