The UPN Dilemma and its Affects

Written By: Joe Beaudoin

Published: Issue 19



"Viacom announced today, in response to market speculation, that it has ended discussions with Chris-Craft and its subsidiaries regarding any acquisition."


This was the statement that sparked off news around the world, which was confirmed by CNN, international news outlets and on News Corp.'s website itself. In this column, I'll give you all the information we have been given and have come to thus far concerning this, as well as it's affect on us. This article is only based on the information we have confirmed and IT HAS NOT been confirmed whether or not UPN has been or will be dissolved for sure. It is quite likely to myself that a special issue will be forthcoming sometime near the middle or at the end of the week. This special issue will update you on new information and what we are doing to change our forthcoming schedule and changing primary targets, so stay tuned.



If you haven't been paying attention to UPN and some of the stuff concerning Viacom and Chris-Croft, you're in luck then. I've waded through all of the Klingonese and I've basically translated the situation to English, with only my brain as the universal translator... My, wouldn't Spock be proud!

To get you all up to speed, a few months ago Viacom and Chris-Craft were in negotiations for Craft's ten stations carrying the United Paramount Network as well as Craft's other television stations that hold 20% of the American television market. These talks began after Viacom purchased roughly half of Craft's UPN stations, leaving the BHC with a share of affiliates in New York and Los Angeles. Both of these metropolitan cities are used in the television economy as focal points for their successes, basically. Anything else doesn't really tip the scales, as it were.


However, as of a few days ago, News Corp. successfully bought all of Chris-Craft's stations, which include their remaining UPN affiliated stations, for approximately $3.5 billion (U.S.).


Now how does this affect UPN? Simply that Chris-Craft owned the Los Angeles and New York stations, which is where UPN got most of its market share, albeit weakly. These stations contracts with UPN will expire as of January 2001, and thus UPN will be without these stations. Like the Domino Effect, UPN's mini-stations will simply fall. And with Mel Karmazin, CEO/COO of Infinity Broadcasting, threatening to pull the plug if UPN doesn't make more profit than it meekly has, UPN will quite probably be a dead dinosaur.


However, there is some speculation as to whether or not these affiliates will even show the UPN stations for it's remaining few months. This can be attributed to the possibility that UPN can be dissolved as soon as tomorrow or sometime before the new season starts, when it was planned to be re-launched as The Paramount Network.


And a majority of UPN's shows could quite very well be axed if this occurs, with a few survivors -- mainly Star Trek: Voyager and WWF Smackdown! These shows would probably have to enter some form of syndication on another Viacom or Infinity Broadcasting owned/co-owned network.



It is a foregone conclusion that this could very well affect us. Rest assured, however, it will definitely not affect us as much as any of the Trek productions (Voyager and Series V) could be. We initially planned to request a BBK tele-movie or mini-series on the United Paramount Network. However, this has changed, and we are planning to see whether or not we can ask for a TV movie or mini-series on the CBS network, as Viacom and Infinity Broadcasting own this American network.

We will have to change our request contacts, removing Dean Valentine from our list. Fortunately, the letter writing has not been started yet, and we still have time to do so before we promote it to off-line persons and on-line users. We will also have to get contact addresses for the important persons of management in CBS, as this could be our best bet. (Unless anyone wishes to offer a better idea in this area.)


More information shall come shortly, and we'll be there to tell you about it! We will also be working on adapting our tactics and schedule, so stay tuned for that as well. After all, anything can happen!


Comments, questions, and concerns can be directed at the officials at Items concerning this article may be addressed to Joe Beaudoin at