EXCLUSIVE: Carlton Cuse is officially the hardest-working drama showrunner in town with three series and two pilots on his plate. USA Network has handed a pilot green light to Colony (working title), from Lost alum Cuse and Hercules co-writer Ryan Condal, who co-created the project and will executive produce. It hails from Legendary Television, marking the first scripted pilot for the company, and Universal Cable Prods.
Written by Condal, Colony was featured on USA’s development slate in May. It is described as a naturalistic drama set in the near future in Los Angeles, which exists in a state of occupation by a force of alien intruders. Some collaborate with the authorities and benefit from the new order, while others rebel and suffer the consequences. The project centers on a family torn by opposing forces and making difficult choices as they balance staying together with surviving the struggle of the human race.
Related: 2014 USA Pilots
“Colony is a gripping story that brilliantly weaves together an intense family drama in an authentic, yet unknown, world,” said USA President Chris McCumber. USA had been looking to return to the alien genre space, which the network tackled with the 2007 sci-fi series The 4400. Its most previous batch of pilots included World War II alien drama Horizon, which didn’t go to series.
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A day after FX series Tyrant made the decision to permanently relocate production of its freshman season from Israel to Turkey, USA Network limited series DIG too is officially pulling out of the country torn by the violence in Gaza. “Given the current situation and after careful consideration, we are relocating the production of Dig partly to Albuquerque and are continuing to explore other locations,” USA said in a statement. “Our experience filming in Israel was very positive and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to capture such an authentic landscape that will be threaded throughout the series.”
When the Gaza attack started a week ago, DIG extended its planned hiatus by week while the network and producers were exploring alternatives and holding conversation with the project’s insurance company. The series, starring Jason Isaacs as an FBI agent investigating a troubling murder of a young woman archeologist in Jerusalem, took a break after filming the first episode of its six-episode order. The pilot episode was shot throughout Israel, including Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. The decision comes as FAA this morning banned all flights to Israel for the next 24 hours following reports of a Palestinian rocket strike landing close to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. And yesterday, the US Department of State warned Americans against traveling to Israel and the Gaza Strip. Read More »
USA Network premiered two new dramas last night, Rush and Satisfaction, both of which which opened with 1.7 million viewers. That is low by USA standards, with the network’s two most recent original dramas, Common Law and Graceland, debuting with 2.5 million and 3.3 million, respectively. As is increasingly the case these days, we need to wait at least for Live+3 data to see if there will be any significant DVR bump. It is worth noting that Satisfaction at 10 PM actually built on Rush‘s numbers, especially in the demos. Among adults 18-49, Satisfaction posted 626,000 viewers to Rush‘s 493,000. Both new series fell from the Law & Order: SVU repeat that preceded them.
UPDATED: USA Network has given a pilot order to Mr. Robot, a drama executive produced by Sam Esmail (Comet) and Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin (True Detective) and Chad Hamilton (Breakup At A Wedding). Written by Esmail, Mr. Robot centers on a young programmer, Elliot, who suffers from a debilitating anti-social disorder and decides that he can only connect to people by hacking them. He wields his skills as a weapon to protect the people that he cares about and finds himself in the intersection between a cybersecurity firm he works for and the underworld organizations that are recruiting him to bring down corporate America. USA president Chris McCumber called Mr. Robot “a visionary drama.” “It is a very timely and relatable story that captures both the excitement and danger of today’s digital world,” he said.
Mr. Robot is the second drama pilot picked up as part of USA’s current cycle, joining Stanistan, about State Department workers, covert CIA officers and journalists who operate in a delicate balance of danger and levity. Both pilots hail from Universal Cable Prods.
Universal Cable Prods, also announced today it has acquired rights to Danish drama The Legacy for development into an event series. Doug Liman (Edge Of Tomorrow, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Suits), Dave Bartis (Edge Of Tomorrow, Covert Affairs), and Gene Klein (Suits) of Hypnotic have been tapped to produce. Created by Maya Ilso, The Legacy follows the four children of an internationally renowned artist who dies leaving them to divide her estate. What was meant … Read More »
USA Network is showing comedy creators that it is willing to stick with new series while they find their legs, giving a 13-episode second-season order to freshman paramedic comedy Sirens, from Fox TV Studios, Denis Leary and Bob Fisher. Sirens was the first original half-hour comedy series to launch under USA’s current push in the genre. It was a slow build but the show developed a following from a loyal core audience and even showed ratings growth over its run, despite losing its Suits lead-in halfway through. It ranks as the top new basic cable comedy series of the year among total viewers, averaging 1.62 million, and in adults 25-54 (870,000). “Sirens resonated with a broad fan base, and we are excited to grow this new audience further, as season two promises a lot more laughs and irreverent humor,” said USA Network President Chris McCumber. “We’re pleased to continue our partnership with Denis Leary and Bob Fisher, whose unique brand of witty, off-kilter and laugh-out-loud writing is brought to life by the immensely talented cast.” Read More »
Gillian Alexy (Damages, The Americans), Patrick Breen (Kevin Hill), Jeremy Davidson (The Americans), Martha Higareda (El Mariachi) and Natalie Hall (True Blood, Star Crossed) have landed guest star or recurring roles in the upcoming season of Royal Pains. Alexy will recur as the mysterious Charlotte, who Hank (Mark Feuerstein) met while traveling in Europe. Breen will play Bob, an unconventional couples counselor who has a big impact on Paige (Brooke D’Orsay) and Evan (Paulo Costanzo). Davidson will play new Ray Mazzarino, a new HankMed patient who recently moved to the Hamptons for a fresh start and goes into business with Evan. Higareda is Viviana, the lively bartender at a quiet local bar that becomes a sanctuary for Jeremiah (Ben Shenkman). Hall plays Hope, a burlesque dancer who asks for Jeremiah’s help when she complains of pain during her act. Season 6 of the USA Network medical drama premieres June 10.
