[05/20/04 - 12:00 AM]
2004 Broadcast Upfront Presentations: Upn, Part 1
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)


Taye Diggs to Star as a Hot Shot, Single Lawyer Who Unexpectedly Inherits a Baby, in "Kevin Hill"

Real-Life Pair Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Parker to Star as a Couple Newly Remarried to Each Other, in "Second Time Around"

"Veronica Mars," from Hollywood Producer Joel Silver ("The Matrix," "Lethal Weapon") and Starring Breakout Talent Kristen Bell, to Highlight UPN Tuesday

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- UPN will introduce two new dramas and one new comedy to its schedule for the 2004-2005 season, it was announced today by Dawn Ostroff, President, Entertainment, UPN.

UPN�s 2004-2005 primetime schedule features one new comedy and two new dramas designed to build on the Network's established lineup. Last year, AMERICA�S NEXT TOP MODEL brought millions of new young viewers to UPN. This season's line-up is designed to sustain the Network's momentum among young adults, establish additional signature nights and stars, and deliver audience growth throughout the week.

UPN's new comedy SECOND TIME AROUND stars real-life couple Boris Kodjoe ("Soul Food") and Nicole Parker ("Soul Food") as Jackson Muse, a handsome, earnest architect, and Ryan Muse, a beautiful, free-spirited artist, who are enjoying a more romantic, fun-filled second marriage to each other.

UPN�s new dramas include: KEVIN HILL, which stars Taye Diggs ("Chicago") as a 28-year-old, self-made, hotshot entertainment lawyer in New York City with the ultimate bachelor life, whose whole world turns upside down when he's left to raise the six-month-old daughter of his cousin, who unexpectedly passed away; and VERONICA MARS, which stars Kristen Bell ("Everwood") as a smart, fearless 17-year-old, apprentice private investigator dedicated to solving her town's toughest mysteries.


AMERICA�S NEXT TOP MODEL, which proved in its first two cycles to be the most successful series in UPN�s history with young adults, will move to a new night this Fall to Wednesday at 8:00 PM. Just as CBS used "Survivor" to successfully launch "CSI" and its Thursday night schedule, UPN is using its reality sensation AMERICA�S NEXT TOP MODEL to build a strong Wednesday night featuring TOP MODEL at 8:00 PM, followed at 9:00 PM by KEVIN HILL, UPN�s new signature drama series, starring film and Broadway actor Taye Diggs. In addition, an encore performance of AMERICA�S NEXT TOP MODEL, featuring new footage not included in its original Wednesday episode, will be broadcast on Friday at 8:00 PM.

UPN's established hit comedy ONE ON ONE, which was the Network�s highest-rated comedy in its previous Monday timeslot, will kick off the night at 8:00 PM, followed at 8:30 PM by HALF AND HALF, which has shown growth in key demos this past season. GIRLFRIENDS will anchor UPN�s 9:00 PM hour, serving as a compatible lead-in to the new romantic comedy SECOND TIME AROUND.

The Network�s hit freshman comedies ALL OF US, inspired by the real life domestic adventures of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, will move to Tuesday at 8:00 PM and EVE, starring the Grammy award-winning artist, will move to Tuesday at 8:30 PM. EVE�s young female viewers will continue with UPN into the 9:00 PM hour with the new drama VERONICA MARS.

UPN has already announced THE MISSY ELLIOTT PROJECT (working title) a new reality series by Grammy award-winning hip-hop sensation, which will air on the Network in between UPN�s two cycles of its top-rated series, AMERICA�S NEXT TOP MODEL. The dramality series will send thirteen aspiring performers on a coast-to-coast concert tour with Grammy Award-winning artist Missy Elliott, where they will live together on the road in a tour bus and compete against each other for the opportunity to become the next big hip-hop star.

UPN will also broadcast the annual VIBE AWARDS special this November, a two-hour special event presented by Vibe magazine and UPN that celebrates innovation, cutting-edge presentation and genre-expanding work in urban music. The show will again feature chart-topping, contemporary musical performances and special celebrity appearances from the worlds of film, television, sports, fashion and music.

