CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) - UPN will introduce one new drama and four new comedies to its schedule for the 2003-2004 season, it was announced today by Dawn Ostroff, President, Entertainment, UPN.
UPN�s 2003-2004 primetime schedule is a bold lineup featuring irreverent new comedies and one new drama designed to build from the Network's established comedies and dramas. The five new shows, which run the gamut from contemporary comedy to a fast paced science-fiction thriller, were created as companion pieces for their lead ins, with the goal being to create better flow and build audience from one series to the next.
"We had a very strong development season -- the new shows we are introducing are all bold, fun and adventurous -- and we are confident this year's schedule provides us the right foundation to grow our audience and better define our brand while creating a more seamless audience flow from night to night," said Ostroff. "Our established, signature programming on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all serve as tent-poles for launching new series, which were developed as companion programs for those respective nights."
UPN's new comedies include ALL OF US, a series inspired by the real-life domestic adventures of entertainment superstars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, starring Duane Martin ("Deliver Us From Eva") and Elise Neal ("THE HUGHLEYS"); THE MULLETS, an over-the-top comedy featuring Loni Anderson and John O'Hurley ("Seinfeld"); ROCK ME BABY, starring Dan Cortese as a shock jock whose life is turned upside down after he and his wife welcome a new baby, and THE OPPOSITE SEX, starring Grammy Award-winning Hip Hop sensation Eve.
The new drama is JAKE 2.0, a fast-paced series about a computer technician who possesses super-human powers and becomes a secret agent for the National Security Agency (NSA).
UPN will return seven primetime programs, including THE PARKERS, GIRLFRIENDS, ONE ON ONE, HALF & HALF, ENTERPRISE and WWE SMACKDOWN!, as well as the UPN FRIDAY MOVIE.
UPN's Monday Night hit ONE ON ONE will move to Tuesday at 8:00 PM to anchor a whole new night of comedy.
NEW COMEDIES (all times ET/PT):
THE OPPOSITE SEX (Monday, 8:30-9:00 PM) stars Grammy Award-winning Hip Hop sensation Eve as Shelly, a beautiful and intelligent woman of the new generation trying to navigate the exhilarating world of 21st Century love, sex, romance and career. Strong and confident, Shelly brings a fresh attitude to the male/female equation and coolly expects to receive just as much as she gives. Ali Landry ("Spy TV") stars as Rita and Natalie Desselle ("For Your Love") stars as Janie, Shelly�s two best friends, who offer conflicting advice as Shelly tries to find her way on the rocky road to love. Also advising Shelly is their ultra-hip and handsome friend, Donovan (Eddie McClintock, "Stark Raving Mad"), who seems to know all the right people and places to go. Representing the male side of the relationship equation is J.T. (Bumper Robinson, "Sabrina The Teenage Witch"), a handsome, regular kind of guy who really enjoys being single. Then there�s his best pal, Nick (Brian Hooks, "The Chatroom"), who is looking for that one perfect woman who can meet his very exacting standards. THE OPPOSITE SEX examines a real and relatable male/female relationship from each side in an innovative, witty and amorous look at the battles of the sexes. THE OPPOSITE SEX is a production of The Greenblatt Janollari Studio in association with Warner Bros. Television. Robert Greenblatt and David Janollari (UPN�s PLATINUM, ONE ON ONE and "Six Feet Under") are executive producers. Meg DeLoatch (UPN�s ONE ON ONE) is the co-executive producer and the writer.
ALL OF US (Tuesday, 8:30-9:00 PM) is inspired by the domestic adventures of entertainment superstars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and reflects a new generation�s enlightened attitude toward the extended family dynamic with humor, sensitivity and heart. Duane Martin ("Deliver Us From Eva") stars as Robert James, an entertainment reporter for a local Los Angeles television station whose best friend is also his publicist, the three-time divorced Dirk (Tony Rock, "The Chris Rock Show"). Robert is handsome, smart and a thoroughly modern man in his thinking -- as he should be considering his romantic and parental entanglements. On the verge of finalizing his divorce from the somewhat self-absorbed Neesee (LisaRaye, "Envy"), the mother of their endearing five-year-old son, Bobby, Jr. (Khamani Griffin, "Daddy Day Care"), Robert is madly in love with Tia (Elise Neal, UPN�s THE HUGHLEYS), a funny, clever kindergarten teacher. This humorous and heartwarming comedy is a fresh, timely look at the new, compassionate attitude of many young parents and how divorced parents raise their children together. ALL OF US is an Overbrook Entertainment production in association with Warner Bros. Television Productions. Executive producers are Will Smith ("Men In Black II"), Jada Pinkett Smith ("The Matrix Reloaded"), James Lassiter ("Ali") and Betsy Borns ("Friends"). Borns is also the writer.
