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UPN moves 'The Player' to Wednesdays after 'Amish In The City'

By Reality TV World staff, 08/04/2004 

As any reality television viewer is well aware, Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT has become a reality logjam this summer season, with no fewer than three reality programs (CBS's Big Brother, NBC's Last Comic Standing, and TBS's Outback Jack) regularly airing in the time period.

Therefore it raised some eyebrows when UPN announced last month that its own first-ever reality dating show, The Player, would also air in the highly competitive timeslot -- a decision UPN has now corrected, with the network having announced that effective with next week's second episode, The Player will now air Wednesdays at 9PM ET/PT following UPN's new hit Amish In The City series. In an attempt to keep the Tuesday time period somewhat warm, The Player repeats will continue to air in the Tuesdays timeslot, beginning on August 10 with an encore broadcast of The Player's premiere.

Since the announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon only hours before The Player's debut, the fact that The Player premiered poorly (drawing only 2.4 million viewers and a tiny 0.9/2 rating/share in the Adults 18-49 demographic) in the time period clearly wasn't the cause of the sudden scheduling change. Instead, it was probably influenced by the presence of UPN's new Amish In The City hit series airing in the Wednesdays at 8PM ET/PT and possibly the realization on the part of someone on CBS and UPN chief Les Moonves' programming staff (Moonves heads both the Viacom subsidiaries) that perhaps the idea of the two sister networks broadcasting competing head-to-head reality series in the hour (as well as simultaneously taking on NBC and TBS) wasn't the smartest use of their limited supply of original summer programming.

As for why The Player was ever originally scheduled for Tuesdays at 8PM ET/PT to begin with, the answer to that is also probably quite simple -- UPN had just finished rebroadcasting the first season of its America's Next Top Model reality hit in the time period and likely figured that Player might be able to retain those viewers. Of course, that fact that the Top Model repeats were drawing only about two million weekly viewers (a figure that's low even for UPN) should have a good indicator of the competitiveness of the time period.

While Amish In The City's comparative innocence would seem to be a poor match for the "playa" sleezefest occurring on The Player broadcasts, clearly UPN figures that a lead-in featuring original programming of any kind is preferable to continuing to let The Player take a beating on Tuesdays. And the fact that The Player will no longer be "competing" (we use the term loosely) against a CBS reality series hosted by the woman reported to be about to marry network boss Moonves is no doubt an extra bonus for UPN executives (after all, this is Hollywood, where there's apparently no such thing as conflicts of interest, little honor among thieves, and butt kissing has been elevated to an art form).

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