Question: Why is Buffy going off the air? I am very mad and I can't believe it! That is my favorite show. I can't believe these people and don't tell me they are taking it off because there is nothing else to write about because there is. They can make up anything. They can even make up the demon that stops time. Please reply ASAP and try to stop it. — Deanne B.
Televisionary: Okay, Deanne. As I'm sure you've heard from many a teacher, you just cool your jets a second while I try to restore your faith in all things TV.
Buffy is not going off the air — it's merely jumping from the WB to UPN (though if you happen to live in a market without a UPN affiliate... sorry, but it might as well be cancelled). Why, you may ask, are the Buffinator and her undead-whompin' gang bailing to another network? Why, for the same thing that drives just about any decision made in Hollywood (no matter what they try to tell you): money. And lots of it.
See, in an industry setup that's changing as big media companies buy each other and consolidate power, many shows aren't produced by the network that actually airs them. In Buffy's case, it was put together by creator Joss Whedon and 20th Century Fox TV, then licensed by the WB. With that deal set to expire, Fox set about negotiating with the network, asking a reported minimum of $2.1 million per episode.
After much haggling (and some publicly traded shots in the press between Fox and WB suits), UPN came through with the best offer — a reported $2.33 million per episode and a two-year, 44-episode deal. In addition, should the WB get so mad at Whedon and company that it decides to cancel Buffy spinoff Angel, UPN will pick that up for two years and $1 million-plus per episode.
A bloody good deal for Whedon, I'd say. And for the record, UPN hasn't said for sure if it will keep Buffy in its current time slot (Tuesdays, 8 pm/ET), but those in the know predict it will stay there.