NEW COMEDY (all times ET/PT):

SECOND TIME AROUND (Working Title) (Monday, 9:30-10:00) stars real-life couple Boris Kodjoe ("Soul Food") and Nicole Parker ("Soul Food") as Jackson Muse, a handsome, earnest architect, and Ryan Muse, a beautiful, free-spirited artist, who are enjoying a more romantic, fun-filled second marriage to each other. Several adventurous years after their young first marriage ended, the lovers unexpectedly reunited and couldn't resist giving it another heartfelt go. Now, even with old stuff, new stuff and the stuff in between, the Muses are striving for wedded bliss a second time around. Determined to bring a newfound maturity to matrimony, Jackson and Ryan frequently find themselves in funny, awkward situations when old lovers, old arguments and old division of property issues surface. Even after another smooth, successful engagement and wedding, all of the couple's family and friends continue to dispense varied opinions and marriage advice. Jackson's younger brother Nigel (Brian White, "The Shield"), a dentist whose practice scarcely covers his lavish lifestyle, and his snobbish fianc� Paula (Danielle Nicolet, "3rd Rock from the Sun") are convinced that the twice-baked pair need to join their couples' therapy group. Ryan's gorgeous, spirited best friend Coco (Melissa De Sousa, "Miss Congeniality"), certain that "leftovers shouldn't be reheated," believes the marriage is a mistake. With a sense of humor and romance, Jackson and Ryan Muse are ready to clip around the thorny past and surrounding skeptics if it finally means a rosy future together. SECOND TIME AROUND is a production of Regan Jon Inc. and C to the B Productions in association with Paramount Network Television. Ralph R. Farquhar and Claude Brooks are executive producers. Michelle Listenbee-Brown is co-executive producer.


VERONICA MARS (Tuesdays, 9:00-10:00 PM) is set in the wealthy, seaside community of Neptune, where the rich and powerful make the rules, own the town and the high school, and desperately try to keep their dirty little secrets just that�secret. Unfortunately for them, there's Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell, "Everwood"), a smart, fearless 17-year-old, apprentice private investigator dedicated to solving the town's toughest mysteries. During the day, Veronica must still negotiate high school like any average teenage girl. Along with fellow outcast, sophomore Wallace Fennel (Percy Daggs III, "The Guardian"), she bravely maneuvers her classes, wary of former in-crowd friends, like ex-boyfriend Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn, "The Manchurian Candidate") and his best friend Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring, "Judging Amy"), and edgy outsiders, like Weevil (Francis Capra, "CSI") and his P.C.H. Bike Club boys. At night, Veronica looks after her former-Sheriff father Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni, "Just Shoot Me") and helps with his struggling, new private investigator business. By sneaking through back alleys and scoping out no-tell motels with a telescopic-lens camera and her math book, Veronica attempts to uncover the California beach town's darkest secrets, including who killed her best friend and Duncan's sister, Lilly, and created a scandal that cost her father his job, his home and wife. Pushed to the edge of this multicultural, venomous little Peyton Place, Veronica Mars relentlessly continues to search for evidence that will clear her father's name and get her back into the "in-crowd," but what she finds may tear the town of Neptune apart at the seams. VERONICA MARS is a production of Stu Seagall Productions, Inc. and Silver Pictures Television in association with Warner Bros. Television Production, Inc. Joel Silver and creator Rob Thomas are executive producers.

KEVIN HILL (Wednesdays, 9:00-10:00 PM) stars Taye Diggs ("Chicago") as a 28-year-old, self-made, hotshot entertainment lawyer in New York City with the ultimate bachelor life -- a high-power job, plenty of pretty ladies and enough money to buy whatever he wants. Through all of his exploits, he is joined by his two buddies, the charming and witty Dame (Jon Seda, "Bad Boys II"). But, Kevin�s whole life turns upside down when he's left to raise the six-month-old daughter of his cousin, who unexpectedly passed away. After figuring out how to deal with bottles, diapers and his new no-nonsense, gay nanny George (Patrick Breen, "Radio"), Kevin quits his workaholic law firm for a flex-time, boutique law office, Grey & Associates, owned and staffed completely by women. Kevin must adjust his attitude when dealing with his new co-workers, who include Jessie Grey (Michael Michele, "ER"), a professional single mom and boss; Nicolette Raye (Christina Hendricks, "Presidio Med"), the office's most underestimated legal weapon; and Veronica Carter (Kate Levering, "Law & Order: SVU"), a whip-smart diva, who previously had a one-night stand with Kevin. Despite continuing temptation from his party buddies, Kevin is determined to walk the line between the women at his job, the women that he chases, and the baby girl in the crib. KEVIN HILL is a production of Icon Productions in association with Touchstone Television. Bruce Davey and Alex Taub are executive producers and Jorge A. Reyes is co-executive producer.