ROCK ME BABY (Tuesday, 9:00-9:30 PM) is a fun, irreverent look at relationships and parenthood as seen through the eyes of Jimmy (Dan Cortese, �Veronica�s Closet�), a hip, flagrant shock jock. Jimmy, who lives for the adrenaline rush he gets from his outrageous behavior, discovers his life is turned upside down when he and his mostly understanding wife welcome a new baby. Jimmy, the proudly provocative morning radio show DJ, had been on a roll, pushing the outside of the envelope of irreverence. Barely slowed down by his marriage to the cute and funny Beth (Bianca Kajlich, �Halloween: Resurrection�), he is thrown abruptly into reverse when his bouncing baby boy, Otis, arrives. The on-air party animal has a dilemma: if he makes fun of his home life he gets in to trouble with Beth. If he talks about how warm and fuzzy he feels being a new dad, he gets in to trouble with Carl (Carl Anthony Payne, �Martin�), his partner, and Boyle (Joey Slotnick, �Alias�), his boss, both of whom worry about ratings. As Jimmy settles in, perhaps a little uneasily, to his new responsibilities as a parent, expect him to confidently uphold his wild man status with plenty of energy left over for his goofy but genuine love for Beth, baby Otis and their eccentric friends. ROCK ME BABY is a Flame Entertainment production in association with Warner Bros. Television. The executive producers are Tony Krantz (�24�) and Bob Myer (�Cybill�); the co-executive producer and writer is Tim Kelleher (�Off Centre�).
THE MULLETS (Tuesday, 9:30-10:00 PM) are brothers and blue-collar, wrestling-loving, light-hearted, optimistic guys who don the hairstyle that bears their surname ("business in the front, party in the back"). The 20-something brothers, who sport identical mullet haircuts, are actually a study in contrast. Dwayne Mullet (Michael Weaver, "Super Troopers") has a loud, in-your-face demeanor while Denny Mullet (David Hornsby, "Six Feet Under") is a quieter, more thoughtful, easygoing guy. Their mother, Mandi Mullet-Heidecker (Loni Anderson, "WKRP in Cincinnati"), a warm maternal type who couldn�t be more proud of her offspring no matter what they do, recently married Roger Heidecker (John O�Hurley, "Seinfeld�), a clean-cut, game show host who is the polar opposite of her boys and her former life. The siblings live life to the fullest while dreaming of bigger and better futures, although their fantasies are out of step with their reality. THE MULLETS is produced by The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television Production Inc. Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum are executive producers, and Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein ("The Simpsons," "Futurama") are executive producers/writers.
JAKE 2.0 (Wednesday, 9:00-10:00 PM) stars Christopher Gorham ("Felicity") as Jake Foley, a computer technician who is transformed into a secret agent for the National Security Agency (NSA) after he is accidentally infected with nanites based on the real life, beyond-state-of-the-art nanotechnology that reduces the size of a computer to the molecular level. Upon the discovery of his new mind-boggling powers, he begins to operate at an atomic level -- possessing superhuman strength, lightning-fast speed, heightened hearing, magnified vision and the telepathic abilities to communicate with computers. The NSA soon realizes he is an untested asset and forms a Special Ops team with him at its core. JAKE 2.0 also features Jake�s love interest, Congressional staffer Sarah Heywood (Marina Black, "Six Feet Under"); Jake�s roommate Darin (Matt Czuchry, "Young Americans"); senior agent Kyle Duarte (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez); senior agent Louise Beckett (Judith Scott, "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation"), and research doctor Diane Hughes (Keegan Connor Tracy, "Final Destination 2"). JAKE 2.0 is produced by Roundtable Entertainment in association with Viacom Productions, Inc. Executive producers are Gina Matthews ("What Women Want"), Grant Scharbo ("Deep Core") and Silvio Horta ("The Chronicle").
RETURNING SERIES (all times ET/PT):
THE PARKERS (Monday, 8:00-8:30 PM), featuring the outrageous mother-daughter team of Nikki (Mo�Nique) and Kim Parker (Countess Vaughn), enters its fifth season on UPN. There is never a dull moment between the dynamic duo of outspoken, outlandish, yet amusing and charming Nikki Parker and her hip, young, albeit not-too-bright daughter, Kim. While Nikki is still chasing after the Professor, Kim decides to move across country to be with her one great love.
GIRLFRIENDS (Monday, 9:00-9:30 PM) features an open, honest exploration of hot-button issues with Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross), Maya (Golden Brooks), Toni (Jill Marie Jones), Lynn (Persia White) and their honorary girlfriend, William (Reggie Hayes). As the show enters its fourth season on UPN, the comedy explores both adventures and issues facing women today. From lighter subjects, including bad botox treatments and botched dates, to serious issues of HIV awareness and struggles with relationships and careers, television�s favorite group of girlfriends treats them all with tenderness and respect.
