Continuing to build on the network’s strength of signature original series, USA announced today a powerful new drama slate of upcoming development from high-profile auspices and homegrown series producers. The network also announced that it will start production on HORIZON, a period genre project from Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd (“Walking Dead”). USA’s newest original series GRACELAND, from WHITE COLLAR creator Jeff Eastin, will kick off the network’s summer slate of original dramas, featuring SUITS, BURN NOTICE, ROYAL PAINS, COVERT AFFAIRS and NECESSARY ROUGHNESS.
USA Network today also greenlit its first original half-hour comedies, with series orders for SIRENS from Denis Leary (“Rescue Me”) and Bob Fisher (“Wedding Crashers”) and PLAYING HOUSE from Jessica St. Clair (“Bridesmaids,” “Best Friends Forever”) and Lennon Parham (“Best Friends Forever,” “Accidentally On Purpose”). The network also picked up a new comedy pilot, LOVE IS DEAD. The new series will debut in the first quarter of 2014, and will be strong complements to MODERN FAMILY, the award-winning and top-rated comedy, which premieres on USA Tuesday, September 24 at 8/7c. The announcements were made in conjunction with USA’s Upfront (#USAupfront), which is being held today at Pier 36 in New York and emceed by the cast of SUITS.
“We have an incredibly strong pipeline of new drama in development from a collection of top writers in the industry, many of whom have enjoyed a successful track record at USA,” said Jeff Wachtel, co-president of USA Network. “Our drama development slate represents a broad range of themes, and ensures USA will continue to have a powerful mix of its dynamic originals as we plan for the future,” said Chris McCumber, co-president of USA Network.
HORIZON is a period genre drama set at the height of World War II. At a time when many American women took more significant roles in the workplace than ever before, a secretary at the FBI begins a secretive investigation into files that have been stamped with the codename “horizon.” This mysterious project provides links to the death of her husband and the disappearance of a young girl, and has also – unbeknownst to her – aroused the interest of undercover Nazi spies working in the US. From Universal Cable Productions, Hurd will executive produce through her Valhalla Entertainment, with writer and co-executive producer Bridget Tyler (BURN NOTICE). The pilot will go into production this summer.
“This is the right time to be introducing half hour original comedies to the USA audience. With MODERN FAMILY joining our line-up in the fall, we can leverage television’s most popular comedy to serve as a powerful launch pad for new originals in this genre,” said Chris McCumber, Co-President of USA Network. “Our new series come from some of the best comedic talent in the business, and reflect USA’s style – with great characters, strong execution and compelling storytelling,” said Jeff Wachtel, Co-President of USA Network.
From the distinct comedic point of view of Leary and Fisher, SIRENS follows three of Chicago’s best EMTs whose sometimes silly, self-righteous and even self-destructive personalities make them unqualified for sustaining relationships, friendships and most occupations. They are, however, uniquely qualified for saving anyone who winds up in their ambulance. Based on a UK format, SIRENS stars Michael Mosley (“Pan Am”), Kevin Daniels (“Modern Family”), Jessica McNamee (“The Vow”) and Kevin Bigley (“Game Change”). Leary and Fisher co-wrote the pilot and both executive produce the series. Jim Serpico (“Rescue Me”) of Apostle, and Hal Vogel, David Aukin (“Hyde Park on Hudson”), and David Leach of Daybreak Pictures also executive produce. Filmed on location in Chicago, the series is from Apostle and Fox Television Studios, in conjunction with Daybreak Pictures.
PLAYING HOUSE is a single-camera buddy comedy about what happens when two best friends come back together, just when they need each other most. The original half-hour series is inspired by the ultra-close friendship between St. Clair and Parham. In PLAYING HOUSE, when mother to-be Maggie (Parham) asks her single and career-driven best friend Emma (St. Clair) to return home from her job overseas to attend her baby shower, she has no idea what’s truly in store. Parham and St. Clair co-wrote the presentation and will executive produce the series along with Scot Armstrong (“The Hangover: Part II,” “Old School”) and Ravi Nandan (“Best Friends Forever,” “Animal Practice”) of American Work. The series is from Universal Cable Productions and American Work.
LOVE IS DEAD (pilot order): This single-camera comedy is set at a unique company that specializes in breaking-up romantic relationships — rationally, compassionately, thoroughly — on behalf of those who are willing to pay to not be around when it happens. It’s the unconventional romantic comedy that asks: “Why, if love is so fickle, do we keep coming back for more?” Written and executive produced by Zev Borow (“Chuck”), the pilot is from Universal Cable Productions and Gaumont International Television. Katie O’Connell, Elisa Roth, Sidonie Dumas and Christophe Riandee executive produce for Gaumont International Television. The pilot is based on the award-winning French short film of the same name, written and directed by Eric Capitaine and produced by Carole Lambert and Carine Ruszniewski of De Films Aiguille.