CHARACTERS WELCOME AS USA NETWORK ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT SLATE
NEW YORK -- May 9, 2006 -- USA Network's Jeff Wachtel, executive vice president, original programming, announced today an aggressive development slate for programming built around strong, relatable characters that will make a welcome addition to USA's current roster of critically acclaimed and highly rated projects.
"With this slate of scripted programming, our goal is to continue introducing our audience to ordinary, everyday people who live under incredible circumstances," explained Wachtel. "These characters and the respective projects fit perfectly within USA's brand and will be extremely compatible with our current slate."
Already a leader in basic cable scripted series, USA will follow up this summer on the successes of MONK, THE 4400 and THE DEAD ZONE. This July, the network is launching PSYCH, a quick-witted one-hour drama, which will premiere in the timeslot immediately following Monk.
James Roday stars as a young police consultant who solves crimes with powers of observation so acute the precinct detectives think he's psychic -- at least that's what he lets them believe. The series also stars Dul? Hill as best friend and reluctant sidekick, and Corbin Bernsen as the disapproving father, who ironically was the one who honed his son's "observation" skills as a child. The series is executive produced by Steve Franks ("Big Daddy"), in association with Tagline Pictures' Kelly Kulchack and Chris Henze and NBC Universal Television Studios.
The following are previously announced pilots in various stages of production:
UNDERFUNDED is a one-hour pilot about the best agent in the little known Canadian Secret Service (yes, they have one too). Mather Zickel stars as the agent whose brilliance in the field compensates for the woefully underfunded agency's lack of resources, both high- and low-tech. As he goes about his duties, the constant indignities he faces as a result of his agency's inadequate budget causes him much frustration with comedic results. John Fortenberry ("Arrested Development," "Everybody Loves Raymond") directs with Rick Kellard ("Maximum Bob") executive producing. David Breckman ("Monk," "Saturday Night Live") & Ross Abrash ("The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson," Real Time with Bill Maher") write and co-executive produce the project, which is produced by NBC Universal Television Studios.
IN PLAIN SIGHT
The story revolves around a woman with a high-impact, high-risk job that she can't tell her family about. She's a Federal Marshall in the Witness Protection program; however, her family and friends think she's a glorified meter maid. She must manage relocated federal witnesses - people who had the misfortune of witnessing a crime or falling victim to one, and testifying meant changing identities and relocating. All of these people have one thing in common - someone wants them dead. Mary's job is to see that doesn't happen. Mary McCormack stars and Lesley Ann Warren plays her mother in this dramedy from NBC Universal TV Studios directed by Mark Piznarski ("Veronica Mars," "Everwood"). David Maples ("Home Improvement," "Huff") penned the project and also serves as executive producer along with Paul Stupin ("Dawson's Creek," "Beautiful People").
The following are previously announced projects in development:
This limited series, based on the best-selling novel by Gigi Levangie Grazer, is a sexy, savvy and wickedly funny tour de force about life after divorce and one woman redefining herself after years of marriage to a Hollywood studio head. With her signature wit, sassy style and cameos of the rich and famous -- and wannabe rich and famous -- Grazer tackles the most delicious and dastardly details of a divorce and recovery, Hollywood style. The project will be executive produced by Grazer and penned by the writing team of Sara Parriott & Josann McGibbon ("Runaway Bride") who will also serve as executive producers and produced by NBC Universal Television Studios. Stephanie Davis ("The Caveman's Valentine") and Howard Klein ("The Office," "Carnivale") will also serve as executive producers for 3 Arts.
USA also announces four new projects � one limited series and three one-hour dramas - each with a unified vision encompassing unique character development:
A six-hour limited series from Mel Gibson's Icon (Con Artists) Productions, PEACE OUT is the true story of two twenty-something party guys who travel to the least likely destination on earth � Iraq, after the fall of Baghdad � looking for their next adventure. A biting and brilliant character comedy in a dark and difficult setting, PEACE OUT is a contemporary "M*A*S*H. Written by Peter Gould.
STUCK IN PARADISE (one hour series)
After the worst day of his life, a man who never does anything impulsively signs up to become a tennis pro at a tropical resort. After realizing that paradise is not all it's cracked up to be, he discovers that he signed his life away in an ironclad contract. From NBC Universal Television Studios and Davis Entertainment, written by Harris Goldberg, executive produced by John Davis and co-produced by Amy Palmer.
TO LOVE AND DIE IN L.A. (one hour series)
A fun-loving thirty-something with abandonment issues becomes convinced that her dating problems will be resolved if she can only track down the father she never knew. When she finds him, she discovers that he's an assassin and that she may have found her calling. From NBC Universal Television Studios and Broadway Video, executive produced by Lorne Michaels, Andrew Singer and David Kanter, written and executive produced by Sara Goodman.
BURN NOTICE (one hour series)
When spies get fired, they don't get a letter from human resources. Michael Weston got a "burn notice" and became untouchable � and he has no idea what or who triggered his demise. Determined to find out the reason for his sudden termination � but unable to utilize his normal contacts and needing to stay under the spy network radar - he puts his Special Ops training to use to help those who the police can't or won't, in order to fund his ongoing personal investigation. From Fox Television Studios and Fuse Entertainment, executive produced by Mikkel Bondesen, written and co-executive produced by Matt Nix.
USA is also developing a new version of the popular 'telenovela' or serialized drama genre, which is being approached with a unique scheduling twist. Each week, USA will run three half hour episodes of a late night soap that will wrap up after a 13 week run:
A fun riff on the classic story "The Count of Monte Cristo" set in the rich and beautiful world of the Hamptons. When a mysterious man has bought the most impressive mansion in the Hamptons a group of long-time friends with a shared secret past find their lives forever affected by his presence. From Fox 21, written and executive produced by Andy Fickman ("Reefer Madness," "Who's Your Daddy") & Rick Draughon ("Days of Our Lives, "Another World").
SECRETS OF THE SPA
A breathtaking brand new spa on the outskirts of a desert community services both the jet-set flyovers as well as suburban locals looking for an oasis of calm. Spa owner Jeanne runs her empire of escapism with a publicly gracious but privately iron hand. The spa staff is an eclectic group with its own secrets and skeletons. When a handsome young doctor is hired as the spa's medical consultant, he discovers health hazards and threatens to close down the spa. With a soapy nod to Ibsen's Enemy of the People, this late night soap exposes the delicious, darker underbelly beneath a fabulous and glamorous facade. Perhaps this haven might just turn out to be a mirage. From World of Wonder, written and executive produced by Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato ("Party Monster," "The Eyes of Tammy Faye").
USA NETWORK is cable television's leading provider of original series and feature movies, sports and entertainment events, off-net television shows, and blockbuster theatrical films. The #1 basic cable network across the board in 1Q06, USA Network is seen in 90 million U.S. homes. The USA Network Web site is located at www.usanetwork.com. Characters Welcome.
USA Network is a program service of NBC Universal Cable a division of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.