HALF & HALF (Monday, 9:30-10:00 PM) features 20-something half-sisters Mona (Rachel True) and Dee Dee (Essence Atkins) who have only one thing in common -- their father. As the show enters its second season, Mona and Dee Dee�s sibling journey takes a sudden turn when Big Dee Dee makes a surprising announcement that will completely undo Dee Dee�s world. Meanwhile, Mona will attempt to make sense of her relationship with Spencer, and Dee Dee, fresh from her break-up with her boyfriend, begins serial dating, leading to serious soul searching.
ONE ON ONE (Tuesday, 8:00-8:30 PM) enters its third season with the dynamic dad and daughter duo of sportscaster Flex Washington (Flex Alexander) and 16-year old Breanna Barnes (Kyla Pratt). Breanna celebrates life as a teen while Flex focuses on strengthening the familial bond as he learns to balance parenthood and friendship. Last season, single dad and former bachelor Flex unexpectedly found himself in a committed relationship and took a leap of faith when he proposed to his girlfriend. Also, his childhood friend Duane (Kelly Perine) moved in next door to stir things up. Meanwhile, Breanna survived her first schoolgirl love triangle and settled down with Arnaz (Robert Ri�chard). Next season, Breanna will face bigger teen issues with her partner in everything mischievous, Spirit (Sicily).
ENTERPRISE (Wednesday, 8:00-9:00 PM) heads in a bold new direction in its third season, as intrepid Capt. Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) and his crew embark on a perilous mission to the far reaches of the galaxy seeking out a deadly force that threatens to wipe out all of humanity. Combining science fiction, action-adventure and compelling stories of bravery and heroism, ENTERPRISE, the latest series in the successful "Star Trek" franchise, remains true to the spirit of one of popular culture's most formidable brands.
WWE SMACKDOWN! (Thursday, 8:00-10:00 PM) returns triumphantly for its fifth season on UPN, maintaining its domination as the most watched television show by male teens on Thursday nights, the most competitive night on television. Continuing to push the outside of the envelope for action and drama on network television, this inimitable, two-hour extravaganza offers non-stop entertainment with WWE�s best and most admired Superstars -- Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Playboy covergirl Torrie Wilson and Rey Mysterio. Combining titanic wrestling battles, bombastic drama and over-the-top humor, SMACKDOWN! continues its reign as television�s foremost spectacle. Broadcasting all-original episodes 52 weeks a year, WWE SMACKDOWN!, UPN�s most watched show, will continue to rule the airwaves with a loyal and enthusiastic audience of young men and women.
UPN MOVIE FRIDAY NIGHT (Friday, 8:00-10:00 PM) presents a new season of classic big-screen hits featuring some of today�s hottest stars, including Wesley Snipes, Orlando Jones, Eddie Griffin, Steve Martin, LL Cool J, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron, Winona Ryder, Cedric the Entertainer, Jackie Chan, Ben Affleck, Geoffrey Rush, Mario Van Peebles, Stephen Baldwin, Blair Underwood, Natasha Henstridge, Pierce Brosnan and Helena Bonham Carter. Next season, UPN is home to the network television premieres of "Ready To Rumble," �Driven," "Angel Eyes," "The Tailor of Panama," "Novocaine," "Double Take," "Kingdom Come," "Phantoms," "Species 2," "The Astronaut�s Wife" and "Lost Souls." Some of UPN�s other big feature films on tap include "Blade," "Posse," "Operation Condor" and "Lost & Found." For first-rate films with A-level movie stars that friends and family can enjoy together, viewers tune to UPN MOVIE FRIDAY.
Following is the 2003-2004 UPN primetime schedule:
UPN 2003-2004 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
(N=New; NT=New Time; all times ET/PT)
8:00-8:30 PM - THE PARKERS
8:30-9:00 PM - OPPOSITE SEX (N)
9:00-9:30 PM - GIRLFRIENDS
9:30-10:00 PM - HALF & HALF
8:00-8:30 PM - ONE ON ONE (NT)
8:30-9:00 PM - ALL OF US (N)
9:00-9:30 PM - ROCK ME BABY (N)
9:30-10:00 PM - MULLETS (N)
8:00-9:00 PM - ENTERPRISE
9:00-10:00 PM - JAKE 2.0 (N)
8:00-10:00 PM - WWE SMACKDOWN!
8:00-10:00 PM - UPN MOVIE FRIDAY
The above is taken from UPN's press release concerning its upfront presentation.