Nellie Andreeva

USA Network is maintaining its perfect batting average in pilot-to-series pickups, ordering both A Legal Mind and Necessary Roughness to series. Both projects have been given 11-episode orders in addition to the 90-minute pilots. Last year, USA ordered a total of 6 pilots in two batches of 3 each, Necessary Roughness, A Legal Mind and Common Law, followed by Wild Card, Eden and Over/Under. Because of casting issues, Common Law was delayed, so of the first group, Necessary Roughness and A Legal Mind were completed and delivered together. Word was USA brass were looking to pick one of them up to series, but the network ended up ordering both. The decision was easy, USA’s president of original programming Jeff Wachtel said. “We were so pleased, we said right away: we’re making both shows.”

A Legal Mind, which has an odd pairing at its center reminiscent of USA’s White Collar, centers on a top Manhattan corporate lawyer (Gabriel Macht) who recruits a brilliant but unmotivated college dropout (Patrick J. Adams) as a new associate. “A Legal Mind is a little edger than our other shows, with the characters starting at a place where they are not immediately redeemable,” Wachtel said. Universal Cable Prods. is producing the show, which co-stars Meghan Markle, Gina Torres and Rick Hoffman. Aaron Korsh created the series and is co-executive producing, with Hypnotic’s Doug Liman and David Bartis executive producing. Kevin Bray directed the pilot.

Necessary Roughness, described by some as “The Blind Side meets Jerry McGuire,” focuses on a tough, sexy Long Island divorcee (Callie Thorne) who gets a job as the therapist for a professional football team in order to make ends meet. “This is more on an emotional show,” Wachtel said. Mehcad Brooks  and Scott Cohen co-star in the project, from Sony Pictures TV, UCP and creators/co-exec producers Liz Kruger & Craig Shapiro. Kevin Dowling directed the pilot and is exec producing.

A Legal Mind and Necessary Roughness, whose scheduling is still unclear, join 8 other series USA has on tap for this year, 7 returning and newcomer Fairly Legal, which premieres tomorrow night. With 6 pilot orders, this has been USA’s biggest development season to date. In the past two years, the cable network had launched 2 new series a season: Royal Pains and White Collar in 2009 and Covert Affairs and Fairly Legal this season.

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