NET'S FALL PROMOS PUT ACCENT ON PROVOCATIVE

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UPN wants to push the envelope in its promotional effort to lure young male viewers to its fall schedule, led by the controversial "WWF Smackdown!" wrestling show.

In addition to network and local on-air spots, UPN is spending about $10 million on promotion of its fall-season launch and is switching its ad emphasis from cable to radio and outdoor.

UPN is even cutting back on sales of "Smackdown!" spots to make more room for launch ads for other UPN shows because the network sees wrestling as its Super Bowl.

"That's how much we believe in this platform," said Adam Ware, chief operating officer.

"Our target audience is attracted to funny, provocative, sexy, exciting, but not always polite programming," said Eric Cardinal, senior VP-research, during a recent satellite teleconference with affiliates. "Promotion, like our programming, should be edgy, exciting, a little bit in your face and fun-again with a healthy dose of sex appeal."

One wrestling promo, for example, shows the difference between the nutcracker found in most kitchens and the painful World Wrestling Federation version of a nutcracker. Another featured random violence shown over the anthem "America the Beautiful."

TV spots for "Shasta McNasty" show women undressing and birds attacking men's crotches.

Mr. Ware said "Cyberbabe," the animated spokesperson for its "Blockbuster Video's Shockwave Cinema," "makes Laura Croft look like Angela Lansbury."

But there are some lines the network vows not to cross. Its executives said they'd turned down spots from Playboy, which wanted to buy time during "Smackdown!."

During that teleconference, UPN asked its affiliates to also turn down the Playboy Enterprises magazine.

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