EXCLUSIVE: Stephanie Szostak (Iron Man 3) and Blair Redford (90210) are set to co-star opposite Matt Passmore in USA Network’s untitled Sean Jablonski pilot. The project, from UCP, follows investment banker Neil Truman (Passmore) and his wife, Grace (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 (Redford) his entire world is turned upside down. As he gains a new perspective on life and what motivates women, Grace contemplates her own needs and whether her marriage is worth saving. Jablonski and Russ Krasnoff of Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment executive produce. The French-born Szostak, repped by UTA and manager Estelle Lasher, recently wrapped production on the Ricky Blitt/Peter Farrelly indie comedy Hit by Lightning. Redford, who has spent the last two seasons on The Lying Game, is repped by Greene & Assoc. and Luber/Roklin.
Modern Family finished its fourth consecutive best-comedy Emmy victory lap just in time to begin celebrating its successful launch in off-network syndication. In broadcast, the series nailed the second-biggest comedy syndication launch in the past five years. It trailed only Warner Bros TV’s CBS multi-cam comedy The Big Bang Theory’s 2011 launch in households, with a 1.5 HH rating. In 18-49 the 20th Century Fox series’ 0.8 rating ties BBT’s off-net unveiling. And, in 25-54, Modern Family (1.0 rating) edges out BBT’s syndie launch (0.9). In New York, the mockumentary hit increased the Fox O&O’s household ratings 54% at 7 PM and 20% at 7:30. In Los Angeles, with Modern Family, the Fox O&O jumped 75% and 32% in the same time periods.
The ensemble comedy, which airs initially on ABC, also made inroads in its USA Network debut Tuesday night. Over its three hours on USA, the Pritchett family saga young-ed up the NBCU cable net’s primetime by about 13 years, to a median age of 32.2, compared with 45 with Law & Order: SVU on the comparable night last year. Modern Family shed some of SVU’s older viewers – accounting for the USA’s overall drop from 1.58 million viewers in prime same night last year, to just under a million on Tuesday. But the 18-34 crowd jumped by 27%.
David Anders (Once Upon a Time, Vampire Diaries) is joining the cast of USA’s Necessary Roughness as a recurring for Season 3. He joins John Stamos, who recently signed on to appear in …
EXCLUSIVE: USA’s Burn Notice is beefing up the cast for the upcoming seventh and potentially final season. Jack Coleman (Heroes) and Stephen Martines (The Closer) …
CSI: NY‘s Hill Harper is joining the upcoming fourth season of of USA’s drama series Covert Affairs as a new series regular alongside Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett and Peter Gallagher. CSI:NY’s ninth season finale airs tonight on CBS, and by most accounts it will be a series finale as the CSI spinoff appears unlikely to return. CBS has not made a final decision, but I hear Harper’s deal was up at the end of this season, and he is moving on. He looked at a number of options, including pilots, but I hear he wanted to join a cable series that is on the air. Harper is a fan of Covert Affairs, and shares a bond with its creators Matt Corman and Chris Ord as all three went to Brown University.
EXCLUSIVE: USA has given a pilot presentation order to a single-camera comedy written by and starring Upright Citizens Brigade alums Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, the duo behind NBC’s Best Friends Forever. The Office‘s Zach Woods is eyed for another role in the project, directed by Jeffrey Blitz whose credits include The Office and Parks & Recreation. Like BFF, which also started as a presentation, the untitled USA project will be produced by Scot Armstrong and Ravi Nandan’s American Work. Universal Cable Prods. is the studio.
USA’s Suits is solidifying its status as the network’s next flagship series as it continues to build in the ratings, especially in the young demographics. While cable series normally perform worse in the winter against increased in-season competition than in the summer, Suits returned last night higher than …
USA Network has made its decision on Common Law official, pulling the plug on the freshman drama. “I can confirm to those who have asked that we are not renewing Common Law,” USA’s SVP Ted Linhart tweeted this afternoon. “Thanks to all the fans who watched and expressed their support.”
USA Network is doubling its bet on Jeff Eastin. The cable network has picked up to series Graceland, the new pilot from White Collar creator/executive producer Eastin. The one-hour drama, from Fox TV Studios, follows a group of diverse agents — from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and U.S. Customs — whose worlds collide while forced to live together in an undercover beach house in Southern California. Sean Daniel served as executive producer on the pilot, which was directed by Russell Fine. “Graceland is very much in our sweet spot — it has that fantastic and rich look associated with most of our shows, but we also want to go to very edgy and dark places with it,” USA co-president Jeff Wachtel said. “The characters’ day job takes them to places we haven’t gone with our original series.”
Eastin will run both Graceland and White Collar, whose fourth season premieres July 10, on the heels of what is shaping up to be a big opening for Magic Mike, which features White Collar star Matt Bomer. Because both series are with the same network, USA, and the same studio, FtvS, their schedules will be synched up so Eastin can give his full attention to both. That is the reason Graceland was picked up off-pattern. Eastin is already assembling a writing staff for the new series, with the goal to go into production shortly after filming on Season 4 of White Collar winds down. Graceland brings the number of FtvS-produced series on USA to three, along with White Collar and Burn Notice.
In its first upfront event during the traditional broadcast upfront week, USA Network kept it casual, with a party vibe — cocktails on the way in, a music performance to start, a whole music set to close the presentation, which was followed by more drinks, and no executives taking the stage. Instead, the network kept its tradition of having the stars of its series present the new shows and talk up its ratings performance.
The network also made some news, with WWE star John Cena announcing that, starting with WWE Monday Night Raw‘s 1000th episode on July 23, the show will permanently expand to three hours.
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.
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.
Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark’s USA series Political Animals has rounded out its cast with the addition of Adrian Pasdar as a recurring to appear in every episode. The six-episode series, from Warner Horizon, is slated to debut on July 15 and air in the Sunday 10 PM slot. Political Animals stars Sigourney Weaver as Elaine, a former First Lady and presidential candidate who tries to keep her family together while simultaneously dealing with crises of the State Department and a hungry DC journalist (Carla Gugino) who is bent on destroying her. Pasdar will play President Paul Garcetti, who defeated Elaine in the presidential primary and then appointed her as his Secretary of State.
Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park has sold 3 more series projects to USA, Fox and ABC Family. That brings the total number of shows the company has set up this year to 18. Prospect Parks’ latest projects, which have received scripted commitments, are all produced by Universal Cable Prods., extending the two companies’ existing relationship as co-producers of USA’s hit series Royal Pains. To complete the reunion, Prospect Park/UCP’ ABC Family project, a father-daughter drama set in the Governor’s office, is executive produced by Royal Pains co-creator/exec producer Andrew Lenchewski who has an overall deal with UCP. Prospect Park’s project for USA is an untitled action procedural from John Scott Shepherd (Life Or Something Like It). At Fox, the company has Home Court, a half-hour comedy from Frasier alum Saladin Patterson, who serves as a co-executive producer on UCP’s dramedy for USA Psych. This is UCP’s fourth script sale to Fox this season, along with Jason Tracey/Hypnotic’s Metropolitan, Zaken & Baxter/Hypnotic’s One Great Life; and a blind script by Laurie Silverstein. Here are descriptions of Prospect Park’s projects with UCP: