Former Shield executive producer Adam Fierro has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of USA Network‘s newly picked up drama series Rush, written, directed and executive produced by Jonathan Levine. The project, from Fox 21, centers on Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis), 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 the doctor can party with the best of them. Little Engine’s Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo also executive produce. This marks the first showrunner stint for 24 alum Fierro, repped by ICM Partners and attorney David Fox, who recently worked on Dexter and The Walking Dead.
USA Picks Up Medical Drama Pilots ‘Rush’ & Complications’ To Series, Confirms ‘White Collar’ Renewal
Dr. Lawson, meet Dr. Rush and Dr. Ellis. USA Network has given 10-episode series orders to two medical dramas whose protagonists share DNA with the lead in Royal Pains, ER physician-turned-concierge doctor Hank Lawson. Rush, from writer-director Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, stars Tom Ellis as on-call doctor. Complications, from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix and Fox TV Studios, stars Jason O’Mara as an ER doctor. It’s been a big week for Nix with two series pickups, comedy The Comedians at FX and now Complications.
Related: 2014 USA Network Pilots
Complications appears to be part of a two-project deal between USA and FtvS that also includes the renewal of White Collar for a six-episode sixth season, which we scooped last night. As usual, USA does not acknowledge whether this is White Collar‘s final season and likely will make the announcement closer to the show’s airing, as it most recently did with Psych.
One of USA Network‘s signature series, drama White Collar, is poised to wrap its run with a six-episode sixth and final season. There is no official word yet, but I hear the network and series producer Fox TV Studios are finalizing the deal. The size of the order looks like a compromise between a movie/mini-series conclusion USA had been considering and a full-length season, sought by producer FfvS. Season 5 ended with a cliffhanger involving the abduction of Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer). All of USA’s other established series — Monk, Burn Notice (also produced by FtvS), Psych and In Plain Sight — also had received a proper send-off. Moved to fall for the first time since its first season, White Collar got dinged up against in-season competition but rebounded in January when the conclusion of Season 5 averaged 2.8 million viewers in Live+Same Day, up 22% from fall, and 955,000 adults 18-49, up 32%.
Anne Heche (Save Me) has been tapped as a series regular on USA Network’s six-episode event series DIG, an action adventure drama from Heroes creator Tim Kring and Gideon Raff, creator of the Israeli series on which Showtime’s Homeland was based. Kring and Raff co-created DIG, which centers on Peter (Jason Isaacs), an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of a woman archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. The series is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. It will premiere on USA later this year. Heche will play Lynn, the head of the Jerusalem FBI office and Peter’s boss. She is also his only friend and occasional lover. Despite her sense of humor and soft side, Lynn is tough and isn’t afraid to take her team — including Peter — to task when they slip up. Heche, repped by UTA and Untitled, is coming off the film Arthur Newman opposite Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. She also created the NBC series Bad Judge, currently in production and starring Kate Walsh.
USA Network‘s new comedy Playing House will debut on Tuesday, April 29 at 10 PM with two back-to-back episodes, immediately following Modern Family. Following the premiere, the series will resume with a new half-hour episode every Tuesday beginning May 6 at 10 PM. Inspired by the ultra-close friendship between Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, Playing House centers on mother to-be Maggie (Parham) who asks her single and career-driven best friend Emma (St. Clair) to return home from her job overseas to attend her baby shower, having no idea what’s truly in store. Playing House is a follow-up to the pair’s NBC comedy series Best Friends Forever. They are exec producing along with Judah Miller (American Dad) and Scot Armstrong and Ravi Nandan of American Work though Universal Cable Prods. Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele), Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm In The Middle), Brad Morris (Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World), Zach Woods (The Office) and Gerry Bednob (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) also star.