THE MISSY ELLIOTT PROJECT (Working Title) (Midseason) is a new dramality series that will send thirteen aspiring performers coast-to-coast on tour with Grammy Award-winning artist Missy Elliott, where they will live together on the road in a tour bus and compete against each other for the opportunity to become the next big hip-hop star. Just like Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott, herself, the next big superstar could spring from a variety of backgrounds, but what they will have in common is amazing talent, distinctive style and fresh attitude. The series will feature everyday young singers and rappers as they transform into multi-talented hip-hop entertainers, in the process facing weekly tests that determine who can make the cut. Under 24-hour-a-day surveillance by cameras, the selected group will be challenged in a variety of ways while on the road, and with Missy's guidance, be exposed to top music industry insiders. With the help of a panel of industry experts, Missy will eliminate one performer each episode until only one is left standing. Then, Missy plans to help launch the winner's career, signing them to a deal with her record label. THE MISSY ELLIOTT PROJECT (working title) is a production of Shapiro/Grodner Productions in association with Monami, Inc. Arnold Shapiro ("Big Brother"), Allison Grodner ("Big Brother"), Mona Scott, Jay Blumenfield and Anthony Marsh are executive producers. Missy Elliott is a co-executive producer.


VIBE AWARDS (November) is a two-hour special event presented by Vibe magazine and UPN that celebrates innovation, cutting-edge presentation and genre-expanding work in urban music, to be broadcast this Fall on UPN. The show will again feature chart-topping, contemporary musical performances and special celebrity appearances from the worlds of film, television, sports, fashion and music. Setting new Friday night ratings records for UPN in key demos, last year's VIBE AWARDS earned UPN a first or second place finish on the night with persons 12-34, females 12-34, young men and teens. VIBE AWARDS is a production of Vibe Magazine, Flavor Unit Productions and White Cherry Entertainment. Kenard Gibbs, Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere are executive producers. Ricky Kirschner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry are producers. Emil Wilbekin is creative executive producer.


ONE ON ONE (Monday, 8:00-8:30 PM) enters its fourth season with the dynamic dad and daughter duo of sportscaster Flex Washington (Flex Alexander) and 17-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. Flex�s best friend and Breanna�s godfather, Duane (Kelly Perine) now lives next door and continues to stir things up. Keeping Breanna busy is her best friend, Sicily, with whom she creates a lot of mischief, while her best guy-friend, Arnaz, is the object of her on-again, off-again schoolgirl crush. Last season ended with the family in turmoil as Flex gets his wish when his sports show, the "Flex Files," goes into national syndication, but must deal with the fact that a grown-up Breanna has run away to New York to follow Arnaz and pursue her dream of becoming an actress.

HALF & HALF (Monday, 8:30-9:00 PM) enters its third season focusing on twenty-something half-sisters Mona (Rachel True, "The Craft") and Dee Dee (Essence Atkins, "Deliver Us from Ava") who had only one thing in common when they met -- their father. Growing up separately, these two virtual strangers suddenly became neighbors in the same San Francisco apartment building and experienced the challenges of sisterhood for the first time. Now that they have grown closer, Mona and Dee Dee realize they share more similarities than first thought. Mona, a record company executive, was raised by her single mother, Phyllis (Telma Hopkins, "Family Matters"), to be an independent woman who does things in her own free-spirited and sometimes sardonic style. By contrast, younger sister Dee Dee grew up privileged in a two-parent home, attends law school, but still searches for her own identity out of the shadow of her overbearing mother, Big Dee Dee (Valarie Pettiford, "One Life To Live"). The half-sisters have learned to lean on each other for support when it comes to relationships, career choices and how to handle their mothers. Meanwhile, Mona and her best friend and colleague Spencer (Chico Benymon, R&B group "Tra-Knox") realized that they are more than just friends after a passionate kiss last season. Office pal Adam Benet (Alec Mapa, "Connie and Carla") also continues to spice things up in the record company with his humorous gossip. HALF & HALF is a production of Sister Lee Productions, Inc. in association with Eye Productions Inc. Yvette Lee Bowser ("A Different World," "Living Single" and "For Your Love") is executive producer. Jeffrey Klarik ("Mad About You") created the series.

