The seventh-season premiere of USA Network‘s Psych last night delivered 2.9 million viewers and was up in all key demos compared with its Season 6 bow. In the first episode of what is likely the dramedy’s second-to-last season (in December it was renewed for an eight-episode Season 8), Psych‘s viewership grew 20% over last year’s February bow and topped all Season 6 episodes. It also was watched by 1.3 million adults 18-49, (up 22%), 1.2 million adults 25-54 (+17%) and 723,000 adults 18-34 (+20%). The series about a faux psychic and his best friend who work for the Santa Barbara Police Department is also a big draw on social media, with the network touting record activity during last night’s premiere.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Before today’s TCA panel on USA‘s new series Graceland, USA co-presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel touted the network’s scripted series as their “signature strength.” They added that USA Network will be “diving into comedy in a big way in 2013” and hailed the addition of a “small show called Modern Family as an important part of our lineup.”
After the session, McCumber added that comedy “is an area that we’ve always wanted to move into, comedy has been a part of what we do; take a look at Psych, it’s always been in our DNA,” McCumber said. “When we have this platform we should be able to launch a true comedy series off of, we’d be crazy not to look at the half-hour world. It’s going to be a tough nut to crack, comedy is just a little more difficult.”
EXCLUSIVE: USA Network has elevated Michael Sluchan to SVP Original Scripted Programming. Sluchan, a 13-year USA veteran, oversees current series and develops and shepherds production on new shows alongside SVP Alex Sepiol. Both report to Bill McGoldrick, EVP Original Scripted Programming. “Michael is a truly talented executive with vast relationships in the creative community and an incredible ability to nurture the types of writers and producers we love to work with,” McGoldrick said. Sluchan oversees production of USA dramas Necessary Roughness and Royal Pains and also oversaw recent limited series Political Animals.
USA Network has ordered a third season of original drama series Necessary Roughness. Its pickup is for 10 episodes, down from 12 for Season 1 and 16 for the series’ current second season. Necessary Roughness stars Callie Thorne as New York Hawks sports psychologist Dani Santino, who struggles with the threat of losing her practice while attempting to keep her personal life intact. Created by Elizabeth Kruger and Craig Shapiro, Necessary Roughness hasn’t been a breakout hit for USA but developed a loyal audience and has been pretty consistent. The summer portion of its current second season premiered with 3 million Live+Same Day viewers in June and wrapped with 2.9 million for the August finale. The Sony TV/Universal Cable Prods show gets a significant DVR boost, with its Season 2 premiere viewership rising to 4.6 million in Live+7. The show’s five-episode winter season launches January 23.
Rene Balcer, co-developer/executive producer of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which started off on NBC before migrating to the USA Network, is back at USA with a new project, a drama he is writing as well as executive producing with Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment. Described as “The X-Files meets The Matrix“, DarkNet is a mystery series about a couple of cyber-crime investigators who stumble across a far-reaching conspiracy to change the course of human evolution. “On one level, DarkNet‘s a cautionary tale about transhumanism inspired by something Ray Bradbury said,” Balcer said. “He thought the Internet was a massive scam perpetrated by computer companies. I thought, what if he was only half-right, and they had something far more sinister in mind.”
DarkNet, produced by Universal Cable Prods., centers on a woman with an MIT degree whose younger sister disappeared years ago, allegedly a victim of a cyber predator. As part of her quest to find the truth, the woman joins the FBI’s cyber crime unit where she is partnered with a former hacktivist who was recruited by the FBI after serving time in jail. USA has had success with two-lead series, most notably, White Collar and Suits.
Save for USA Network‘s decision last month not to extend Political Animals beyond its original run, it has been a great last few weeks for Greg Berlanti‘s political drama. He landed a WGA nomination for writing the pilot, star Sigourney Weaver got a SAG nomination, and today the show received two Golden Globe nominations — for best movie/miniseries and best actress in a movie/mini (Weaver).
Related: Golden Globes TV Analysis
Eight years after the debut of its last sci-fi show, miniseries-turned-series 4400, USA Network is re-entering the genre space with Horizon, a cast-contingent drama pilot from The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd.
