CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- USA announced today it plans to split the second season of its original series "Monk" between the summer and winter months. Nine of its 16 episodes produced for the upcoming season will begin airing Fridays at 10:00/9:00c starting June 20 with the remaining seven set to bow at midseason.
No reason for the split was given however with the network now carrying three original series ("The Dead Zone" and the upcoming "Peacemakers" are the others) the need to spread out its resources over the calendar year is the likely culprit. By the end of July, USA will be airing new episodes of the trio ("Dead Zone" on Sundays starting July 6 and "Peacemakers" on Wednesdays starting July 30) each week.
As for "Monk," look for several high-profile guest stars in the new season including Betty Buckley as Sharona's (Bitty Schram) mother, Glenne Headly ("ER," "Dick Tracy") as Lt. Stottlemeyer's (Ted Levine) wife and a yet-to-be-cast actor as Adrian's (Tony Shalhoub) brother. Production has also been moved from Toronto to Los Angeles as the series has seen an increased budget for the new season.