USA has renewed spy drama Covert Affairs for a fifth season with a 16-episode order. The recent summer portion of the show’s fourth season ranked among summer’s top 10 cable scripted shows, with nearly 4 million total viewers (3.955MM). “No other series on television travels the globe to tell a story like Covert Affairs, and we are pleased to bring it back for another season” said USA president Chris McCumber. “With its intricate storytelling, diverse characters and authentic locations, the series continues to be a cornerstone in our line-up of USA’s original signature dramas.” Season four of Covert Affairs, from UCP and Hypnotic, continues on October 17 following the season premiere of White Collar.
English dancer and actress Seeta Indrani (Broken) and Richard Short (666 Park Avenue) are set for arcs on USA’s spy drama Covert Affairs. Indrani will play Sana, a beautiful and sophisticated Indian woman whom Annie (Piper Perabo) …
CSI: NY‘s Hill Harper is joining the upcoming fourth season of of USA’s drama series Covert Affairs as a new series regular alongside Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett and Peter Gallagher. CSI:NY’s ninth season finale airs tonight on CBS, and by most accounts it will be a series finale as the CSI spinoff appears unlikely to return. CBS has not made a final decision, but I hear Harper’s deal was up at the end of this season, and he is moving on. He looked at a number of options, including pilots, but I hear he wanted to join a cable series that is on the air. Harper is a fan of Covert Affairs, and shares a bond with its creators Matt Corman and Chris Ord as all three went to Brown University.
Three days into the astronomical fall, USA Network has made the first renewal decision on its summer series, picking up additional seasons of established performers Royal Pains, White Collar and Covert Affairs. For Royal Pains, the pickup is for 26 episodes across two additional seasons, the show’s fifth and sixth. White Collar and Covert Affairs have each received a 16-episode renewal for a fifth and fourth season, respectively. “In an increasingly competitive landscape, these series got new season pickups the old-fashioned way – they earned it,” said USA co-presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel. The move comes as USA wrapped a seventh consecutive summer as the No. 1 cable network across all key demos.
All My Children creator Agnes Nixon will appear on the daytime drama, which is nearing the end of its run on ABC. In an arc starting Aug. 31, she will reprise her role as Agnes Eckhart, a long-standing board member of Pine Valley Hospital, which she created for herself in 2005 when she first appeared on the show as part of its 35th anniversary. This time around, Eckhart is admitted to Pine Valley Hospital, where Cara (Lindsay Hartley) and David (Vincent Irizarry) tend to her. She also crosses paths with Erica Kane (Susan Lucci).
Another soap veteran, The Young and the Restless regular Michael Graziadei, has booked a recurring role on FX’s upcoming drama series American Horror Story. The thriller, from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck, is about a couple (Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton) moving into a 1920s house and their new nosy neighbor Constance (Jessica Lange). Graziadei, repped by Innovative and Main Title, will play Constance’s new, young boyfriend.
This year’s Emmy race for Outstanding Drama Series will continue cable’s dominance in this most prestigious category. Cable claimed 10 of the 13 nomination spots over the past two years, and 13 of 19 since 2008. By contrast, cable earned a mere nine nods combined in the seven years between 2001 and 2007 when the networks still ruled. The shift from broadcast is so extreme in 2011 that CBS’ The Good Wife is considered the only network series with a solid shot to earn its second nomination in as many years. (Though not in that league, NBC/DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights, NBC’s Parenthood, and CBS’ Blue Bloods deserve consideration while ABC has entered a rebuilding phase.) The sad reality is that the broadcast networks, which just signed a new eight-year deal with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to carry the Emmys, are facing a possible first-ever shutout from the top drama series category. That’s because of the continuing strength and ambition of programming on cable — in particular, HBO in a return to form, and AMC still on a roll.
HBO’s Prohibition-era hourlong Boardwalk Empire drew the most critical attention this Emmy season because of its pedigreed producer team, headed by the legendary Martin Scorsese and creator/showrunner Terence Winter, a Sopranos alum. How interesting that the pay channel’s expensive serial will compete against another period drama from that other Sopranos alum Matt Weiner. AMC’s first acclaimed original series, Mad Men, has won this category three years running and is bidding this year to be the first series to win four in a row since NBC’s The West Wing (2000- 2003). Though the frontrunner, Mad Men could be hurt by a long hiatus.
AMC has seized the mantle from HBO as TV’s preeminent quality-drama purveyor with a pair of newcomers that could crack the series field this year: the zombie-themed hour The Walking Dead, and the dark murder mystery The Killing. Even though two-time category nominee Breaking Bad is not eligible for 2011, AMC could still land three nods, becoming the first network in 10 years to do so in this category, after NBC scored the hat trick in 2001 with The West Wing, ER, and Law & Order. No cable network has ever managed the feat to date.
And then there’s Showtime, whose Dexter is in the running for its fourth consecutive Outstanding Drama nomination, along with first-season Shameless. FX is pushing its increasingly buzzed-about Western, Justified and, to a lesser extent, Sons Of Anarchy. TNT wants attention for The Closer, Men Of A Certain Age, and Southland. USA is pressing Covert Affairs and White Collar. Here’s our assessment of the chances for this year’s drama series in alphabetical order:
USA Network is taking to movie theaters to promote its Tuesday night pair of White Collar and Covert Affairs, which return June 7. Here is an exclusive look at the trailer, which will be unspooled on 2,484 screens across the country this weekend, running before such tentpole movies as Pirates …
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):