NEW YORK, NY - In a bid to rescue struggling network series Haunted, the United Paramount Network has announced that the show will return from hiatus with a new title: Gene Roddenberry's Haunted.
"This is a natural step," explained UPN president Dawn Ostroff. "With its sci-fi premise and hourlong episodes, Haunted follows in the footsteps of Gene Roddenberry's famous TV shows. I have no doubt that if he were still alive, Gene would be proud to see such distinguished series as Earth: Final Conflict, Andromeda, and now Haunted bearing his name."
When asked about other changes to the series, Ms. Ostroff replied, "We're going to be recasting the lead character, Frank something or other. It's not that we were unhappy with Matthew Fox's performance, it's simply that we felt he lacked the spark that The Rock will bring to the role. From now on, our viewers will have no difficulty smelling what Frank is cooking."
Haunted is currently on hiatus after a weak performance in the first half of the season. "We're not mad at Haunted, just disappointed," observed Ms. Ostroff. "We trusted it with Buffy's leadout audience and it let us down. When a show can't get millions of Americans who tuned in for something else to remain addictively on UPN, waiting to consume whatever we offer up next, it's clearly time to re-evaluate it."
"We're making the show sexier too," added Ms. Ostroff.
Meanwhile, Gene Roddenberry's estate has threatened to take legal action against UPN for the unauthorized use of his name. "I am shocked and appalled with UPN," stated Roddenberry's widow, Majel Barrett. "It is inexcusable to exploit my husband's name for profit, to benefit a series with which his work has only the most tenuous of connections, and at no point offer me a recurring role."
The estate is currently prosecuting Tribune Entertainment and the 117 other companies whose logos appear after the ending credits of Andromeda on similar grounds.
This reporter was able to gather some early reactions to the Haunted announcement.
"This stinks," commented former series star Matthew Fox. "I never thought they would invoke the Rock clause in my contract. Did you know all of us at UPN have to sign one of those? Sarah Michelle, if you're reading this, be careful. I think you're next."
"Gene Roddenberry did that show too?" puzzled 5MV forumgoer 'saxamaphone'. "Wow. I hope I keep that busy when I'm dead."
"Ooo, I love Haunted!" squealed columnist Wanda of E! Online. "With it and Gilmore Girls and 7th Heaven, I don't ever want to leave my sofa! And the Rock is such a cutie -- I just know his invitation to dinner will be in my mailbox any day now. Like my hair?"
"I'm rooting for Majel Barrett," said well-known writer and producer Joss Whedon. "If she wins, it'll establish the precedent I need to sue NBC for that Joss Whedon's Will & Grace thing."
"BAM!" shouted chef Emeril Lagasse.
In other news, the popular parody website Five-Minute Voyager has announced plans to add Haunted to its repertoire. "If it's by Roddenberry, we'll cover it," stated site manager Kira. "And by a pleasant coincidence, adding it to 5MV will be a good popularity boost for UPN. Now please stop staring at my large bag with a dollar sign on it."