After two and a half years, USA Networks’ originals are back on Friday night. The second season of network’s Fairly Legal and the fifth and final cycle of In Plain Sight will air on the night starting March 16. For a long time, Friday was USA’s signature night of original scripted series where the network launched Monk, Psych and most recently White Collar in the fall of 2009. USA left Friday after that but network co-chief Jeff Wachtel indicated that reclaiming the night was a priority.
Just like the series it was most recently paired with, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, USA Network’s U.S. Marshal drama In Plain Sight too will be coming to an end. The network has ordered an eight-episode fifth and final season to air in the spring. In Plain Sight marked the first major USA series under the network’s current regime that had a female lead, Mary McCormack. The network was so high on her, they delayed the series’ launch by a year when she got pregnant. In Plain Sight went through several showrunners, most recently Ed Decter and John J. Strauss, who joined before Season 4 and will return for the final eight episodes. The fourth-season finale of In Plain Sight aired on Sunday and was up 6% from the Season 3 closer. For the season, the series averaged 4.9 million viewers, up 8% from last year. In other USA news, the sixth season of USA’s buddy sleuth dramedy Psych will premiere Oct. 12. The network also renewed freshman Suits earlier today.
EXCLUSIVE: Ed Decter and John Strauss, creators/executive producers of Sony Pictures TV’s hourlong pilot for A&E Big Mike, have signed a two-year overall deal with Sony. Outside of the deal, which starts in June, the co-writers of There’s Something About Mary serve as executive producers on In Plain Sight. They joined the USA Network/Universal Cable Prods. drama series at the start of Season 4, which begins airing May 1, and are set to continue at the helm of the show for one more season. (IPS was given a two-year pickup after Season 3.) Decter and Strauss’ services on the USA series will not interfere with their duties under the Sony deal, including on Big Mike, whose pilot is currently filming in Florida. The project, co-produced by Happy Madison, stars Greg Grunberg as the title character, a plus-sized detective and a force of nature in the San Diego PD. WME-repped Decter and Strauss’ writing credits also include the two Santa Claus sequels and the 2007 NBC pilot The Watch.
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):
EXCLUSIVE: Ed Decter and John Strauss have signed on as the new executive producers/showrunners on USA Network’s drama In Plain Sight. The There’s Something About Mary scribes will succeed John McNamara who served as executive producer/showrunner this past season. McNamara left the series in the summer for medical reasons. As a result, In Plain Sight’s third season was shortened from 16 to 13 episodes. In July, shortly after the third season wrapped with an average of 5.2 million viewers, 1.8 million in them in the adults 18-49 demographic, USA renewed In Plain Sight for 2 more seasons.
Decter and Strauss’ whose writing credits include the two Santa Claus sequels and the 2007 NBC pilot The Watch, are said to be huge fans of USA’s U.S. marshal drama starring Mary McCormack. Despite their expansive comedy background, the two plan to stay true to the show’s format and tone while keeping with McCormack’s character’s witty banter. On the development side, WME-repped Decter and Strauss have Big Mike, a Sony TV/Happy Madison project about a plus-sized detective, in the works at A&E.
EXCLUSIVE: USA Network has picked up drama series In Plain Sight for two more seasons, bringing the U.S. marshal show’s run on the cable network to five seasons. The main cast, including Mary McCormack, Frederick Weller and Paul Ben-Victor, are all set to return to IPS, which will continue to film in New Mexico. The series recently wrapped up its third season, which averaged 5.2 million viewers, 1.8 million in them in the adults 18-49 demographic. This is probably the first in a series of renewals expected at USA over the next few weeks, as the network’s original series are once again performing strongly this summer. The two-year pickup for IPS mirrors a similar two-year renewal USA gave to its flagship drama Burn Notice earlier this year.