Related: Summer Premiere Dates On Broadcast And Cable
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Neal McDonough has been tapped for a recurring role on the upcoming fourth season of USA Network drama Suits. McDonough will play Sean Cahill, who is not so much an SEC investigator as he is a bulldog. Tasked by Eric Woodall (guest star Zeljko Ivanek) to uncover wrongdoing at Pearson Specter, Cahill will go toe-to-toe with anyone. Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Gina Torres, Meghan Markle and Sarah Rafferty also star. McDonough, repped by Paradigm, More/Medavoy Management and attorney Stuart Rosenthal (Bloom Hergott), is currently shooting Sony’s Mall Cop 2. His other feature work includes Red 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, Flags Of Our Fathers, and The Guardian. His TV credits include Mob City, Justified, Desperate Housewives, Boomtown and Band Of Brothers. Suits Season 4 premieres June 11.
Check out the trailers for USA Networks’ new dramas as part of the 2014-2015 series orders. We’ve previously seen promos for these, but USA has made full trailers of everything available now that its upfront presentation has concluded.
From Fox 21 and writer/director Jonathan Levine, along with Gina Matthews, Grant Scharbo and executive producer Adam Fierro.
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After recently picking up three new drama series, Rush, Satisfaction and Complications, USA Network has kicked off its next drama pilot cycle with a cast-contingent order to Stanistan. The network also has announced a pipeline of original series in development, including an alien drama from Carlton Cuse, a church drama from Jodie Foster and Bob Cooper, a farm drama from Michael Bay and Dawn Olmstead, a frontier drama from Tony Krantz, a ski resort comedy from Jessica Biel, a family comedy from Peter Tolan as well as a limited series about the origins of the Mexican drug cartels from Gregory Nava. “This slate represents the next generation of originals at USA, with a focus on dramas that are more serialized, provocative and culturally resonant,” said USA president Chris McCumber.
Stanistan follows the staff at the American compound in the Middle Eastern country of Stanistan, where State Department workers, covert CIA officers and journalists strike a delicate balance of danger and silliness. From Universal Cable Productions, Stanistan is written by Andy Parker, who also is supervising producer, with Richard Scarth, Mary Louise Vitelli and Maureen Ryan (Project Nim) serving as co-executive producers. Steve Scheffer is executive producing.
Related: Amy Poehler Producing USA Comedy Presentation From ‘Billy On The Street’ Duo
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Heading into its upfront next week, USA Network has ordered comedy presentation Difficult People, executive produced by Amy Poehler. It will be toplined by Billy On The Street star Billy Eichner and head writer/co-executive producer Julie Klausner. Klausner wrote the autobiographical project, which will have Eichner and Klausner play versions of themselves, comedian friends living in New York. Andrew Fleming is directing the pilot for Universal Cable Prods. Poehler is exec producing with 3 Arts’ Dave Becky and Michele Armour of Marobru (Chappelle’s Show). USA ordered its first original comedy series in 15 years, Sirens and Playing House, at its upfront last year. Sirens just finished its run, with no word yet on its future, while Playing House – also featuring two comedians playing versions of themselves, Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair – just premiered.