After fielding some half dozen TV offers, former Awake star Jason Isaacs has signed on as the lead of USA Network’s six-episode event series DIG, an action adventure drama from Heroes creator Tim Kring and Gideon Raff, creator of the Israeli series on which Showtime’s Homeland was based. Kring and Raff co-created DIG, which centers on Peter (Isaacs), an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of a woman archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. The series is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. It will start filming in Jerusalem and other oversees locations in May for a premiere on USA later this year. Kring and Raff are exec producing with Keshet Media Group CEO Avi Nir and Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein. Isaacs, repped by Gersh, Silver Lining Entertainment and and Karl Austen, is filming NBC’s miniseries Rosemary’s Baby and indie Stockholm, Pennsylvania. He was at the Berlin Film Festival last week with his film Things People Do.
EXCLUSIVE: In his first regular TV gig since The Office, Oscar Nuñez has joined the cast of newly picked-up USA Network single-camera comedy series Benched, from ABC Signature and the Mark Gordon Co. The courtroom comedy focuses on Nina (Eliza Coupe), a dedicated, career-driven corporate attorney who has a very public nervous breakdown after getting passed up for an expected promotion, and finds herself working as a public defender. Nuñez will play a public defender and colleague in Nina’s new office. Jay Harrington co-stars. Groundlings alum Nuñez, repped by Stone Manners Salners and Omnipop, is best known for playing Oscar Martinez on NBC’s The Office for the series’ entire nine-season run. He will next be seen in The 33.
By this time, USA Network series White Collar would normally be deeply in preproduction, getting ready to start filming in March. But not this year. It’s already mid-February, and there is still no decision on the future of the buddy crime drama whose most recent fifth season ended two weeks ago. I hear there has been some communication between USA and White Collar producer Fox TV Studios but no meaningful dialogue so far. Given the way Season 5 ended — with a cliffhanger involving the abduction of Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) — it is safe to assume that there will be some sort of continuation, likely a conclusion for the series. The question is what that sixth and final installment will be. I hear the network has been mulling a short miniseries to wrap the story in the vein of Showtime’s The Big C, while the studio would prefer a traditional final season. While Collar‘s status as one of USA’s signature series would weigh in favor of the second option. All of USA’s other established series – Monk, Burn Notice (also produced by FtvS), Psych and In Plain Sight — have received a proper send-off with a final season (While USA prefers to announce the end of its series when their last seasons hit the air for tune-in reasons, all producers are told at the time of the final renewal so they can plan …
I’ve learned that two of USA Network‘s pilots, drama Horizon and comedy Divide & Conquer, are not going forward. The pilots, both from Universal Cable Prods., are being shopped elsewhere. Horizon was a big swing and a major departure for USA, being a period alien drama. Written by Bridget Tyler, exec produced by The Walking Dead‘s Gale Anne Hurd and directed by Yves Simoneau, Horizon is set during the height of World War II when a secretary at the FBI (Ruth Bradley) becomes the only person standing between Earth and an alien invasion. Penned by Peter Ocko, Divide & Conquer was clearly eyed as a companion to USA’s high-profile acquisition Modern Family. It too is a family comedy, about four children on a path to adulthood and their parents. USA has four other drama pilots, Complications, The Novice, Rush and Sean Jablonski, and one comedy, Love Is Dead, as half-hour pilot Benched was recently picked up to series.
USA Network today formally announced that the current eighth season of Psych is its last, and the March 26 finale is a series finale. It will be followed by the Psych After Show, a one-hour live show in front of a studio audience that will feature a Q&A with the cast and show creator Steve Franks. “Psych has made an indelible imprint on the television landscape, with a unique brand of comedy,” said Chris McCumber, president of USA Network. “The final season celebrates the iconic characters that have made this show so beloved, and will be an exclamation point on the series’ incredible run.” Added Jeff Wachtel, President and Chief Content Officer, NBCU Cable Entertainment: “Psych is one of those rare projects that broke into the cultural mainstream. Its wild energy, fearless fun and engaging characters delivered an unrivaled series that will continue to be loved by fans for as long as there are ways to watch TV.” Psych‘s coming to an end is not a surprise, and several cast members had already moved on, including Timothy Omundson, who just booked a lead role in the ABC comedy pilot Galavant.