Set during the height of World War II, Horizon centers on a secretary at the FBI who discovers that her husband might have been killed in a battle with a spaceship in the South Pacific. Obsessed with learning the truth, she becomes the only person standing between Earth and an alien invasion. Bridget Tyler (Burn Notice) wrote the script and will co-executive produce for Universal Cable Prods. and Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment, which has a deal at the studio. “Horizon is our first genre piece since The 4400 and the first ever period drama for the network,” said USA Network co-presidents Jeff Wachtel and Chris McCumber. “This signals the next step in the evolution of our programming brand.”
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that USA Network is finalizing a third-season renewal for drama Necessary Roughness. I hear its order will be for 10 episodes, down from 12 for Season 1 and 16 for the series’ current second season. Necessary Roughness stars Callie Thorne as New York Hawks sports-psychologist Dr. Dani Santino, who struggles with the threat of losing her practice while attempting to keep her personal life intact. Created by Elizabeth Kruger and Craig Shapiro, Necessary Roughness hasn’t been a breakout hit for USA but quickly developed a loyal audience and has been very consistent. The summer portion of its current second season premiered with 3 million viewers in June and wrapped with 2.9 million for the August finale. Necessary Roughness gets a significant DVR boost, with its Season 2 premiere viewership rising to 4.6 million in Live+7. The show’s five-episode winter season launches January 23.
Bryan Greenberg And Stephanie Sigman To Star In USA’s Cheryl Heuton/Nick Falacci Pilot, Lifting Contingency
USA has cast former How To Make It In America star Bryan Greenberg and newcomer Stephanie Sigman, the breakout star of acclaimed Mexican movie Miss Bala, as the two leads of its untitled hourlong pilot from Numbers creators Nicolas Falacci & Cheryl Heuton, Universal Cable Prods. and Doug Liman and Dave Bartis’ Hypnotic. Like most USA pilots, the project based on an Elmore Leonard short story was originally picked up as cast-contingent. Greenberg and Sigman are lifting the contingency. Filming on the pilot will likely begin in January in Miami with Kevin Bray (Walking Tall, USA’s Suits) set to direct.
The deal to renew USA Network‘s veteran Burn Notice, which we reported last week as being negotiated, is now done. Burn Notice has been picked up for a 13-episode seventh season. The size of the pickup is smaller than the 16-episode Season 2 and Season 3 and 18-episode Seasons 4-6. (USA also recently gave a 26-episode two-season order to veteran Royal Pains after several supersized seasons). The renewal will allow Burn Notice to hit the 100-episode mark next year and become only the third series in USA’s history to do so. “Burn Notice is like a fine wine that gets better with age,” said USA Network co-presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel. “Delivering high-octane action, gripping drama and nearly 7 million viewers for the mid-season finale, this veteran series is a proven staple of our portfolio.”
Burn Notice joins fellow recently renewed USA series Suits, Royal Pains, White Collar and Covert Affairs as well as the upcoming Graceland, USA’s new series from White Collar creator Jeff Eastin. (Veteran Psych is on a different track, with its seventh season set to launch in February). USA recently cancelled sophomore Fairly Legal and freshmen Common Law and Political Animals. The only USA series whose fate is still in limbo is Necessary Roughness.
It was introduced as a limited series and will stay that way. Greg Berlanti’s Political Animals won’t become a regular series for USA Network as originally envisioned. The mini was a modest performer, premiering to 3.8 million total viewers and averaging 3.2 million total viewers in Live+7 over its summer run. The ratings were not bad given that Political Animals aired with little support on Sunday — a night USA had not programmed for a while — but ultimately they weren’t strong enough to justify the show’s high cost. The political/family drama from Berlanti and Laurence Mark boasted a top-notch cast led by Sigourney Weaver, Carla Gugino, James Wolk and Ellen Burstyn.
“We are proud of Political Animals, our miniseries that attracted critical acclaim and impacted the cultural conversation this summer,” USA said in a statement. “It was a pleasure to work with Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark and a powerful cast led by Sigourney Weaver. We look forward to collaborating again with these immensely talented creatives.” Meanwhile, Berlanti is busy with breakout CW hit Arrow, midseason CBS drama Golden Boy and several projects he has in development for next season.