UPN’s 2005-06 schedule has several new entries, but the big story is that one of its top shows, WWE SmackDown!, will be heading to Friday nights.
Although the Friday slot is considered one of the worst from a viewership perspective, the hope is that the pro wrestling audience will prove inelastic and carry over to the lesser timeslot. UPN will fill Thursday with four comedies: “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Eve,” “Cuts,” and “Love, Inc.”
With NBC’s Thursday comedies performing far worse than expected last season, the other networks see the night, which once belonged exclusively to CBS and NBC, as being up for grabs. Only FOX will keep its Thursday “teen” format intact – the network returns with The OC and the new soap opera “Reunion.”
Thus, UPN did not view WWE SmackDown! as the most strategic choice to attempt to capitalize on Thursday nights. Although the show performs well, the feeling is that it isn’t the type of show that could attract too many new viewers. Since the feeling is that viewership won’t be hurt with the move to Fridays, it made sense to run some new and proven comedies in the timeslot.