Stars James Roday and Dule Hill made the announcement today via video (check it out below):
Strong State of the Union ratings and a busy news week were very good to Fox News Channel last week. For the first time since the week of the Boston Marathon bombing last April, the channel was No. 1 in cable among primetime viewers. For the week of January 27-February 2, Fox News averaged 2.265 million viewers in prime with a 1.8 household rating. With the exception of some election coverage weeks, this is only the second time Fox News has come in the top spot since 2005. Typically first-place USA Network was No. 2 among ad-supported cable networks last week with 2.214 million viewers, while ESPN was in the third spot with 2.078 million. History was fourth with 2.022 million and TBS was in fifth place with 1.837 million viewers over the week. Last week also marked the best result FNC has seen since it revamped its primetime lineup for the first time in years and added The Kelly File on October 7 last year.
The exec who led content strategy and editorial for the launch of Hulu is returning the NBCUniversal family. Jeffrey Kaufman has been named SVP Digital at USA Network, where he will oversee product development, monetization strategies and content development for the cable net’s digital properties. He most recently was SVP Digital Video at Alloy Entertainment, where he helped launch the popular YouTube channel Smosh. He also led the how-to video site Howcast after having started his career at MTV Networks. “Data and consumer insights are becoming increasingly important in how we create compelling user experiences and value for our partners,” said Alexandra Shapiro, USA’s EVP Brand Marketing and Strategy. “Jeffrey’s varied expertise in the digital space, combined with his research background, make him perfectly positioned to lead USA’s digital strategy,”
USA Network has given a series order to comedy pilot Benched starring Eliza Coupe and Jay Harrington. The single-camera project hails from ABC Signature, marking the first series for ABC Studios’ boutique division. “Benched is one of those unique series that creates an immediate connection with the audience,” said USA Network president Chris McCumber. “The lead is played brilliantly by Eliza Coupe, who has undeniable chemistry with Jay Harrington’s character. Benched is a half-hour courtroom comedy that focuses on Nina (Coupe), a dedicated, career-driven corporate attorney who has a very public nervous breakdown after getting passed up for an expected promotion, and finds herself working as a public defender. Harrington stars as Nina’s new colleague, Phil, a tall, dark and handsome, if not a little scruffy, public defender and avid gambler. With Happy Endings alumna Coupe, Benched brings to USA a piece of the cult comedy series that USA came close to acquiring last year following its cancellation by ABC. Benched was written by SNL alumna Michaela Watkins and Damon Jones who executive produce with Party Down co-creator John Enbom and Mark Gordon Co.’s Mark Gordon and Andrea Shay. Benched is part of USA’s push in original comedy series. The first show to come out of that effort, Denis Leary’s Sirens, debuts March 6.
TCA: ‘Suits’ Influencing Young Viewers To Go To Law School, Not Show Ass Crack, Cast Members Say (Video)
UPDATED WITH TCA TRAILER: The cast and creator of USA Network’s Suits came to the TCA Winter TV Press Tour this morning and talked about the show’s impact on the nation. “It was a White House Christmas party a year ago,” reminisced cast member Gina Torres. “It was one of those things – ‘Oh, my God. We are going to the White House!’ And it was like Comic-Con for lawyers… politicians start off as lawyers, or they start off as businessmen — they are running companies, or they have lots of lawyers in their lives, or whatever it is. And I walk into this thing, and whether it’s pages or whether it’s, you know, the congressman from this or that, and, then, the First Lady’s chief of staff, says, ‘I love your show. We love your show’,” Torres said. Her thought at the time: “Is the First Lady, is Michelle watching the show?”
Suits returns on Thursday, March 6 at 9 PM after a triumphant third quarter in which it was a Top 5 program in the demo among all of TV’s primetime scripted series. Last October, USA gave the hit legal drama a 16-episode fourth-season renewal, and series creator and showrunner Aaron Korsh signed an overall deal with Suits producer Universal Cable Prods to continue on the show and develop new scripted series.
