Maybe UPN is the problem?...

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by todd s, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I was reading how poorly Enterprise is doing. And also how critically acclaimed Veronica Mars is not doing well. Now, I am sure Enterprise not being so good for a few years is part of the problem. But, I am thinking it is just UPN also.
    It was reported on www.trektoday.com that starting this fall Enterprise will be syndicated for 90% of the country. Maybe, its time for Enterprise to do what TNG and DS9 did. Air new episodes in syndication.
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    So far UPN has not really managed to figure out how to get a core audience that will follow from one show to another. The cross-advertising for their shows does not work well, IMO.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Veronica Mars' 9 p.m. EST timeslot is a killer (for me, at least):

    House M.D.
    Scrubs/Committed
    The Amazing Race
    One Tree Hill
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Well, being on UPN is a tough break, sure - they've never struck me as particularly competent. But syndication wouldn't be any better - the show would still mainly be on low-power UHF stations, only without a universal prime-time slot that can be advertised nationally.

    What's kind of amazing to me is that when you actually look at the ratings, UPN and WB are pretty much neck-and-neck for the bottom, with roughly similar ratings. WB looks healthier, though, for any number of reasons.
     
  5. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    Ironically, back in the 70's Paramount had been thinking about a fourth network of TV programs with the then-proposed "Star Trek: Phase II" as the cornerstone program of the channel. Then in the mid-90's we got UPN with Voyager as the cornerstone program. Flash forward a few years, and what's the most popular program on UPN? WWE Smackdown, which may or may not return (depending on what you read on the wrestling sites). Now we look at the network, and we have Enterprise continually sinking in the ratings, a good show like Veronica Mars not finding the ratings as well, while other shows such as Girlfriends and Kevin Hill are getting popular.

    The demographics have changed over the last 10 years because UPN's viewing audience has changed, and more shows are geared towards women and/or African-Americans. That's not saying that other people aren't watching ENT or Smackdown or Veronica Hill, they are, but the numbers aren't where they need to be.

    And then again, it's also a matter of keeping the creative energy level at the top of each series going well. We all know the troubled history of ENT, and how Smackdown is being targeted as the more "family friendly" of the two big WWE shows on TV, but keeping things interesting has to start at the top.
     
  6. Paul Sandhu

    Paul Sandhu Supporting Actor

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    They way I thought it was is that UPN isn't available everywhere. When they said air new episodes in syndication what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that new episodes are aired on a different network on a different day but not too long after original airing?

    For example Enterprise airs at 8 PM on Fridays on UPN, then again on UPN on Saturday same time. But then its on SPACE on Sunday at 5 PM. Does that mean its syndicated on SPACE? I know SPACE is owned by CHUM which also owns CITY TV which broadcasts ENT for Canada.
     
  7. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    That's the way it was 10 years ago, when UPN and Voyager first hit the scene. As opposed to direct syndication, as TNG and DS9 did during their runs, VOY first ran on UPN. But as you noted, not all cities carried UPN. For example, it wasn't available in our market until midway through VOY's fifth season, and a lot of it had to do with legal issues surrounding the city council and our local branch of TimeWarner Cable. So what Paramount did was issue VOY to local syndicated markets a few days after its UPN run. It was the same episodes, but different preview trailers for each VOY episode were prepared - one for the UPN market and one for the syndicated market. (It's the latter batch of preview trailers that are up at StarTrek.com, though if you check other web sites you might be able to find the UPN versions of those trailers. But I digress.) And that was the way it was, at least here, through the first four seasons of VOY.

    Then the fifth season came and - nothing. No episodes of VOY at all, not until the 10th or 11th episode. By that time the first talks with the city council and TimeWarner were underway, and telecasts of VOY and other UPN programs were shown on the local WB station. During those last few seasons and into the first season of ENT, much of the UPN programming was being carried on the local WB station. This was at the time that Buffy had made the switch from the WB to UPN, so when Buffy showed up with the UPN logo on the WB station, it was kind of like that show never left the WB to begin with. This was the case with a number of the UPN's shows - VOY, Buffy, and Smackdown!, to name a few prominent ones. ENT was the same way through its first season as well.

    With ENT we have the national feed on Fridays, followed by the follow-up feed on Saturday evenings (the only difference is with the complete end credits at the end of the episode, not the shadowbox crunch thing that networks are so fond of doing in order to squeeze in as many mindless promos of "Top Model" or some other program). As for syndication afterwards, that one's beyond me, to be honest, but it sounds like SPACE in Canada has the same kind of arrangement with UPN that local stations did 10 years ago.
     
  8. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    UPN is barely a network. What have they got?
    6 half-hour sitcoms
    2 hour dramas
    Star Trek
    1 hour reality
    2 hours of wrestling

    There's like three-and-a-half different demographics being targeted there. In contrast, The WB has
    7 hour dramas
    4 half-hour sitcoms
    1 hour reality

    and it's very clearly the "teen" network.
     
