Top cable channel USA Network, which unveiled its characters welcome tagline five summers ago, is looking to deepen its bench of characters and original series, with seven new shows in various stages of development.
The top-ranked service, which shut the doors on long-running skein Monk earlier this year, has used the combination of acquired fare, WWE Entertainment's "Raw" franchise on Monday nights, plus such original series as Burn Notice, Royal Pains, White Collar, Psych, In Plain Sight, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent to secure its Nielsen perch.
USA, which is scheduled to adds Covert Affairs and Facing Kate to its lineup of summer originals series, is working with such notables as Steve Carell (The Office), John Michael Higgins (Best in Show) and Anthony Edwards (ER). Moreover, USA showrunners Steve Franks, creator of Psych and John McNamara, executive producer of In Plain Sight, plus Facing Kate writer Jan Nash, are in talks to develop projects.
"With the proven power of the ‘Characters Welcome' brand guiding our development, USA has produced a stunning track record of number one new original series for four consecutive years, and has grown the network into a trusted destination for quality programming," said Jeff Wachtel, original programming, USA Network and co-head, original content, Universal Cable Productions, in announcing the development slate "These new projects all combine strong characters and superior storytelling, offering viewers the kind of exceptionally written, aspirational originals they won't find anywhere else."
USA's development slate, six of which are from Universal Cable Productions, is as follows:
*A Legal Mind: One of Manhattan's top corporate lawyers goes on a recruiting trip and hires the only guy that impresses him, a brilliant but unmotivated college dropout. Now that the the 20-something is impersonating a bright young professional, he might even become a real adult. The show is from writer Aaron Korsh (The Deep End) and executive producers David Bartis and Gene Klein of Dutch Oven;
*Robyn: After her financier father's fraudulent dealings are exposed, a young woman realizes she's done nothing substantial with her own life. Initially attempting to be a do-gooder, she finds it much more satisfying to rip off the decadent wealthy. Rather than keep the proceeds for herself, though, she redistributes the wealth by giving it to the underclass. Becky Hartman Edwards (Parenthood,Life On Mars) is serving as executive producer/writer;
*Gay Walch Project: Karyn Burke, a suburban supermom to three kids, wakes up one morning and finds her husband has left town because he was in too deep to mob boss Tommy. Now, Karen's left to clean up his mess by paying off her husband's gambling debt and becoming Tommy's new "fixer." Executive producer is She Media's Burrad Marsh, while Gay Walch (Summerland) is the key writer:
*Stick: Chris "Stick" Blake is a player in the NHL prominently featured in the majority of the top 10 hockey fights on YouTube. Suspended from his team, he now has to attend court ordered anger management classes After an old friend shows up with a life-threatening problem, Stick focuses his considerable energies on solving it and discovers a new line of work-helping people that the law can't. The show is from writers Mark Altman & Steve Kriozere (Castle) and executive producers Steve Stark (Medium, Girlfriends) and Russ Buchholz (Facing Kate);
*"Insurance adjuster project": From Carell and Higgins, this project centers on Bob Welsh, a crusading middle class insurance investigator who proves that sometimes the dullest jobs are the most exciting as he ferrets out high stakes dramas;
*Cullen brothers project": Two estranged brothers end up on the same FBI task force. One is a by-the-book profiler who lived in his sibling's shadow, while the other is a shoot-first-ask-questions later type who must now report to his brother. Executive producers: Dave Broome (Biggest Loser) and Steven Burnett from 25/7 Productions; writers: Mark Cullen and Rob Cullen (Las Vegas);
*The Velvet Hammer: Houston-native Candy Carter returns home but she's not the same Texas debutante who left -- the divorced FBI agent now has two kids. Back home, she uses her brains and beauty to help out her fellow Texans, while returning to her Southern roots. From writers of The production is from Grand Central Entertainment with CBS Television Studios., with Gail Gilchriest and Kevin Murphy, executive producers Edwards and Cheryl Dolins.