UPDATED WITH TCA TRAILER: “[USA] said ‘OK, listen, you can’t show the horse actually getting a blowjob’, and we said, ‘We know we can’t show the horse getting the blowjob,’ but, secretly, we were, ‘F*ck! We can’t show the horse getting a blowjob!’ ” Denis Leary told TCA critics this morning when asked the difference between making Rescue Me for FX and making his new series, Sirens, for USA Network.
Leary and Bob Fisher came to the winter TV press tour to talk about Sirens, premiering March 6 at 10 PM after the return of Suits at 9 PM. It moves to a single episode at 10 PM the next week, paired with a Modern Family repeat at 10:30 PM. The single-camera comedy follows three Chicago EMTs played by Michael Mosley (Pan Am, Scrubs), Kevin Daniels (Modern Family), and Kevin Bigley. It’s based on a British series of same name. Leary’s business partner, Jim Serpico, was approached by the British producers, who were fans of Rescue Me, wondering if they wanted to adapt it for the U.S. “We really liked those guys, and USA was pillaging the cast of Rescue Me and putting them into shows,” Leary explained. So they decided “we can make some money off these USA people,” he said.
EXCLUSIVE: Back in July the USA Network legal drama star tweeted how he was “hooked” on the BBC America show. Well, now Patrick J. Adams is in Toronto today shooting a guest appearance for the upcoming second season of Orphan Black, I’ve learned. Suits’ Adams will play the character of Jesse on a yet undated episode of the clone-heavy sci-fi drama series. Described as a brave but regular guy, Jesse lands in a ton of trouble when the clone characters played by Tatiana Maslany enter his life. Season 2 of Orphan Black is set to debut on BBC America and Canada’s Space on April 19, 2014. Suits is scheduled to return for a third season on USA Network on March 6 next year. Adams is repped by UTA, Andy Corren Management and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
USA Network has set a midseason schedule, which includes drama Suits returning to Thursdays to lead into new comedy Sirens, USA’s first original half-hour comedy in a long time. White Collar also will air on Thursdays, while Psych‘s eighth season, expected to be the hourlong comedy’s last, will air on Wednesdays. The midseason premiere of Suits will be on Thursday, March 6 at 9 PM, followed by the debut of medical comedy Sirens, executive produced by Denis Leary, at 10 PM. (trailer below) Sirens will launch with two back-to-back episodes before switching to a single episode at 10 PM the following week, paired with a Modern Family repeat at 10:30 PM. Suits started on Thursday before moving to Tuesday. White Collar will start things off on Thursday, returning on hiatus on January 9, paired with Law & Order: SVU reruns. Season 8 of Psych will air on on Wednesdays, beginning on January 8. It is somewhat surprising that USA chose a drama, Suits, instead of a comedy like Psych or Modern Family as a lead-in for new comedy Sirens. “As a top cable drama, Suits has a huge following of young viewers making a perfect segue to Denis Leary and Bob Fisher’s brand of comedy,” said USA”s EVP Jackie de Crinis. “Both series feature sharp, witty banter from an ensemble of great characters.”
EXCLUSIVE: Actor and Daily Show correspondent, Aasif Mandvi has been cast in The Brink, HBO‘s comedy pilot directed by Jay Roach from a script by Roberto Benabib and Kim Benabib. Exec produced by Jerry Weintraub, The Brink is an epic dark comedy focusing on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander (Tim Robbins), a lowly Foreign Service officer (Jack Black); and an ace Navy fighter pilot. Mandvi, repped by ICM Partners and Sweet 180 Management, will play Rafiq Massoud, a young Pakistani employed by the U.S. embassy whose love of America runs as deep as his resentment. He will be seen next in Million Dollar Arm.
Katherine LaNasa (Deception) is set to co-star in USA Network’s untitled Sean Jablonski pilot. The project, from UCP, follows investment banker Neil Truman (Matt Passmore) and his wife, Grace (Stephanie Szostak), as they struggle to sift through their stagnant marriage, looking for the spark they once had. When Neil discovers that Grace has been seeing a debonaire male escort (Blair Redford) his entire world is turned upside down.