GIRLFRIENDS (Monday, 9:00-9:30 PM) returns to its triumphant fifth year as the number-one series among African-American adults 18-34. The comedy continues to provide an open, honest exploration of the hot-button issues about family, friends, relationships and life facing women today. With fearlessness and sincerity, the show takes on universal issues that appeal to all women. Whether it's embarking on a new career move, reclaiming your independence after a divorce or learning about yourself within relationships with men, GIRLFRIENDS treats them all with tenderness, care and respect. GIRLFRIENDS stars Tracee Ellis Ross ("Hanging Up") as Joan Clayton, Golden Brooks ("Linc's Place") as Maya Wilkes, Persia White as Lynn Searcy, Jill Marie Jones as Toni Childs and Reggie Hayes ("Getting Personal") as William Dent. Mara Brock Akil ("Moesha," "The Jamie Foxx Show") created the series and serves as executive producer along with Kelsey Grammer. Mark Alton Brown and Dee LaDuke serve as consulting producers. GIRLFRIENDS is a production of Happy Camper Productions and Grammnet Productions in association with Paramount Network Television.

ALL OF US (Tuesday, 8:00-8:30 PM), the successful series inspired by the domestic adventures of entertainment superstars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, returns for a sophomore season to reflect a new generation's enlightened attitude toward the extended family dynamic with humor, sensitivity and heart. Robert James (Duane Martin, "Out All Night") is an entertainment reporter for a local Los Angeles television station, who is handsome, smart and thoroughly modern in his thinking -- as he should be, considering his romantic and parental entanglements. Divorced from the somewhat self-absorbed Neesee (LisaRaye, "The Players Club"), mother of their endearing five-year-old son, Bobby, Jr. (Khamani Griffin, "Daddy Day Care"), Robert is set to wed Tia (Elise Neal, UPN�s "The Hughleys") a clever kindergarten teacher -- if she can accept Neesee as an ongoing part of her life with Robert. Providing friendship and varying degrees of support and advice is Dirk (Tony Rock, "The Chris Rock Show"), Robert's best friend and producer, who recently embarked on a new passionate fling with Jonelle (Terri J. Vaughn, "The Steve Harvey Show"), Tia�s best friend and colleague. ALL OF US is a production of Overbrook Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television. The executive producers are Will Smith ("Men In Black II"), Jada Pinkett Smith ("The Matrix Reloaded"), James Lassiter ("Ali") and Betsy Borns ("Friends"). Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Betsy Borns are also creators.

EVE (Tuesday, 8:30-9:00 PM), starring Grammy Award-winning hip-hop sensation Eve ("Barbershop"), returns for a second season of her eponymous hit series as Shelly, a beautiful and intelligent woman of the new generation trying to navigate love, romance and career. Strong and confident, Shelly brings a fresh attitude to the male/female equation. Her two best friends, Rita (Ali Landry, "Spy TV"), a gorgeous, single former model, and Janie (Natalie Desselle-Reid, "For Your Love"), an attractive woman very happy to be married and out of the dating scene, offer conflicting advice as Shelly tries to find her way on the rocky road to love. Representing the male side of the relationship equation is J.T. (Jason George, "Barbershop," UPN's "Platinum"), a handsome, regular kind of guy who really enjoys being single, and his best pal, Nick (Brian Hooks, "Bulworth"), who is looking for that one perfect woman who can meet his very exacting standards. Meanwhile, Donovan (Sean Maguire, "Off Centre"), the handsome, fashionable manager of Z Lounge, one of Miami�s hottest clubs, is friends with everyone and inevitably gets stuck in the middle when problems arise. Last season, Shelly comically ended her 10-month dating dry spell by catching her self-designed DivaStyle couture dress on J.T.'s zipper, but that wasn't the only catch in the relationship. In fact, as this season opens, Shelly finds herself walking away from love after J.T. admits to her that he thinks she might not be the marrying type. Meanwhile, the others are finding themselves much luckier in love, including a surprising new pairing between Donovan and Rita. Robert Greenblatt and David Janollari (UPN's ONE ON ONE, "Platinum" and "Six Feet Under") are executive producers. Meg DeLoatch (UPN's ONE ON ONE) is the creator, co-executive producer and the writer. Eve, Troy Carter and Dave Duclon are co-executive producers. EVE is a production of The Greenblatt Janollari Studio in association with Warner Bros. Television Production Inc.

