In case you didn't notice, it's no longer cool to make fun of UPN. Not only did the sixth-place network break through last season with the proud strut of America's Next Top Model, but it's entering the fall with one of the most critically acclaimed new shows of the season: the Taye Diggs legal drama Kevin Hill. And for the first time ever, folks are buzzing about UPN's summer programming — specifically, the controversial reality show Amish in the City (debuting July 28). So, when UPN wrapped up the broadcast portion of the TCA press tour Tuesday, it displayed a level of confidence not seen since the summer of 2001 — when it stole Buffy the Vampire Slayer right out from under crosstown rival WB. Don't believe me? Well, read my minute-by-minute guide to all the day's big events and you may never take a potshot at the little network that couldn't again.EXECUTIVE SESSION9:12 am Viacom chief Les Moonves introduces Dawn Ostroff, president of entertainment at... UPN? Is that channel still around?
9:15 Heading off an onslaught of Amish in the City questions, Ostroff announces during her opening remarks that all of the Amish participants were age 18-24 and "were treated with the utmost respect by the producers and the show."
9:19 Regarding Amish's so-called "stealth premiere" next Wednesday, Moonves concedes that the network held off on announcing its debut sooner to avoid creating "a greater controversy than we thought was necessary."
9:22 A drastically reduced license fee played a large part in UPN's decision to beam up Enterprise for another season. "[Paramount] made a very attractive offer to UPN to bring the show back," says Moonves.
9:23 When asked about a potential sequel to Amish, Moonves, with trademark candor harrumphs, "Let us just get through Amish 1."
9:26 Scoop! Ostroff says many of Enterprise's episodes this season will be self-contained, meaning if the show sucks one week, it could still bounce back the next.
9:36 Why the heck is UPN waiting until the afternoon to give critics a first look at Amish in the City? Ostroff says it's because they wanted the executive session to "be about our fall schedule."
9:38 Another Amish question.
9:40 And another.
9:42 And another.
9:45 Venturing off topic, a reporter asks whether UPN ever considered picking up Angel after WB axed it. "It was mentioned," says Ostroff, "but we were very happy with our development this year."
9:46 Now, about that new reality show...KEVIN HILL10:12 "This question is for Taye Diggs: Who's your dentist and does he take Aetna?" Is it wrong that I wanted to ask that? Yes? Good, because I didn't.
10:15 Why did Diggs trade in movies for TV? "The [Kevin Hill] script," he says. "As far as I can remember, it's always been about the material."
10:22 When a reporter asks Latino actor John Seda (Homicide) how his character landed a white-bread name like Dame Butler, Seda reveals that the moniker has actually been changed back to "Chavez." Clearly delighted, the reporter lets out a big "Oh, goody!"
10:26 "It was a great moment," Diggs says of starring opposite real-life wife, Tony winner Idina Menzel, in Broadway's Wicked this past spring.
10:30 A food cart with very squeaky wheels makes its long journey across the back of the ballroom.
10:31 Well, that's odd. Someone just asked costar Michael Michele a question, but one of his stunning female costars answered it instead. In fact, she's sitting in Michael's seat! What did she do with Michael?!?!
10:34 One of the producers mentions Felicity in passing and, well, you know the drill.AMISH IN THE CITY SCREENING (Please note: Times are approximate.)1:05 pm I enter the hotel's makeshift screening room and quickly grab an aisle seat. As I understand it, we'll be getting a sneak peek at the show's two-hour premiere, slated to air next Wednesday from 8 to 10 pm/ET.
1:13 While I wait for this thing to begin, the time has come for me to explain why I had to move from the Century Plaza to the St. Regis...
1:13:30 ... Oh, it's starting. Shhh!!!!
1:15 The introduction gives viewers a brief overview of the Amish rite of passage known as Rumspringa. It goes something like this: When Amish kids come of age, they are given an opportunity to move to Hollywood to star in a reality show. They use this time away from home to decide if they want to remain Amish or pursue a career in acting.
1:20 We're being introduced to the Amish Kids: Jonas, Miriam, Mose, Randy and Ruth. They all seem really sweet.
1:24 We're now being introduced to the City Kids: Ariel ("Token Vegan"), Kevan ("Token Hottie"), Meagan ("Token Dumb Blond"), Nick ("Token Frat Boy"), Reese ("Token Gay") and Whitney ("Token Black.") They all seem really full of themselves.
1:30 The City Kids find out they're going to be sharing their posh Hollywood Hills crib with a bunch of Amish people, and freak out.
1:32 Token Dumb Blond asks her new housemates, "Are you guys attached to the whole Amish thing?"
1:40 In an attempt to fit in, Amish Mose agrees to let Token Vegan shave his chest.
1:41 Oh, look — you can keep track of who's Amish and who's not by the little icon that appears whenever their names show up onscreen. The Amish Kids get a little horse and buggy while the City Kids get skyscrapers. That's helpful.
1:50 Drama! The Token Gay throws a dirty sock at the Token Hottie and fists start flying. The Amish Kids look on in complete horror.
1:52 Token Dumb Blond gives Amish Mose a makeover!
1:54 Amish Miriam sees her first parking meter!
1:59 Token Hottie teaches Amish Ruth to swim!
2:05 Amish Randy makes a mess in the kitchen. The City Kids freak!
2:10 Token Gay puts on a Speedo. The audience winces!
2:13 Token Vegan reveals that "cows come from outer space." The City Kids and the Amish Kids freak!
2:25 Token Vegan nearly lets Amish Mose drown in the ocean! The lifeguard freaks!
2:32 Token Hottie makes fun of Amish Mose for almost drowning. The Amish Kids freak!
2:35 Amish Randy makes a mess in the kitchen, again. The City Kids freak, again!
2:42 War erupts between the City Kids and the Amish Kids. Everyone freaks!
2:43 The screening ends. I freak. I want more! More! More! More!AMISH IN THE CITY PANEL5 pm Among the folks taking part in the session: Amish Mose, Amish Amish Randy, Token Hottie and Token Vegan.
5:10 Amish Mose says he agreed to do the show partly because "I felt like I could be the person to teach America how the Amish live."
5:11 Token Vegan says she was "slightly embarrassed" by how judgmental she was when the Amish Kids showed up on her doorstep. "When we first saw them dressed up it was kind of shocking."
5:25 Scoop! Exec producer Daniel Laikind reveals that "one of the Amish participants does explore a higher education" after the show.
5:31 A reporter invents a new word when he refers to the Amish Kids' experience on the show as a "Super Rumspringa." Sample Usage: "I think Amish in the City qualifies as a Super Rumspringa" or "We should figure out a way to eventize your Super Rumspringa for maximum exposure."
5:42 Token Vegan backs down slightly from her claim that cows are from outer space. "I think their DNA is extraordinary," she offers. "I'll say that."
5:45 And now today's "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" award for the dumbest question about chest hair goes to the reporter who asked Amish Mose, "When it started growing back, didn't it bother you — in an itchy way?" We've set the bar pretty high for next year, folks. Let's have a big round of applause for today's winner.I DIDN'T FORGET10:04 Every time I tried to send an e-mail from the Century Plaza, my computer froze. But when I tried it next door at the St. Regis, it worked fine. That's why I had to switch hotels.
2 am So, let me get this straight: Audiences are responding to Quintuplets?