UPN (pronounced "up and in", or "OOH-PIN!") was a major African-American television network known for its diverse programming, consisting of over 1,500 television shows running on parallel time slots. It encompassed every major genre of television, marking its placement well above competitor The WB as the #1 most watched television network in history. In UPN's heyday, it was rumored that if white viewers watched the network too much, they would accidentally become black.
UPN predominantly featured shows dealing with the everyday lives of African-Americans, rednecks wrestling around in colorful speedos, and models yelling at other models because of their lack of dedication. Their shows also showed the socioeconomic states of the average American, being geared towards the academic, as was evidenced by the historical drama of The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfiffer and the wittisms of Shasta McNasty.
Other famous shows to air on UPN:
- The Wayans Brothers
- Malcolm and Eddie
- The Parkers
- You Know That One Comedian Who Told Really Funny Jokes? Well You Won't Find That Here. But You Can Watch Him Talk.
- Fifteen Minutes of Fame (not including commercials)
- Sci-Fi: The Series
- Cancelled on Fox: What You Really Shouldn't Bother Watching.
- Why We're Better Than the WB (and why you should throw away that remote)
- Disney Saturday Morning Cartoon (that you can already find on ABC)
UPN was founded in 1995, as Viacom's attempt at branching out to African-American viewers (Nickelodeon had already filled the white niche). The first President of UPN was Damon Wayans, who lead the network to greatness very quickly.
At the turn of the century, UPN began slumping in ratings, due to it cancelling successful shows. For instance, The Parkers, UPN's most successful comedy since Malcolm and Eddie, was cancelled in 2004 when comedian Mo'Nique allegedly ate the show. Competitor The WB was beginning to kick its ass in ratings, always winning by a million viewers or more. Finally, UPN conceded defeat in 2006 and merged with The WB to form The CW. It is alleged that Alice, a character from Dilbert, used her fist of death on UPN after they cancelled the Dilbert show.
During UPN's existence, there was much speculation towards what the "UPN" stood for, though the station never fully confirmed the answer. Spectulated names included the UP Network, the Underprivileged Protestant's Network, the UnderPaid Negroes, the Upper Percentile Network, United Pretzels of Nigeria, the Urban Peoples' Network, or even the United Pie Nation. Following their merger with The WB into The CW, reporters were told that the new name stood for The Customary Welfare system; white people shows were also introduced at the same time.