USA Evaluates Its Series


Riding strong performances from a couple of its incumbent original series, USA Network has high hopes for its newest entry, The 4400, to debut later this month.

The six-episode “event” series — about the lives of 4,400 people believed abducted by aliens, who are returned to Earth — is the type of unique show that has attracted viewers to USA's established hit series, The Dead Zone and Monk, said USA executive vice president of series and long-form programming Jeff Wachtel.

Wachtel said the limited series, which bows July 11, could eventually return as a regularly scheduled series for USA.

“It's a fresh, witty concept with a really good cast and we hope that this will sustain and build an audience as well,” Wachtel said.

USA hopes the show will fare better than its last original-series offering, Touching Evil. The drama, which stars Jeffrey Donovan as a detective who returns to work after he's shot in the head, averaged a disappointing 1.5 household rating for its 12-episode run, which began in March.

Wachtel said the network has not decided whether to get in touch with the show again.

“We're looking at reasons why audiences didn't come to it in greater numbers,” Wachtel said. “We thought it was really well-executed, but right now it's up in the air.”

If it does return, it would join Dead Zone and Monk as USA original-series staples. Both of the three-year-old series are still performing admirably.

Despite a ratings dip in its second year, Dead Zone has all but curbed the slide it suffered during its sophomore campaign. Through four episodes, the supernatural series starring Michael Anthony Hall is averaging a 2.3 rating, even with last year.

After two episodes, Monk, which stars Emmy Award winning Tony Shalhoub as a detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder, is averaging a 4.2 rating, which includes a series record-setting 4.5 rating for its June 18 third-season debut.

Wachtel credited Monk and Dead Zone's strong story lines and production quality.