AMERICA�S NEXT TOP MODEL (Wednesday, 8:00-9:00 PM) is UPN�s hit dramality series that features Tyra Banks and gives real people an opportunity to prove that they can make it in the high-stress, high-stakes world of supermodeling. The series follows a group of young women with various backgrounds, shapes and sizes, who live together in one loft and vie for a modeling contract. The dramality exposes the transformation of everyday young women into potentially fierce supermodels, as they face weekly tests that determine who can make the cut. With mentoring by supermodel Tyra Banks and exposure to high-profile fashion-industry gurus, the finalists compete in a highly accelerated modeling boot camp, a crash course to supermodel fame. Participants are asked to demonstrate both inner and outer beauty as they learn to master complicated cat walks, intense physical fitness, fashion photo shoots and perfect publicity skills, all under 24-hour-a-day surveillance of the AMERICA�S NEXT TOP MODEL cameras that chronicle every move. Banks leads the panel of AMERICA�S NEXT TOP MODEL judges, which have included high-fashion photographers, top models, magazine editors, renowned make-up artists, stylists and designers. In addition, special guest judges appear to critique within their area of expertise. AMERICA�S NEXT TOP MODEL is produced by 10 by 10 Entertainment in association with Ty Ty Baby Productions. The dramality was created by Tyra Banks and developed by Mok and Kenya Barris. The executive producers are Ken Mok ("Making the Band") and Banks.

WWE SMACKDOWN! (Thursday, 8:00-10:00 PM) is the most-watched TV show by male teens on Thursdays, the most competitive night in television. Right from the start, World Wrestling Entertainment's action-packed event has delivered all-new, all-spectacular shows and specials every week, year-round on UPN. This unique, bigger-than-life, two-hour saga has ratcheted up the drama and intensified the classic rivalries in the recent WWE draft by securing for WWE SMACKDOWN! the talents of its most famous and beloved superstars, including WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero, Undertaker, General Manager Kurt Angle and Torrie Wilson, as well as John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Booker T, The Dudley Boyz, Rob Van Dam and Big Show, among many others. Together with a recurring cast of inimitable WWE brand stars, they put on an astonishing display of athleticism combined with riveting dramatic and comedic storylines. WWE SMACKDOWN! has been -- and will continue to be -- appointment viewing for millions of young men and women. The executive producer is Kevin Dunn. Taped before frenzied crowds all over the United States, the series is a production of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE (Friday, 9:00-10:00 PM), the latest in the "Star Trek" franchise, is now entering its fourth season. A prequel to the original "Star Trek" series, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE takes place during the early pioneering days of deep space exploration when interstellar travel is in its infancy and 100 years before Capt. James T. Kirk takes the helm of the famous starship. As the season opened, a mysterious and deadly race of aliens called the Xindi had attacked Earth, killing millions of people. Having discovered that their next planned attack will completely destroy Earth, Capt. Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) and the crew set out on a gripping new mission to track down and put an end to these enemy aliens. With the fate of the planet in their hands, the crew faced strange new life forms, dangerous unexplored regions of space and difficult moral questions. In addition to being more action packed with spectacular special effects, this new season will take STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE into further uncharted territory, while advancing last season's critically acclaimed storylines, including Vulcan Sub Commander T'Pol's (Jolene Blalock) blossoming relationship with Chief Engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker III (Connor Trinneer) and mysterious twists in the familiar timeline. The series also stars John Billingsley as Dr. Phlox, Dominic Keating as Lt. Malcolm Reed, Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather and Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga are creators/executive producers. STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE is a production of Paramount Network Television.

Following is the 2003-2004 UPN primetime schedule:


8:00-8:30 PM ONE ON ONE
8:30-9:00 PM HALF AND HALF

8:00-8:30 PM ALL OF US
8:30-9:00 PM EVE

9:00-10:00 PM KEVIN HILL

8:00-10:00 PM WWE SMACKDOWN!


  [may 2004]  

· ER (NBC)

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