Three years after USA Network signaled a move into half-hour comedy with the off-network acquisition of Modern Family and three months before the ABC comedy is to launch on the cable network, USA has greenlighted its first original half-hour comedies in some 15 years: the single-camera Sirens from Denis Leary and Bob Fisher and Playing House, from Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham. Additionally, USA, which is holding its upfront today, has picked up single-camera half-hour comedy pilot Love Is Dead, from writer Zev Borow. USA’s other half-hour pilot, Paging Dr. Freed, is still alive. And USA is in conversations about picking up ABC comedy series Happy Endings.
Sirens and Playing House will premiere in the first quarter of 2014 as companions to Modern Family, which is set to bow on USA on September 24. “With Modern Family joining our lineup in the fall, we can leverage television’s most popular comedy to serve as a powerful launch pad for new originals in this genre,” said USA’s co-president Chris McCumber. Added co-president Jeff Wachtel, “Our new series come from some of the best comedic talent in the business, and reflect USA’s style — with great characters, strong execution and compelling storytelling.” USA ran several half-hour comedies under the network’s old regime in the 1990s, including Weird Science, USA High and Campus Cops, before USA rebuilt its brand as a home of light, character-driven hourlong series over the past decade. READ MORE »
USA Network has cast the four leads in the Denis Leary comedy pilot Sirens: Michael Mosley (Pan Am, Scrubs), Kevin Daniels (Modern Family), Kevin Bigley and Jessica McNamee. Co-created by Leary and Bob Fisher, Sirens follows three of Chicago’s best EMTs — Johnny (Mosley), Hank (Daniels) and Brian (Bigley) — whose sometimes self-loathing, other times narcissistic, and always downright self-destructive personalities make them unqualified for sustaining relationships, friendships and most occupations. They are, however, uniquely qualified for saving anyone unlucky enough to wind up in their ambulance. Read More »
It took almost a year, but USA Network has closed a deal for a pilot order to single-camera comedy Paging Dr. Freed. The network has finalized the pilot pickups for both Paging Dr. Freed and the Denis Leary-produced single-camera comedy Sirens. The move is significant as it creates a deal template for half-hour series on USA, which is returning to the comedy business after more a decade. Paging Dr. Freed is from 20th TV’s Fox21, while Sirens is produced by Fox TV Studios, which also operates under the 20th TV umbrella. Read More »
USA Network, which is holding its first upfront presentation during the traditional broadcast upfront week this afternoon, has announced a couple of greenlights and a slew of drama, comedy and reality projects in development from the likes of Pierce Brosnan, Dick Wolf, Bryan Fuller, Doug Liman & David Bartis, Howie Mandel, Mark Gordon, Kelsey Grammer and Mark Burnett. The pickups include reality pilot Bride Or Best Man and comedy pilots Paging Dr. Freed and Sirens.
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The most action is in the comedy arena, where USA prepares for the fall 2013 arrival of its first off-network comedy acquisition, the hit Modern Family. The network’s goal is to have an original series ready by then to be paired with the Emmy-winning ABC comedy. USA is now finalizing the pilot order deals for two half-hour hopefuls: Paging Dr. Freed and the Dennis Leary-produced Sirens. Meanwhile, the network has opted not to go forward with its first comedy pilot greenlighted as part of its current push in the genre, the single-camera Douglas McGrath project starring Nathan Lane. “We love Nathan, he was really good but we are not sure if this is the first comedy series we want to go out with,” USA co-president Jeff Wachtel said. The Nathan Lane project and medical comedy Paging Dr. Freed were greenlighted together last September. Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
With their seriocomic firefighter drama Rescue Me ending its run on FX in September, series co-creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan are embarking on another series project together. “I guess I can say right now that Mr. Leary and I are tomorrow starting writing on our next show, a half-hour for him to star in,” Tolan told Deadline today after the TCA panel on the final season of Rescue Me. He described it as “strictly a comedy, like nothing we’ve done before. It’s not a traditional comedy, probably for cable. We’re doing it totally on spec and taking it out.” Before Rescue Me, Leary and Tolan co-created the underrated ABC cop comedy The Job, which also starred Leary. Tolan said that after 10 years of working together, first on The Job and then on Rescue Me, he figures that he and Leary “have some connection in our comic sensibilities.” Leary has another half-hour project in the works as a writer: He recently signed on to co-pen with Bob Fisher an adaptation of the upcoming British series Sirens for USA Network. Read More »
In his first series writing gig since FX’s Rescue Me, Denis Leary is set to co-pen an adaptation of the upcoming British series Sirens for USA Network. Leary will co-write the half-hour project about the antics of young paramedics with Bob Fisher, who most recently adapted another foreign comedy format, Israeli’s Traffic Light, for Fox. Leary and Fisher will executive produce with Leary’s producing partner at Apostle Jim Serpico, and Hal Vogel and David Aukin of Daybreak Pictures. Apostle will co-produce with Fox TV Studios, where the company has an overall deal for cable projects, in association with Daybreak. (For broadcast series, Apostle has a pact with CBS TV Studios.) It was during a general meeting Leary, Serpico and FtvS execs took with USA that Leary and Serpico mentioned Sirens. The USA brass were eager to get in business with the producers and asked to see a script of the British series. “When we read the material, we fell in love with the leads,” USA’s SVP original scripted programming Bill McGoldrick said. The project is not being written as a starring vehicle for Leary and for now he is only attached to co-write and executive produce, but there is a possibility for him to take on a small role if the comedy goes to series. Created by Brian Fillis, the six-episode UK series Sirens was inspired by EMT paramedic Tom Reynolds’ book, Blood, Sweat and Tea. It revolves around a trio of paramedics who bicker, fight and shag their way through the darkly funny maelstrom of their lives. Read More »