The network made three announcements today about programs in development, one each for comedy, drama and reality. I have included each below.
The comedy release:
USA Network is building on its consistent track record of hits and expanding its original programming slate with the development of several high-profile comedies. The new projects will join the network’s latest acquired series – the award-winning and top-rated MODERN FAMILY – when it beings airing next year. The new slate features some of television and film’s most sought after comedic talent, including Kelsey Grammer, Mark Gordon, Denis Leary and Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun. The announcement came today from USA co-presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel.
"The comedy genre has re-emerged as a top choice for television audiences, and we anticipate our latest projects coupled with MODERN FAMILY will ignite excitement with our viewers,” said McCumber and Wachtel. “Our track record of provocative storytelling from marquee talent has made USA a top entertainment brand for consumers and a great investment for brands looking to reach them.”
“USA is the perfect home for MODERN FAMILY,” said Steven Levitan, the show’s executive producer. “We are proud to anchor USA’s next generation of comedies when we begin airing next year.”
REGULARS, BENCHED, THE DICCIO BROTHERS and START UP will join the previously announced comedy projects in development: PAGING DR. FREED, from Michael Feldman and SIRENS, from Denis Leary.
USA’s upcoming half hour comedy slate includes:
REGULARS – A misfit group of customers and employees at a suburban New Jersey bar express their joys, sorrows and observations through karaoke. Executive produced and written by Andrew Leeds & David Lampson. Executive produced by Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein (BermanBraun). From Universal Television.
BENCHED – After losing her boyfriend and her high-powered job as an attorney all on one day, Nina finds that the only job available to her is at the Public Defender’s office. She quickly realizes that the system is more screwed up than her own crazy personal life. Written by Michaela Watkins and Damon Jones. Executive produced by Mark Gordon (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Criminal Minds”) along with the Mark Gordon Company. From ABC Studios.
THE DICICCO BROTHERS – From comedy icon Kelsey Grammer and writer Ed Cannistraci comes the story of a promising dot-com entrepreneur who moves to the very politically correct culture of Silicon Valley with dreams of making it big. His dreams may unravel though when his colorful, blunt, and unrefined extended family arrives to “offer their support.” Story by Ed Cannistraci & Chris Cannistraci and teleplay by Ed Cannistraci ("Pierre Pierre"). Executive produced by Kelsey Grammer (“Medium,” “Girlfriends,” “The Game”), Brian Sher and Stella Stolper, with Grammnet Productions. From Universal Cable Productions.
START–UP – Matt and Josh don’t want to settle in life, love or in deciding on what job to get out of college. They don’t want to be cogs in some big company’s machine – they want the new American dream…being their own bosses and creating a start-up. Now all they have to do is land on an idea and hey, what could be so hard about that? Written by Justin Spitzer, (“The Office”) and executive produced by Peter Traugott (“Samantha Who?,” “Jake In Progress”), comes a comedy about the great lengths this group of friends will go to dream big and cash out. From Universal Television.
Previously announced projects:
PAGING DR. FREED – From Michael Feldman (“That’s So Raven”) comes PAGING DR. FREED, a comedy about two gynecologist brothers who inherit their father’s thriving medical practice after he suffers a heart attack during an attempt at “playing” doctor with his young secretary. Along with taking over the family business, these brothers also must deal with something else their father left behind – their overbearing, neurotic mother. Trusted and beloved by their patients, these guys are professionals when it comes to women but only from the neck down. From Fox 21.
SIRENS – The distinct comedic point of view of Denis Leary returns to television with SIRENS. Teaming up with the co-creator of “Wedding Crashers,” Bob Fisher, Leary’s new comedy follows three of Chicago’s best EMTs whose sometimes self-loathing, other times narcissistic, and always downright self-destructive personalities make them unqualified for sustaining relationships, friendships and most occupations. They are, however, uniquely qualified for saving anyone unlucky enough to wind up in their ambulance. From Fox Television Studios.
The drama announcement:
USA Network is announcing a slate of high-profile drama projects in development, signaling a diversified portfolio with a variety of new characters and themes. The announcement came today from USA Co-Presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel.
On the heels of two successful drama launches last summer with the SAG-nominated SUITS and Golden-Globe nominated NECESSARY ROUGHNESS, USA continues to push the brand forward with provocative new programming, including POLITICAL ANIMALS, the pilot GRACELAND and the development of three new dramas including BANG BANG, RARE, MIND FIELDS, FALLEN, WE COUNTED YOUR KNIVES and the UNTITLED DICK WOLF PROJECT. The slate underscores USA’s continued commitment to market leadership. A decade after the network sparked the resurgence of cable storytelling with MONK and THE DEAD ZONE, the network has enjoyed six straight years as the premiere destination for summer programming.
"As USA moves into Upfront week, this new slate reaffirms the network’s position as a ‘blue chip investment’ to the advertising and creative community,” said McCumber and Wachtel. “These projects will continue to further the scope of our dramas with the collaboration and passionate input of Hollywood’s top talent.”
