UPN announced its Fall 2005 schedule this morning, with “WWE SmackDown!” being moved to the Friday 8-10pm timeslot, making room for a two-hour block of comedies on Thursdays.
These comedies will include “Everybody Loves Chris” produced by Chris Rock, “Eve” and “Cuts” moved from other timeslots, and “Love Inc.” starring Shannen Doherty. They will go up against Survivor and CSI on CBS, Joey/Will & Grace/The Apprentice on NBC, Alias and Night Stalker on ABC, and Smallville and Everwood on The WB, with FOX announcing its lineup later today (currently airing on FOX in that timeslot is The O.C. and random programming in hour two).
There has been speculation all year whether or not UPN will renew its contract with WWE after it expires at the end of the 2005-2006 season. Some analysts are saying that since WWE fans will follow Smackdown to any day/time, it’s better to put it up against virtually no competition on Friday, while it tries to compete with the other networks’ big lineups on Thursday. Some have also said that this isn’t a good sign for Smackdown’s renewal hopes, as Friday audiences are traditionally lower for young viewers, which are Smackdown’s target demographic. We’ll have more on this when it is available.