For USA, a new focus on laughs
Network orders its first two original comedies
May 17, 2013
USA Network spent a fortune on the syndication rights to the hit ABC comedy “Modern Family,” a reported $1.5 million per episode.
Now it’s planning to support that investment with a big push into comedy, a genre it’s never fully explored before.
At today’s upfront presentation to media buyers and planners, USA announced the pickup of its first two original half-hour comedies, as well as ordering another comedy pilot.
The two shows, which will launch in first quarter 2014, will complement the acquisition of “Family,” which debuts Sept. 24 at 8 p.m., and they mark a shift in strategy for USA, which is best known for its quirky dramas.
Though the network has finished No. 1 among total viewers for seven years, its viewership has declined as some of its top shows, such as “Burn Notice” and “Royal Pains,” age.
USA has long built around original hits, but after seeing the type of success TBS has had with off-network reruns of “The Big Bang Theory,” cable’s No. 1 comedy, it’s not hard to see what motivated USA to get into the repeat business.
The first new comedy is “Sirens,” from Denis Leary (“Rescue Me”) and Bob Fisher (“Wedding Crashers”). It follows a trio of EMTs in Chicago whose self-destructive personalities make the other parts of their lives difficult.
Leary won’t star but he did co-write the pilot.
“Playing House” focuses on two best friends who reunite as one of them is about to have a baby. It stars Jessica St. Clair (“Bridesmaids”) and Lennon Parham (“Accidentally On Purpose”), real-life BFFs who also co-wrote the pilot and executive produce the show.
The pilot order is for “Love is Dead,” about a company that will break things off with your significant other for you, for the right price.
USA will unveil other details of the schedule during today’s presentation, which is expected to include a new daytime show and several drama pilots in development.
USA averaged 2.98 million total viewers in primetime last year, according to Nielsen, off 9 percent from the previous year, and 1.09 million adults 18-49, down 13 percent.
It finished first on cable on both measures.
Estrella upfront: Spinoffs and summer talent shows
The secrets to advertising on Snapchat
What’s next in the Bill Cosby criminal case
CBS makes a clean sweep of the season
Surprise: ABC surges past NBC on final Monday
Billboard Music Awards tumble on Twitter
Imagine, cable TV brought to you by Hulu
Big trends of the Spanish-language upfronts
Maybe 100 percent viewability isn’t the goal
Expect disruption with new overtime rules
So what’s your take on the fall schedules?
Cold comfort: Oh what an NHL playoffs
Coming, the boom in social media video advertising
- Rachel Mercer becomes digital strategy director at Deutsch
- Becka Walter-Vigorito and Silmo Bonomi join VML
- Krysten de Quesada rises to account director at Pinta
- Kt Thayer becomes creative director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky
- María Martínez-Guzmán and Gabriela Tristán rise at Univision
- Keith Summa, George Lansbury and Alexis Madrigal rise at Fusion
- Dana Bowen becomes executive editor at Martha Stewart Living
- Dayne Damme becomes marketing director at Entercom
- Madelin Bosakewich becomes VP of sales at IBT Media
- George Grobar rises to COO at Penske Media Corp.
- Jim Shilale becomes global head of supply at Cuebiq
- Michael Azzolino becomes EVP of creative affairs at ITV Studios
This week’s top-rated movies, songs and books
This week’s daypart ratings
This week’s broadcast ratings
This week’s cable ratings
This month’s new media traffic data
This week’s younger viewer ratings
Freelance broadcast planner/buyer available
Assistant media buyer job in Fort Worth
Needed in Louisville: In-house media buyer
Memphis agency seeks a media planner
Needed: Globally conscious sales/marketing rep