UPN Network Will Carry On Without Its ‘U’
They’re taking the “U” out of UPN.
The fledgling network formed in 1995 by Chris-Craft Industries and Viacom-owned Paramount Studios will become the Paramount Network starting Jan. 1, UPN executives announced Tuesday at a gathering of television writers to discuss its upcoming fall schedule.
The name change, said UPN President Dean Valentine, is due to Viacom’s recent acquisition of Chris-Craft’s 50% stake in the network.
Chris-Craft and its subsidiary United Television, which accounted for the “U” in UPN, sold its stake to Viacom for $5 million, and since those partners are no longer part of the network executives said it would be easier and simpler to rename UPN.
Said Valentine: “Lots of our affiliates always knew there was great value in the Paramount name, and it’s something we’ve always wanted to do.”
He said the closer association with the historic studio would bring the network greater recognition and credibility.
Added UPN Chief Operating Officer Adam Ware, “With a new name and our existing programming lineup, we will continue to target young adults, maximizing our unique presence in the network landscape and perfectly complementing the Viacom portfolio of media properties.”
Chris-Craft formed UPN with Paramount to secure programming for its independent stations, which were finding it increasingly costly to compete against larger station groups.
Accompanying the name change will be a new logo that is patterned after the existing Paramount Studios logo dominated by a snow-capped mountain surrounded by flying stars.
The Paramount Network logo will have stars around the metallic triangle from the current UPN logo.
Valentine said affiliates will soon start phasing the name change into materials and programming so that the Jan. 1 launch date will be seamless.
UPN officials also boasted of the network’s huge boost in viewership this season, particularly among males and teens, which was largely sparked by the wrestling show “WWF Smackdown!”
By contrast, UPN’s rival for the title of “fifth network,” the WB, saw its audience drop 20% for the recently concluded season, finishing behind UPN.