USA Network has made its decision on Common Law official, pulling the plug on the freshman drama. “I can confirm to those who have asked that we are not renewing Common Law,” USA’s SVP Ted Linhart tweeted this afternoon. “Thanks to all the fans who watched and expressed their support.”
The summer TV season is over but USA Network is yet to make renewal decisions on all of its series. While some are no-brainers, like Burn Notice, whose producers are already negotiating an extension of the lease on their production facilities in Miami, Suits, Royal Pains, White Collar and Covert Affairs. And then there are the question marks, Necessary Roughness, Fairly Legal and Common Law. (Veteran Psych is on a different airing schedule.)
Sonya Walger has joined the cast of Admission. The actress joins Tina Fey, Michael Sheen and Paul Rudd in the academia-based comedy. Walger will play “Helen,” a professor at Princeton, where the film is set. Paul Weitz is directing. Weitz and Kerry Kohansky are producing. Walger is a lead on USA Network’s recently debuted psychological police series Common Law. The actress is repped by Gersh and managed by Authentic’s Jon Rubinstein.
A little over a week after USA Network announced a January 26 premiere date for new series Common Law, the network has revised its plans, opting to push the series’ debut to summer. USA insiders cited press and research feedback that described Common Law, which stars Michael Ealy and Warren Kole as a pair of detectives forced to attend couples counseling, as a true summer action-comedy. That led to USA’s decision to launch the show where it has had most success introducing new series — in the summer. Of all USA original series, only White Collar (October) and Fairly Legal (January) premiered outside of USA’s sweet for launching new shows, summer. USA won’t replace Common Law with another original in the Thursday 10 PM slot this midseason. Royal Pains and White Collar will air their winter seasons as scheduled. USA will still do a Common Law presentation at the upcoming winter TCA Press Tour as the series is expected to launch in early summer.
FX Announces Midseason Schedule
USA Network has firmed up its midseason schedule, which will feature the return of White Collar on January 17 and Royal Pains on January 18 and the premiere of new drama Common Law on January 26. White Collar and Royal Pains will air on the same nights they did in the summer — Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively — but will slide from 9 PM to 10 PM. Common Law, which stars Michael Ealy and Warren Kole as a pair of detectives forced to attend couples counseling, will air Thursdays at 10 PM. For the first time in awhile for a rookie USA series, Common Law will launch with no original lead-in from an established show. This past midseason, Fairly Legal launched on Thursdays 10 PM behind Royal Pains.
HBO’s off-beat comedy series Eastbound & Down will return for a third season on February 19, followed by the debut of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s latest series Life’s Too Short. The comedies will air in the 10 PM hour, following new drama Luck, which launches January 29 following a preview after the season finale of Boardwalk Empire on December 11. Life’s Too Short is a faux documentary starring actor Warwick Davis as a fictionalized version of himself: a down-and-out little person desperately trying to hustle and connive his way back into the spotlight. Gervais will be able to promote Life’s Too Short with his stint as host of the Golden Globes in January.
Kathryn Hahn, the female lead of NBC’s short-lived comedy series Free Agents, is staying at the network with a four-episode arc on Parks and Recreation. She will play the campaign manager of Amy’s (Amy Poehler) opposition in the election. Hahn is repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment.
Nora Zehetner is set to recur on another series, USA’s upcoming buddy-cop dramedy Common Law, about butting detectives Travis (Michael Ealy) and Wes (Warren Kole) ordered to attend couples therapy. She will play a pretty and offbeat female detective fresh out of training at Quantico and the new head of the digital technology unit. She’s immune to Travis’ flirty charms but is impressed by Wes. Zehetner, repped by APA and the Schiff Co, has recurred on Grey’s Anatomy, Mad Men and Heroes.
EXCLUSIVE: A couple of weeks ago, Deadline reported that USA Network was finalizing a series pickup of the comedic buddy cop comedy Common Law. And now it has: USA has ordered 11 episodes to begin production next month in New Orleans. The twist on the cop series stars Michael Ealy and Warren Kole, who play wildly different personalities who are the elite team in the LAPD homicide squad until their constant bickering gets them put on probation. To fix their problems, their captain (Jack McGee) sends them to couples therapy. Common Law, from CBS Television Studios and Junction Entertainment, is executive produced by Cormac and Marianne Wibberley. Jon Turteltaub and Craig Sweeny are executive producers. Junction’s Dan Shotz and Karim Zreik are co-executive producers. Turteltaub directed the pilot. ”When CBS Television Studios sent us the script of Common Law, we immediately fell in love with the writing, the characters and the premise,” USA Network co-presidents Jeff Wachtel and Chris McCumber said. “We’re very lucky to have the Wibberleys, Jon and Craig guiding the process on this show; and with Michael and Warren, we have two stars who bring out the best in each other.” Common Law was one of three cast-contingent pilots ordered by USA last summer, along with Necessary Roughness and Suits (formerly A Legal Mind). The other two have already been picked up to series.
