What a bunch of characters! That point was driven home repeatedly at USA Network’s annual spring presentation to advertisers in New York Monday – that USA means what it says in its six-year-old tagline: “Characters welcome.”
A number of USA’s “characters” turned up to promote their own shows and announce new ones – among them: Matthew Bomer and Tim DeKay from “White Collar,” Mark Feuerstein of “Royal Pains,” Jeffrey Donovan from “Burn Notice” (with co-star Bruce Campbell providing catcalls from the audience), Dulé Hill and James Roday from “Psych,” Piper Perabo and Sendhil Ramamurthy from “Covert Affairs,” and Sarah Shahi of “Fairly Legal,” which got picked up for a second season that very day. (Shahi was so stunning in person that the guy next to me became so excited to see her that I thought he would pass out.)
Of course, we all know those shows – with their eccentric characters played by some of TV’s best-looking stars – but here’s some of what’s new and upcoming (or at least in development) on USA:
A couple of comedies: Yes, original half-hours are coming to USA. One of them is “On We Go,” a “one-camera” comedy (meaning that it’ll look documentary-style) starring Nathan Lane as a “an unlucky actor whose career has been perpetually cursed by the fact that he resembles, but is in fact not, Nathan Lane.” Who’s the executive producer of this series? Nathan Lane – the real one. And be on the lookout for this one: “Big in Japan,” about a has-been boy-band that reunites 20 years after their last, disastrous concert. Kara DioGuardi is a consulting producer. Of course, she’s also a judge (with Jewel) on the upcoming “Going Platinum” on Bravo – seems like leaving “American Idol” was the best thing that ever happened to Kara!
You be the judge (and jury): It’s TV’s first jury-room comedy – “We, the Jury,” a one-camera half-hour about a jury sequestered for a long murder trial. The reason this one interests us: We’re curious to learn how they’ll keep this show interesting if it is to take place within the confines of one room for the duration of its run.
Buddy up! More eccentric pairings on USA: Here come some more of those crazy USA characters. Look for “Common Law,” about two mismatched police-detective partners (one of them is played by Michael Ealy) whose relationship is so dysfunctional, they’re in couples counseling. Speaking of dysfunctional couples, also look for Callie Thorne and Craig Bierko in “Necessary Roughness,” an hourlong drama (light-hearted in the USA way, of course) in which Thorne and Bierko are a couple in the midst of a divorce, and she’s a newly minted therapist whose first patient is an NFL star (at least, this is what we think this show is about after watching a lengthy clip at the USA event).
In promoting itself at the event – which took place under a big tent pitched in the park alongside Manhattan’s Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center – USA declared that it is the “freshest, boldest, most-watched network on cable.”
After spending about two hours ogling all the beautiful USA stars and watching a few clips, who are we to argue with that?