Comedian Chris Rock will be coming to Southeast and central Nebraska this fall. Well, sort of. KOLN/KGIN-TV will launch UPN Nebraska, a new 24-hour channel that will carry original UPN shows and syndicated programming, on Sept. 1.
One of UPN's offerings will be "Everybody Hates Chris," a new sitcom inspired by the childhood experiences of Rock, who narrates the story of a teenager growing up in Brooklyn during the early 1980s.
In Lincoln, UPN Nebraska will air on Time Warner Cable channel 110. It will be part of Time Warner's limited and basic cable packages and will not cost extra.
Subscribers whose televisions don't not have a digital tuner a TV that goes up to channel 110 will need to rent a box from the cable company.
"We saw a need and an opportunity," KOLN/KGIN general manager Lisa Guill said Wednesday about the new channel.
The station officially is announcing UPN Nebraska's launch today to advertisers and special guests. The channel's Web site can be accessed beginning Friday by visiting www.kolnkgin.com.
"We saw this as another way to serve the community," Guill added.
KOLN-KGIN-TV is Lincoln's CBS affiliate and is owned by Gray Television Inc., based in Albany, Ga. Gray also has Omaha NBC affiliate WOWT.
UPN is owned by Viacom Inc., which also operates CBS. It is one of seven broadcast networks, but is a minor player compared to the big four CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox because it's not found in every market.
According to Nielsen Media Research, UPN averaged 3.3 million viewers for its programming last season compared to 12.9 million for top-rated CBS.
"UPN is coming along, but it's still got a long way to go," Guill said. "It has some great shows coming this fall."
UPN airs original programming between 7 and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Its top-rated program is "WWE Smackdown," which averaged 5 million viewers last season to finish 131st in Nielsen's ratings.
Shows returning this fall are "Smackdown," sitcoms "One on One," "All of Us," "Girlfriends," "Half & Half," "Eve" and "Cuts" and the drama "Veronica Mars."
UPN Nebraska also will feature syndicated programming, including such shows as "Matlock," "Hawaii 5-0," "Little House on the Prairie," "I Love Lucy," "Mission Impossible," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Cheers," "Becker," "Smallville" and "My Wife & Kids."
The channel will re-air "Oprah" at 9 p.m. weekdays. KOLN/KGIN's newscasts will repeat at 1 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
KOLN/KGIN currently is working on securing agreements with cable companies to air the channel in its market area.
Time Warner, which serves Lincoln and Southeast Nebraska, and Charter Communications (Grand Island, Kearney) are on board. The station is in negotiations with Galaxy, Cable Nebraska and other providers.
Guill said the station also hopes to have the channel available for satellite dish subscribers sometime next year. KOLN/KGIN has no plans right now to air the channel in high definition.
Lincoln has had limited access to UPN programming. Fox affiliate KSNB (Time Warner channel 4) has aired select UPN programming beginning at 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Time Warner plans to keep the channel for now, according to public affairs manager Ann Shrewsbury.
"(UPN) is programming that attracts a very vocal audience that we hear from," Shrewsbury said. "We're delighted that KOLN is going into partnership with UPN and us."
Reach Jeff Korbelik at 473-7213 or email@example.com.