The Glades star Matt Passmore is set as the lead of another potential basic cable drama series. Passmore will topline USA Network’s untitled Sean Jablonski pilot, which centers on Neil Truman (Passmore), an investment banker …
A month after Burn Notice wrapped its seven-season run on USA Network, the series’ creator Matt Nix is eying a return to USA’s primetime with gritty medical drama Complications. The project, from Burn Notice producer Fox TV Studios where Nix is under an overall deal, is one of three drama pilot orders at USA, along with two projects for FtvS corporate sibling Fox21: Novice, from Hell On Wheels creators Joe and Tony Gayton, and Rush, from filmmaker Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies). The three pilots join the recently ordered untitled Sean Jablonski hourlong pilot as well as period/sci-fi drama pilot Horizon, now in production, as the network is ramping up development with some of its long-running shows coming to an end. Burn Notice is over, with Psych expected to follow it out the door with its upcoming final season. Meanwhile the future of Necessary Roughness is uncertain. The bet on Nix’s Complications mirrors USA’s strategy with new drama Graceland, recently renewed for a second season, which comes from the creator of another of USA’s signature series, White Collar‘s Jeff Eastin. The new pickups also expand USA’s efforts to break out of the network’s blue sky, popcorn entertainment comfort zone with grittier, darker projects. “These pilots illustrate our continued commitment to creating the next evolution of powerful original dramas for which USA is well known,” said USA president Chris McCumber. “This particular mix of dramas comes from some of the top writers and producers in the industry, each of whom bring a distinct point of view and unique talent for developing high stakes storylines and compelling characters.” Here are details about the three newly picked up pilots:
Two days before Graceland‘s first-season finale, the USA Network drama from White Collar creator Jeff Eastin has received a 13-episode second-season renewal. Graceland, which represents edgier fare than the blue sky series USA has become known for, got off to an OK though not great ratings start in June with 3.3 million total viewers and 1 million adults 18-49 against Game 1 of the NBA Finals. With high double-digit Live+7 bumps, Graceland has averaged 4 million total viewers (+74%) and 1.8 million adults 18-49 (+90%) in its most current ratings, ranking as the No. 1 new cable scripted series of the summer in 18-49. “Jeff Eastin has once again delivered for USA Network,” said USA President Chris McCumber. “We’re proud to be the home of one of the summer’s top new cable dramas and anticipate Graceland will be a long-term player for the network.”
USA’s Jeff Wachtel Named President & Chief Content Officer, NBCU Cable Entertainment; Chris McCumber Becomes USA President
EXCLUSIVE: USA Network veteran Jeff Wachtel is getting a bigger role in the recently merged NBCUniversal entertainment cable operations under chairman Bonnie Hammer. Wachtel, most recently co-president of USA and co-head, original content, Universal Cable Prods, has been promoted to the newly created position of President and Chief Content Officer, NBCU Cable Entertainment. In that role, Wachtel will serve as a creative point of entry for the company’s entire portfolio of 12 networks, taking in pitches that he would then recommend to the brand(s) for which he feels they’d be the best suited. In doing so, Wachtel will work closely with the presidents and development teams at each network. He also will assume sole oversight of NBCU Cable Entertainment’s production entities — Universal Cable Prods for scripted series and Wilshire Studios for unscripted shows. Wachtel most recently co-ran UCP with Syfy’s Mark Stern. In his new role, Wachtel will work closely with Steve Dolcemaschio, who will become Chief Operating Officer of UCP and Wilshire Studios.
Chris McCumber, who had served as co-president of USA alongside Wachtel since 2011, has now been named sole president of the cable network, which has been No. 1 for the past seven years. He is a 12-year USA veteran, having joined in 2001 as SVP On-Air Promotion. “Over the past two and a half years as co-president, Chris has proven himself a fantastic leader with a deep understanding of the enormous strength and equity of the USA brand,” Hammer said. “He is perfectly positioned to shepherd USA into an exciting new chapter.”
On the heels of ordering five additional scripts of veteran Psych in April, USA Network has greenlighted two additional episodes for the dramedy’s upcoming eighth season. That brings the total order for what most likely will be Psych‘s final season to 10 episodes. For one of the extra episodes, USA brass picked among the five extra scripts. For the other, the network is letting fans choose from three episodic storylines. The script for the one that gets the most votes will be produced, with the winning premise getting announced at the Psych Comic-Con panel on July 18 hosted by returning guest star Cary Elwes.
USA originally ordered eight episodes for Season 8 in December, ahead of the show’s delayed seventh season, which did very well. Female lead Maggie Lawson’s ABC pilot Back In The Game was picked up to series, so she will only be available to do up to five episodes of Psych in Season 8. Here are the storylines Psych fans can vote on starting tomorrow: