USA Network has given its hit legal drama Suits a 16-episode fourth-season renewal. Additionally, series creator and showrunner Aaron Korsh has signed an overall deal with Suits producer Universal Cable Prods to continue on the show and develop new scripted series. “As a leading cable drama, Suits is at the top of its game and continues to grow in the key demographics, drawing a passionate, young and loyal audience,” said Chris McCumber, President of USA Network. “Aaron Korsh consistently pushes the boundaries of storytelling and the series promises to deliver a provocative fourth season.” In the third quarter, Suits, starring Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams, was among the top fiive in adults 18-49 in all of TV’s primetime scripted series. The drama was the #1 scripted series on television, broadcast or cable, Tuesday nights among 18-49s. Season 3 continues in first quarter 2014 following the Olympics, with the final six episodes.
British actor and musician Max Beesley (Hotel Babylon) has landed a major recurring role on the upcoming third season of USA Network’s Suits, which premieres July 16. He will play Stephen Huntley, Edward Darby’s (recurring guest star Conleth Hill) charismatic right-hand man and Harvey’s (Gabriel Macht) British counterpart, who arrives in the New York office following the merger. The existence of two Harveys will complicate the already precarious personal dynamics at Pearson/Darby. Beesley, repped by APA, Untitled and UK’s Independent Talent, co-stars in indie Pawn and in the UK series Mad Dogs.
USA’s Suits is solidifying its status as the network’s next flagship series as it continues to build in the ratings, especially in the young demographics. While cable series normally perform worse in the winter against increased in-season competition than in the summer, Suits returned last night higher than …
A no-brainer renewal from USA Network: The cable network has picked up drama Suits for a third season with a 16-episode order. The series, starring Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams, is coming off a strong summer portion of its second season as the Universal Cable Prods.-produced legal series seems to be hitting its stride. “Quite simply, Suits is as good as it gets,” USA Network co-presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel said. “Sophisticated storytelling, sharp dialogue, and award-worthy performances make this show a cornerstone of our original programming lineup.” The summer finale of Suits drew 6.5 million viewers and posted series highs across all demos. Suits returns in January with six new episodes to wrap up Season 2.
UPDATE, 6:45 AM: In this morning’s analyst call, NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke subtly dinged General Electric for its management of NBC until January, when Comcast took charge. He says the conglomerate hadn’t supplied the cash that’s “necessary to compete.” Burke says Comcast is changing that: “In general we see this year, and next year probably, as investment years.” The turnaround at primetime’s No. 4 broadcast network could take as long as four years, but “I’m confident we’ll get there.” Burke says Comcast has an initiative called Symphony to market NBCU programming across company assets including VOD and online. It increased the production and marketing budgets for The Voice several times after the company realized the talent contest would be a hit. The next season will debut right after the Super Bowl in February. Meanwhile, NBCU’s cable networks are ordering more original series including USA’s Suits and Necessary Roughness and Syfy’s Alphas. Comcast also is beefing up its TV stations’ local news. It’s adding 135 people at 10 stations including 40 reporters and 20 producers; five markets are building investigative units. Burke says the investments will pay off: With growing revenue from retransmission consent deals and license fees from online streaming services such as Netflix, “content is more valuable today than it was” when Comcast agreed to buy NBCU. He adds that despite the weak economy “we don’t see any signs of deceleration” in ad sales. CEO Brian Roberts echoed Burke’s enthusiasm but warned analysts that “we have to have realistic expectations.” Roberts added that while “there’s economic news that’s rattled the markets,” Comcast is still “investing and getting good financial results.”
PREVIOUS, 4:20 AM: Comcast generated 2Q net income of $1.02B, up 15.6% vs the same period last year, on revenues of $14.3B, up 50.5%. But earnings, at 37 cents a share, missed the 41 cent target among analysts who follow the company. They expected revenues to come in at $13.8B.
While the broadcast networks are largely retreating from original scripted programming this summer, leading cable network USA is prepping its largest original series summer slate with eight series: newbies Suits (aka A Legal Mind) and Necessary Roughness and returning shows White Collar, Covert Affairs, Royal Pains, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight and the the final season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. USA will use its biggest shows, Burn Notice and Royal Pains, to launch its new series, Suits and Necessary Roughness, respectively. Additionally, the network’s first reality series in five years, WWE Tough Enough, will continue to air on Monday, bringing the total of USA’s original summer series to nine and its nights of originals to five. Interestingly, Friday, where USA launched its scripted ascent, is staying dark. Network chief Jeff Wachtel had indicated that reclaiming the night was a priority. Missing from the summer schedule is veteran Psych, which won’t return until the fall. Here is USA’s original summer lineup with premiere dates (new series in bold):