UPN sealed an 11th-hour deal Wednesday afternoon to pick up 22 episodes of "Roswell" from the show's producers, 20th Century Fox TV and Regency TV. Both sides had been hammering out an agreement all week, but UPN had hoped to land a smaller pickup. It ultimately agreed to sign up for a full season.
"We were fortunate that a show that had been growing on the WB became available," said UPN CEO Dean Valentine. "We realized that it's a terrific show and that it's got a fanatical audience."
The "Buffy"-"Roswell" move marks the first time two network series jumped in unison to another network since "Family Matters" and "Step by Step" left ABC for CBS in 1997.
Meanwhile, UPN has decided not to bring back "Moesha," starring Grammy Award winner Brandy, for a seventh season this fall.
That means the grappler network, which announces its lineup this morning at Madison Square Garden, slides into next season without its two longest-running series. "Star Trek: Voyager," the show that launched UPN in 1995, airs its series finale May 23; "Moesha" bowed in January 1996.
"Buffy," which UPN snatched last month from the WB, now becomes the oldest series on UPN. "Moesha" was first developed at CBS, which then passed on the series. UPN picked it up and quickly used it as a springboard to turn its focus on young, urban comedies.
Valentine said he believed the show "had run its course ... It was time to freshen up the night." The sitcom had already taped its season finale; that episode will now wind up as the series' last episode.
Family comedy "One on One" will take the empty slot on UPN's Monday night comedy block.
Here's a look at UPN's fall schedule:
- Monday kicks off with "The Hughleys" at 8 p.m., followed by "One on One." The 9 p.m. block remains the same, with "The Parkers" leading into "Girlfriends."
- Call it WB night on UPN: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" keeps its Tuesdays at 8 p.m. time slot, followed by "Roswell" at 9 p.m.
- Newcomer "Star Trek: Enterprise" takes the 8 p.m. slot, an hour earlier than where predecessor "Star Trek: Voyager" had resided. Midseason sci-fi hour "Special Unit 2" airs at 9 p.m.
- "WWF Smackdown!" body slams its way onto Thursdays for a third year.
- After having tried (and failed) to capitalize on "Smackdown!" by airing series on Friday, UPN brings back its Friday night movie.
Among midseason contenders, "The Dead Zone," starring Anthony Michael Hall, is expected to make the cut. Series not returning include 7 Days," "All Souls," "Celebrity Deathmatch," "Chains of Love," "Freedom," "Gary & Mike" and "Level 9."