Saturday, May 21, 2005

Fall Lineup Frenzy: UPN

Ah, UPN. The network that Aaron McGruder of The Boondocks loves to hate. The network best known for black shows, wrestling, giving Britney Spears and Kevin Federline a reality show (unfortunately) and formerly, Enterprise. Let's take a look at their schedule. (Info from The Futon Critic more specificially at this link.)


8:00-8:30 PM ONE ON ONE
8:30-9:00 PM ALL OF US
9:30-10:00 PM HALF & HALF

My Thoughts: The trusty Monday night lineup gets tweaked again. I think this lineup works. One on One is goofy but not really that bad. All Of Us is a show that has gotten better since its debut. Girlfriends is going through a little slump (Joan with a restaurant?) but isn't that bad. Half & Half is actually one of the better shows on UPN.


9:00-10:00 PM SEX, LIES & SECRETS (New Series)

SEX, LIES & SECRETS (Tuesday, 9:00-10:00 PM), set in the small, hip neighborhood of Silver Lake, on the outskirts of Hollywood, is a fresh, edgy new drama that explores the intimate and often complex relationships of a tight-knit group of friends finding out who they are and what they want in life. These twenty-somethings have become a family sharing everything, but as in any family, the need to protect each other can often compel these friends to keep secrets that sometimes do more harm than good. The new drama stars Denise Richards ("Scary Movie 3") as Jolene, Eric Balfour ("Six Feet Under") as Charlie, Lauren German ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre") as Rose, Omar Miller ("Shall We Dance") as Coop, Tamara Taylor ("Diary of a Mad Black Woman") as Nina, and James Stevenson ("Hope and Faith") as Hank. SEX, LIES & SECRETS is produced by Axelrod/Edwards Company in association with Paramount Network Television. Jonathan Axelrod, Kelly Edwards and Daniel Cerone ("Clubhouse") are executive producers. Michael Gans & Richard Register ("Celebrity Deathmatch") are co-executive producers and writers.

My Thoughts: Quite simply, I don't see Sex, Lies, & Secrets lasting long. It might last a season (like Kevin Hill did) but it won't last any longer than that. The name of the show is uninspired as is this premise. Taye Diggs couldn't save Kevin Hill from cancellation and Denise Richards won't be able to save this show either. It will only stay on if people really are starved for an old-school primetime soap as UPN thinks they are.


8:00-8:30 PM EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (New Series)
8:30-9:00 PM EVE
9:00-9:30 PM CUTS
9:30-10:00 PM LOVE, INC. (New Series)

EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (Thursday, 8:00-8:30 PM) is inspired by the childhood experiences of comedian Chris Rock, who narrates the hilarious, touching story of a teenager growing up as the eldest of three children in Brooklyn, New York during the early 1980's. Uprooted to a new neighborhood and bused to a predominantly white middle school two-hours away by his strict, hard-working parents, Chris struggles to find his place while keeping his siblings in line at home and surmounting the challenges of junior high. This responsible, resilient adolescent brings a distinct, funny spin to his everyday trials and traumas. The single-camera comedy series stars Tichina Arnold ("Big Momma's House") as Rochelle, Terry Crews ("White Chicks") as Julius, Tyler Williams as Chris, Tequan Richmond ("Ray") as Drew, Imani Hakim as Tonya, and Vincent Martella ("Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo") as Greg. EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS is a production of Chris Rock Enterprises, Inc. in association with Paramount Network Television. Chris Rock ("Head of State"), Ali LeRoi ("Head of State"), Howard Gewirtz ("Oliver Beene"), Michael Rotenberg ("The Chris Rock Show") and Dave Becky ("The Hugleys") are executive producers.

LOVE, INC. (Thursday, 9:30-10:00 PM) follows Denise Johnson, an energetic, pragmatic young woman who takes pride in her success as a full-service dating consultant. As the female version of a "wingman," this savvy matchmaker and her quirky co-workers help lovelorn single men, and even women, present the best image possible to just the right prospects. Skilled at helping her clients find their seemingly unattainable soulmates, Denise continues to grapple with her inability to find one herself. The series stars Shannen Doherty ("Charmed") as Denise, Reagan Gomez-Preston ("Beauty Shop") as Francine, Vince Vieluf ("Grind") as Barry, Ion Overman ("General Hospital") as Viviana, and Holly Robinson Peete ("For Your Love") as Clea. LOVE, INC. is a production of Chase TV, The Littlefield Company and Burg/Koules in association with Paramount Network Television. Adam Chase ("Friends"), Warren Littlefield ("Keen Eddie") and Mark Burg & Oren Koules ("Two and a Half Men") are executive producers. Writer Andrew Secunda ("Late Night with Conan O'Brien") is a co-executive producer.

My Thoughts: A new comedy block on Thursdays, hmm? That's another competitor to an already busy night. I'm looking forward to Everybody Hates Chris. I hope it's actually funny. Chris Rock is hit or miss when it comes to stuff that isn't stand-up comedy. I don't see Love, Inc. lasting very long. The premise sounds bad.


8:00-10:00 PM WWE SMACKDOWN!

My Thoughts: Given that next season is the last season of the WWE's contract with Viacom/UPN, they're just dumping this show here while they figure out what to put here the season after next.

Overall Thoughts: It's the same old same old for UPN. It's still the only place that shows more than one black-lead comedy (or show in general). It will still be hated on and criticized by "budgy" black people. You can see it's gradually trying to build its audience a bit. It's going to take a few more years before UPN won't be considered the red-headed stepchild of network TV.

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