CBS will carry four prime-time reruns of ''Veronica Mars'' this summer, two on July 29 and one each on Aug. 5 and 12, as part of a wide-ranging effort to get more viewers for the critically acclaimed UPN series. The drama will begin its second season on UPN on Sept. 21.
''Veronica'' came up quite a bit in a press conference with UPN President Dawn Ostroff, who tried (not entirely successfully) to allay fears that the network is forcing too much tinkering in the show, but who also talked it up in a big way. Its new time slot, 9 p.m. Wednesdays, is the network's best, Ostroff said, since it follows UPN hit ''America's Next Top Model.''
I'm hoping people will see ''Veronica'' on CBS and like it. I also won't be surprised if I start getting calls around Aug. 19 from viewers who will be wondering what became of it after the four-episode run ends. UPN is still not as well-known a network as CBS, after all, and there's a good chance that many CBS viewers have never watched -- or even heard of -- UPN. But I'll be happy to direct them there for ''Veronica.''
Unless, that is, the second season is bad.
More Ostroff on ''Veronica'':
-- ''I think the most exciting thing about 'Veronica Mars' is that every year it's a new mystery. ... (Producer) Rob Thomas and his incredible team of writers are going to keep, hopefully, everybody on the edge of their seat again this year. And what's just as exciting is that the whole new mystery opens up a whole new direction for the show creatively. Different characters, different parts of the show, that we haven't seen.''
-- (on cross promotion with lead-in ''Top Model'') ''Our winner from last season (of ''Top Model''), Naima, is going to be in the first episode of 'Veronica Mars.' ... We have something scheduled for a few episodes down the road for 'Top Model,' where the winner of that week's competition will wind up having dinner with all guys from 'Veronica Mars.' ''
-- '"The tone will absolutely stay the same. ... I have all the confidence that this season is going to be as great as last season. ... I read the (first episode) script; it's fantastic.''
-- (About storylines, and the death of one character) ''Veronica is going to be a senior this year. She's going to start off wanting to be a normal kid, not working in her dad's investigative firm. But, clearly, that probably won't last very long. ... Wallace is going to have a girlfriend. Veronica's father will be encouraged to run for sheriff again. ... The character that is dead is the Lisa Rinna character.'' (That's from last season, by the way.)
-- (on reported conflicts with Rob Thomas) ''I think you should talk to Rob tonight because we're thrilled with the first episode and I know he's very excited about it, and we've had a fantastic working relationship.''