Related: 2014 USA Network Pilots
Jake Weber (Medium, Dawn Of The Dead) has landed a series regular role on AMC‘s drama series Hell On Wheels, from Entertainment One, Endemol USA and Nomadic Pictures. Weber, repped by Paradigm and Framework, will play Harlan Fell, a former military doctor in the Union Army, sent West by Ulysses S. Grant. A respectable-seeming guy, Fell dreams of parlaying his medical degree into an empire, and will stop at nothing to get it. Weber recently completed a three-episode arc on Fox’s The Following. His feature credits include White House Down and The Haunting Of Molly Hartley. Hell On Wheels returns this summer for an expanded 13-episode fourth season. Read More »
Rescue Me alum Larenz Tate has been upped to series regular on USA’s original medical drama series Rush, set to premiere July 17. From writer-director Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, Rush follows Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis), a “medical fixer” who privately caters to LA’s elite. Tate plays Dr. Alex Thomas, Rush’s best friend dating back to medical school and one of the few constants in his life. Unlike Rush, Alex is a man with a plan — he works as a high-ranking physician at one of Los Angeles’ top hospitals and appears to have the ideal family life that Rush has long resisted. Tate played the role in the pilot as a guest star as he was in second position to comedy pilot Mr. Robinson at USA sibling NBC. Mr. Robinson has since been picked up to series but Tate won’t continue on the series, instead taking on full-time duties on Rush. Tate, repped by Paradigm and Brillstein’s Jai Khanna, recently recurred on Showtime’s House Of Lies.
So far, the symbiotic relationship between Telemundo and its NBCUniversal siblings had gone mainly in one direction — with Telemundo doing Spanish-language versions of programs on its English-language counterparts, like La Voz Kids (The Voice Kids), Top Chef Estrellas and Access Hollywood Al Rojo Vivo. Now the flow will start moving the other way too, with NBC committing to develop an English-language version of El Señor de los Cielos (The Lord Of The Skies), Telemundo’s highest-rated novela last season, and USA Network putting in development Telemundo’s upcoming novela Mujer de Acero (Woman Of Steel). The adaptations will be produced by Universal TV and Universal Cable Prods., respectively. This marks the first time that NBC and USA have optioned content from Telemundo. The move comes a year after the Spanish-language network was placed under the purview of NBCUniversal’s Bonnie Hammer, who also oversees USA, and Joe Uva was put in charge of it. NBC had been interested in cracking the telenovela genre. Last fall, the network inked a deal with Electus to develop three telenovelas with an eye toward airing one as a 13-episode series — with multiple episodes running each week, following telenovelas’ traditional air pattern.
Inspired by true events, the action-filled El Señor de los Cielos tells the story of Aurelio Casillas (Rafael Amaya), one of the most prominent Mexican drug lords from the ’90s, whose ambition was to become one of the richest and most powerful men in Mexico (watch the English-language trailer below.) It ranked as Telemundo’s #1 novela last year averaging 2.3 million total viewers and nearly 1.5 million adults 18-49. The season finale averaged over 3.6 million viewers and beat Univision among adults 18-49 and 18-34 in its period. Read More »
USA Network is shaking things up this summer with a schedule that features four returning series moving to new time slots, joined by two new shows, dramas series Rush and Satisfaction, paired together. This is a rare new drama series launch on USA where the newbies are not slotted behind established series. Rush and Satisfaction (formerly untitled Sean Jablonski) will premiere July 17, airing Thursdays at 9 PM and 10 PM, respectively. Rush, from writer-director Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, examines the world of renegade physician Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis), a “medical fixer” who privately caters to LA’s elite. Satisfaction, from Universal Cable Prods, stars Matt Passmore and explores modern marriage at its midpoint. (watch the first trailer below). Read More »
In Chrisley Knows Best, USA Network found its first unscripted breakout. Now the cable network has renewed the half-hour reality series for a 12-episode second season ahead of the April 22 Season 1 finale. Described as a real-life family comedy, it follows Atlanta-based self-made multimillionaire Todd Chrisley, his wife Julie, and their five children who live a seemingly picture-perfect Southern life with everything money can buy. Paired with USA’s off-network family comedy Modern Family, Chrisley Knows Best hit a season high with last Tuesday’s episode, pulling in 823,000 P18-49, 742,000 P25-54 and 1.2 million total viewers P2+. That was up 34% in adults 18-49 and up 10% in total viewers from the previous week. Chrisley Knows Best is produced by Maverick TV and All3Media America, with Adam Greener, Jim Sayer, and Stephanie Bloch Chambers, Eli Holzman and Stephen Lambert serving as executive producers.
USA Network‘s new medical drama series Rush, from writer-director Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, stars Tom Ellis as Dr. William Rush, who is not your average on-call doctor. He’s not attached to any hospital, he’s highly discreet no matter what the ailment — as long as the client can pay his cash-only premium — and he can party with the best of them. Little Engine’s Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo executive produce with Levine. Check out the promo:
Carmine Giovinazzo (CSI: NY) and Jon Sklaroff (24, Life) have landed recurring roles on USA Network‘s police drama Graceland. Giovinazzo will play Sid Markham, the head of LAPD’s Gang Task Force. Sid is more mind than muscle and uses his intelligence and ability to read people as a way to build relationships and close cases — but that doesn’t mean he’s not prone to acts of violence here and there. Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) grows close to him, seeing Sid as a helpful tool in taking down a cartel. Sklaroff will play Fritz, who has has made his living in the vilest way possible: through human trafficking. He uses intimidation and brutality to keep “his property” in line. The depravity of his operation leaves the team reeling.
Related: 2014 USA Network Pilots
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