  9. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    UPN is a pretty crappy network and having yet another Trek show on their network after the franchise had already run out of steam was not the best idea.
    Regarding Veronica Mars, It may not have the audience because people may misread what it is (like most people did Buffy.)
    The TV columnist of the San Francisco Chronicle always rails on UPN and it deserves it.
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The other thing you have to remember about UPN is that it is pretty much the last stop on the food chain before first-run syndication, and basic cable. Any producer with all his marbles is going to pitch his show to ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox (probably in that order), then to The WB before he gets to UPN. So aside from Paramount produced material that the studio mandates be aired on UPN, the shows are all apt to be things that the other networks didn't want or didn't have room for on their schedules. Nobody who has a choice in the matter starts at UPN. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  11. Paul Sandhu

    Paul Sandhu Supporting Actor

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    I remember in '95 when UPN was only available in my area via the CBS affiliate down Washington way. All it was back then was Star Trek and Saturday Morning Cartoons which the hour or two of that programming was called UP'N, weird isn't it. Does anyone else remember this?
     
  12. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Very interesting, but now I'm thinking with a twist. Seeing as how UPN doesn't exist in some areas, does anyone here know for sure if EVERY Neilson Family can receive UPN?

    I would not be at all surprised to hear that they've never checked on that after UPN dumped a pile of their stations a few years ago.

    Glenn
     
  13. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    I remember that when UPN started in the Seattle area, the station that had been a CBS affilate for as long as I remember became a UPN afflilate, and a previously independent station became the new CBS affiliate. (There was some legal reason that they had to switch, but I don't remember what it was.) After a year or two the two stations switched affiliations, the UPN station became a CBS station again, and the other became the new UPN station.
     
  14. Paul Sandhu

    Paul Sandhu Supporting Actor

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    That is exactly what I remember.... something involving Kiro-7.
     
  15. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Don't forget also that all of the "new" networks - Fox first, then UPN and The WB - all started off with only one or two nights of programming, then gradually increased the number of network hours per week that the affiliates received. One reason that some stations carried both UPN and WB programming was that neither network was offering 7 evenings of primetime programs.

    And no, 100% of Nielsen households don't get UPN and the WB, precisely because 100% of Amerian households don't. (The aim of the Nielsen survey is to accurately model the actual viewing habits and choices of the general population. Limiting the survey to unrepresentative households that get all the networks would distort the results.) The same problem affects cable channels like TNT, A&E and Sci-Fi, which are limited by the fact that not all households have cable and/or satellite, and the further fact that not all cable providers carry all these stations. Again, the demographically weighted Neilsen household mix (which changes periodically) tries to include a mix that allows for the most accruate model possible.

    In any event published ratings for the netlets and cable services are weighted and adjusted to allow for the proportion of U.S. homes that can receive them. Thus a show on TNT that got an absolute rating of 3.3 (about three a third million viewers) might show up in a Nielsen list with a 3.5 rating based on a projection of how the show would have done in markets where it wasn't available.

    And Nielsen is, of necessity, informed of any changes in network affiliation as soon as they happen, as this affects both national and local ratings. Their customers (the advertisers and all those other TV stations and networks) would insist on it. Neilsen doesn't have to check on these things after the fact.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  16. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Good summary Joseph. [​IMG]
     
  17. RyanAn

    RyanAn Screenwriter

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    Well, I do not get UPN, and I really miss not being able to see Enterprise or Smackdown! but that is life. From what I have heard, they really do not give there best shows the timeslot they need and deserve.

    Ryan
     
  18. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    This thread ties in nicely with an article from the Oakland tribune a couple of days ago that basically said that UPN was going to rebrand itself...again...and it would become more serious.

    Speculation was that both Enterprise and Smackdown might not be renewed although Smackdown has a contract until fall 2006, and the threat of removing it may have more to do with the negotiations to keep the other WWE programming in the viacom family of networks when the other contract comes up in September.

    UPN wants to be taken seriously? Good luck on that.
     
  19. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Well, don't get too caught up in the myth of the good timeslot. Such things don't, in fact, exist - with five other networks, pretty much every available primetime hour is either inherently undesirable (Saturday night) or has some strong entrenched competition. I love Veronica Mars, but I'm at a loss as to where to put it - every hour UPN programs has a strong show that appeals to teenagers on some other station. Maybe switching it and Kevin Hill would work (sure, it would be up against Jack & Bobby, but that's holding on for dear life itself), but it also risks destroying what little momentum Kevin Hill has.
     
  20. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Will somebody clarify a matter for me?

    Is Enterprise still going to be produced (that is, new episodes) and, like TNG and DS9, be shown in first-run syndication? Or is it going into rerun mode — that is, the show is being discontinued and the four existing seasons going into syndication?
     

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