UPDATE: Medium executive producer Craig Sweeny has come onboard Common Law as executive producer. He will serve as co-showrunner on the series alongside co-creators/exec producers Cormac & Marianne Wibberley through his overall deal at CBS TV Studios.
EXCLUSIVE 5 PM: I hear USA Network is finalizing a series pickup of comedic buddy cop drama Common Law starring Michael Ealy. The project, from CBS TV Studios and Jon Turteltaub’s Junction Entertainment, centers on polar-opposite LAPD homicide detectives Travis Marks (Ealy) and Wes Mitchell (Warren Kole), whose nonstop bickering and acrimony prompts their no-nonsense captain Phil Sutton (Jack McGee) to send them to a couples therapist. The role of the therapist, played in the pilot by Amy Acker, will be recast, along with another, smaller part. There will be some reshoots, and I hear the action quotient on the show will be pumped up. With the series order for Common Law, expected by the end of the week, USA will maintain its perfect pilot-to-series batting average. Common Law was one of three cast-contingent pilots ordered by USA last summer, along with Necessary Roughness and Suits (formerly A Legal Mind). The other two have already been picked up to series.
EXCLUSIVE: The Fighter co-star Jack McGee has been tapped for a lead role in USA’s buddy cop dramedy pilot Common Law, while Arrested Development alum Tony Hale is set to co-star in the HBO comedy pilot Veep.
Common Law centers on polar opposite LAPD homicide detectives Wes Mitchell (Warren Kole) and Travis Marks (Michael Ealy) whose nonstop bickering and acrimony prompts their captain Phil Sutton (McGee), a no-nonsense ex-marine with an ironic wit, to send them to couples counseling. CBS TV Studios and Jon Turteltaub’s Junction Entertainment are producing. McGee, repped by Stone Manners Salners and Semler Entertainment, played Battalion Chief Jerry Reilly on FX’s Rescue Me. Along with the rest of The Fighter ensemble, he is nominated for a SAG Award.
Veep, from British comedian, writer and director Armando Iannucci, is set in Washington, D.C. and stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as former Senator Selina Meyer who becomes Vice President. Hale will play Selina’s right-hand man who is always …
EXCLUSIVE: After an exhaustive search, 24 grad Warren Kole has been tapped to star alongside Michael Ealy in USA Network’s buddy cop dramedy Common Law. Kole’s casting lifts the cast contingency on the project, which centers on polar opposite LAPD homicide detectives Wes Mitchell (Kole) and Travis Marks (Ealy). The duo’s nonstop bickering and acrimony prompts their captain to send them to couples counseling. CBS TV Studios and Jon Turteltaub’s Junction Entertainment are producing with Cormac & Marianne Wibberley and Turteltaub executive producing. In addition to 24, where he played duplicitous secret service agent Brian Gedge in the show’s seventh season, Kole also recurred on the short-lived Fox drama Mental. In other cable pilot castings, Kadeem Hardison rounds out the cast of TBS’ Brain Trust. Michael Ausiello will be contributing to Deadline.com and Movieline.com as he preps for the January launch of a new TV-centric website.
Michael Ealy has been tapped to star in USA Network’s pilot Common Law, a comedic buddy cop drama from producer Jon Turteltaub. Ealy is the first actor cast in the project, written by Cormac & Marianne Wibberley, which centers on cops Wes Mitchell and Travis Marks (Ealy), partners at LAPD. The problem is Wes, a methodical former lawyer with a passion for cars, gardening and his ex-wife, and Travis, a maverick ladies’ man who served time in juvie, can’t stand each other. To revive their flagging professional relationship, their Captain sends them to couples therapy. CBS TV Studios and Turteltaub’s Junction Entertainment are producing with Cormac & Marianne Wibberley and Turteltaub executive producing. Sleeper Cell alum Ealy, repped by Gersh and manager Darryl Taja, most recently had a role on ABC’s FlashForward and next co-stars in Screen Gems’ Takers. Lifting the Common Law’s cast-contingency hinges on casting both leads.