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.
Fox’s ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ rebounds
Suddenly scripted series are the rage
Why TV is relying less on advertising
‘Houdini,’ here’s something to get out of
Tell us, what’s your take on automated buying?
Best tube bets this weekend
Little League World Series hits a home run
OOH spending grows, but more slowly
Cable overnights: ‘Chelsea’ goes out with a bang
NBC News president ruffles employees’ feathers
NBC wins Tuesday with growing reality shows
Fox head of sales Jean Rossi is leaving
Forecast: A good but not great 2014
- Colin Barlow rises to COO at GroupM Global
- Three rise in production and development at TLC
- Jonathan Stern becomes head of business development at Fusion
- Hunter Lewis becomes editor at Cooking Light
- Christian Baesler becomes president at Bauer Xcel Media
- Kent Ebersole becomes VP and GM at Active Interest Media
- Terry Duffy rises to group publisher at Palm Beach Media Group
- Chris Lencheski becomes head of sales at Back9Network
- Kei Huang becomes director of analytics at Keek
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren guesting on CBS's 'The Late Show'
This week’s cable ratings
This week’s broadcast ratings
This week’s top movies, songs and books
This week’s daypart ratings
This month’s new media traffic data
This week’s younger viewer ratings
Senior media buyer/planner job in Rochester
Needed: Receptionist for a media agency
Media buyer position in Greenville, SC
Digital media analyst job in Greenville, SC
Media planner/buyer opening in Detroit