'Buffy' Moves to UPN
by Vanessa Shibald
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - It's
official: "Buffy the
Vampire Slayer" is
moving to UPN. The
network closed a
44-episode deal for
the series late
Friday (April 20), according to 20th
Century Fox Television Presidents
Dana Walden and Gary Newman,
as well as UPN President and CEO
Dean Valentine. The series, created
and executive produced by Joss Whedon, will begin airing on
UPN's schedule in the fall.
"We are incredibly pleased to have 'Buffy, the Vampire
Slayer' on UPN, not just because it is one of the best shows
on the air and represents a new era in UPN's life and
direction, but more importantly because Joss Whedon is one
of the finest writers and producers in television," said
"Our main motivation for pursuing 'Buffy' so
aggressively was to be in business with Joss
and with 20th, one of the most successful
and professional studios in the industry, and
we're very pleased to have that opportunity."
Although the media considered UPN a longshot for the
series, Newman said the network was "passionate about the
series" and "invested in its long-term success."
The deciding factor, however, may have come down to dollars
and cents. According to media reports, 20th Century Fox
was seeking approximately $2.3-$2.4 million per episode for
the vampire drama, while The WB's last offer was $1.8 million
per show. A recent report said that UPN ponied up $2.3
million per episode.
In an interview earlier this week with "Buffy"
regular Nicholas Brendon, the actor told
Zap2it that UPN was first in line for the
"UPN is the front runner, cause apparently
money talks," he said.
Asked if the move would affect the show, Brendon said he
didn't think it would.
"We would still be shooting the show in the same place; we'd
have more money to work with."
In a statement to the press, Newman says that one of the
reasons behind the deal was UPN's "aggressive offer that will
allow Joss Whedon to produce the show the way we believe
he's earned the right to after five years of incredible work."
On the other hand, the 20th Century president stressed
creative differences between The WB and the studio.
"Creatively, we've had a great partnership with The WB on
'Buffy, the Vampire Slayer' over the past five years and we
are grateful for their contributions to making this show a hit.
Unfortunately, The WB did not share our vision or passion for
the show's future, and quite simply UPN did," said Walden.
Brendon also revealed that, due the network's uncertainty
about the future location of the 20th Century Fox show, both
"Buffy" and spin-off "Angel" did not participate in The WB's
yearly Faces promotional campaign.
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" premiered on March 10, 1997 to
widespread critical acclaim and immediately established
itself as The WB's first breakout hit. The series has
consistently ranked as one of the network's top shows as
well as its No. 1 show among key male demographics.
The series has earned nine Emmy nominations, including a
2000 nomination for Joss Whedon for Outstanding Writing in
a Dramatic Series for the acclaimed "Hush" episode.