USA’s upcoming slate includes:
BANG BANG – – An unlikely partnership is formed when veteran hitman Danny is saved by rival novice hired gun Marco, while executing a target. This dynamic duo pair up to execute contracts, if they don’t kill each other first. Based on the French film, “Doom Doom.” Writer/executive producer is Tim Schlattmann (“Dexter,” “Smallville”). Executive Produced by Pierce Brosnan & Beau St. Clair of Irish DreamTime Productions. From Fox Television Studios.
RARE – “Tour” is San Francisco’s hottest new restaurant – an exciting fusion of world cuisines that’s drawing crowds across all demographics in the Bay Area. Part of its allure may be the chef, a mysterious ex-special forces captain who’s good with a knife both inside and outside the kitchen. Even if he tries to resist his old violent life, he will be unlikely to keep it entirely outside his new establishment. Writer/executive producer is Larry Golin (“Cross Bronx”) with Cory Concoff executive producing. From Fox Television Studios.
MIND FIELDS – At MIT, the pranks (or as they’re known there, “hacks”) are truly legendary. After one particularly striking graduation hack goes awry, a legendary prankster is dumped by his girlfriend and goes underground for many years, his only public gesture a series of grand romantic stunts he constructs with a lovestruck fellow alumni. MIND FIELDS explores the fusion of science and creativity as these three geniuses reunite amidst the upstairs and downstairs of New York society. Helmed by writer/producers Lisa Joy (BURN NOTICE, graphic novel “Headache”) and Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies,” the upcoming “Mockingbird Lane” and “Hannibal”), with executive producers Howie Mandel and Mike Marks. From Universal Cable Productions.
FALLEN – After an accident, a gruff, macho cop -- known for his "act first, ask questions later" approach -- develops the rare condition of synesthesia and suddenly finds himself seeing "emotions." His partner doesn't quite understand this "touchy-feely" approach to solving crimes, but there's no doubt that this new insight is helping clear cases. Based on the novel "Fallen" written by T. Jefferson Parker. Ed Decter & John Strauss (“There’s Something About Mary,” IN PLAIN SIGHT) are adapting for Sony Pictures Television.
WE COUNTED YOUR KNIVES – An Army medic returns home and becomes a pharmaceutical sales rep in the hopes of finding the elusive American dream. Along the way he helps those who cannot afford medical services while pushing the drugs his company sells. Writer is playwright Michael Batistick ("Ponies"). Produced by Doug Liman, David Bartis (executive producers of COVERT AFFAIRS and SUITS) and Gene Klein and Lindsay Sloane of Hypnotic for Universal Cable Productions.
UNTITLED DICK WOLF PROJECT – An insurance investigator who works at a traditional firm takes an untraditional turn – he gets divorced and marries a trophy wife, who happens to be a man. Project is from Dick Wolf and Peter Jankowski (creator of “Law & Order,” LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) and Danielle Gelber of Wolf Films. Produced by Wolf Films for Universal Cable Productions
USA Network is extending its audience reach by diving into the reality genre with the pilot pick-up of BRIDE OR BEST MAN (working title) from Shed Media. In addition, ROMANCING THE GLOBE, a new relationship series is in development from acclaimed executive producer Mark Burnett. The slate also includes two previously announced projects – the pilot for THE CHOIR, and the recently greenlit series THE MOMENT. This announcement was made today by USA Co-Presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel.
“As we move into the world of reality programming, we’re staying true to our brand DNA by focusing on real life characters that are every bit as fascinating, inspirational and entertaining as our scripted ones,” said McCumber and Wachtel. “These unscripted series let us welcome characters of all types, which will continue to broaden our appeal to audiences.”
USA’s upcoming reality slate includes:
BRIDE OR BEST MAN (working title) – A "bromantic comedy" with a twist, this series highlights a trip down the aisle that goes completely wrong when the Groom and his Best Man are left in charge of planning the ‘big day.’ Shed Media produces.
ROMANCING THE GLOBE – A new spin on the relationship format, this series takes participants on a globe-trotting search for love that leads to the potential of ultimate betrayal. Executive produced by acclaimed executive producer Mark Burnett and his One Three Media.
Previously announced projects:
THE CHOIR – Series follows accomplished UK choirmaster Gareth Malone as he embraces various American communities and assembles a choir made up of the most unexpected mix of individuals. Malone believes in the transformative power of music and uses choirs as a way to bring people together, raise morale, and restore a sense of pride in community. The journey is both comedic and emotional with each episode culminating in an orchestrated choir performance. Malone began his career leading choirs for the London Symphony Orchestra and since then, has gone on to win an International Emmy and numerous BAFTAs as well as recently having an album top the UK pop charts. Shed Media produces.
THE MOMENT – Each week the show’s host, Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner, will give someone a second chance to pursue the career they’ve always wanted. From race car driving to orchestra conducting to deep sea diving, everyday people will leave behind the comforts of home and leap into a whirlwind of training under the expert guidance of world-class mentors who will help them prepare for the audition of a lifetime. If they succeed, they will either accept the job that will change their lives forever - or return to their loved ones, realizing that they've been living the dream all along. Warner has had an equally triumphant personal story, famously going from bagging groceries to being named Super Bowl MVP in just 18 months. Justin Hochberg and Charlie Ebersol of The Hochberg Ebersol Company (THE Company) produce.