Fox UPNs Will Pre-Empt for Debates

The political stars have pushed Mars out of its orbit, plus a couple of other UPN shows. 

The Fox TV station group has decided to pre-empt UPN regular programming, in this case Veronica Mars, on its owned UPN affiliates to carry the co-owned Fox News Channel feed of the VP debate between John Edwards and Dick Cheney Tuesday night from Cleveland.

In addition, the Fox station group UPNs will preempt America's Next Top Model (Oct. 8) and Kevin Hill (Oct. 13) to carry the final two presidential debates.

Fox is not carrying the debate on its own affiliates in several of those markets to carry a baseball playoff game, so it allows the group to serve both cable and broadcast viewers in the market with the debate while still giving diamond aficionados their post-season fix.

The preempting stations are WWOR New York, KCOP Los Angeles, WPWR Chicago, WDCA Washington, WSTC Minneapolis, KUTP Phoenix and WRBW Orlando.

Given that the lack of Mars clearances in just the first three on that list (the top three markets) means a loss of 15% of the country (OK, 14.923%), UPN has decided to replace its Veronica Mars original with a repeat. The Oct. 8 Top Model episode is already a repeat of that same week's original, so UPN will go ahead and air that one.

No decision on the Oct. 13 Kevin Hill, though it is a safe bet it will swap it out for a repeat as well.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.