AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
HOLLYWOOD All things considered, UPN should have been smacked down a long time ago.
As affiliates bailed, ratings collapsed and financial losses mounted, The Netlet That Wouldn't Die received its last rites from industry execs and analysts over and over again.
But UPN keeps breathing, defying the odds and most recently experiencing a ratings rebound thanks to "WWF Smackdown."
"We've been voted off the island so many freakin' times, yet we're still here," says UPN COO Adam Ware.
Now the weblet must dodge its deadliest bullet yet: The potential loss of Chris-Craft station outlets in major markets such as New York and Los Angeles. Chris-Craft, which outright owned UPN in the early days of the weblet, is now in the process of being acquired by News Corp.
With UPN's major affils about to join the Murdoch station ranks, most early prognosticators predicted the quick demise of the grappler netlet.
"Having been here three years and living through about 18,000 of these stories, you'll forgive me if I sort of ho hum and yawn and say, `I've heard it all before,'" says UPN CEO Dean Valentine. "I think that question was settled a year and a half ago."
In the short run, UPN appears in fact to have cheated death yet again:
* The netlet is expected to sign an affiliation extention with Chris-Craft that would keep The Rock, Moesha and company on the air through at least the end of the TV season.
The pact with Chris-Craft runs out Jan. 15; …