At their Upfront presentation in New York today, USA Network unveiled a range of new drama series in development from such creative auspices as Charlize Theron, Rob Reiner, Barry Sonnenfeld, Eric Kripke, Aaron Korsh and Catherine Hardwicke, among others.
The nine drama projects cover a wide range of genres and include: a period drama set in 1940s Hollywood; a serialized workplace drama set in the high stakes world of international architecture and design; another period drama set in 1969 at Yale University and a genre series in which everything we believe to be myth turns out to be a guarded truth that has been concealed by members of two opposing groups.
In addition to the nine drama series, USA Network also announced that they are developing a limited event series titled The Recessionistas, which is set in the world of Wall Street in the wake of the 2008 crash. The move suggests that USA has not soured on limited event series, despite the fact that the last two efforts (Political Animals and Dig) failed to connect with audiences.
Elsewhere, USA said that they were developing an unscripted series with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and had poached WWE Smackdown from sister net Syfy – with the series set to premiere on USA Network in 2016. Finally, the network has handed out pilot orders to a Chrisley Knows Best spin-off and a talk show fronted by Todd Chrisley
Full details of USA Network’s development slate follows below:
Paradise Pictures is about ambitious people striving to get to the top in 1940s Hollywood, when the dream factory was at its peak. Little do they know the challenges they’re about to face: the end of studio monopolies, the blacklist and the new disruptive technology of television. From Universal Cable Productions, Paradise Pictures is written by Rick Muirragui (Suits). Muirragui executive produces the project along with Suits creator Aaron Korsh.
A serialized workplace drama set in the high stakes world of international architecture and design, Starchitects follows the embattled rise of a talented young architect taking on the cutthroat competition at a top tier firm based in Los Angeles. The project is from writer and executive producer Mark Steilen (“Mozart in the Jungle”) and executive producer Christina Wayne (“Copper”) and co-executive producer Miura Kite (“Game Change”). Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”) is attached to direct and also executive produces. Starchitects is from Endemol Shine Studios and Universal Cable Productions.
When a neurotic family man buys an online “smart pill” to increase his focus and jolt him out of his slump, he gets much more than he bargained for. To his surprise, the pill gives him incredible strength and power. The project examines both the mighty highs and humiliating lows of being a real-life super hero. Amped is based on the characters created for an upcoming comic book by Eric Kripke (“Supernatural,” “Revolution”) for DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint. Kripke will serve as executive producer/writer of Amped, from Kripke Enterprises in association with Warner Horizon Television.
The Tap takes place at Yale University in 1969 and explores the height of America’s cultural and political revolutions as one of its students, Jay Butler, is simultaneously recruited into the country’s two most secretive and powerful organizations, the CIA and Skull and Bones. The Tap is written and executive produced by Andrew Lenchewski (ROYAL PAINS) and Aaron Tracy (“Law & Order: SVU”). Rob Reiner (“When Harry Met Sally”), Alan Greisman (“The Bucket List”) and Charlie Ebersol (“The Profit”) will also executive produce, with Reiner attached to direct. This historical spy thriller is from Universal Cable Productions.
Mythos is a serialized adventure in which everything we believe to be myth turns out to be a guarded truth that has been concealed by members of two opposing groups — each with differing agendas for the fate of humanity. Caught in the middle is Nate Brigman, an ordinary man thrust into an extraordinary situation by the mysterious disappearance of his wife. This high stakes drama from Universal Cable Productions, is written by Spenser Cohen (“Macklemore’s Big Surprise”) and executive produced by Charlize Theron (“Monster”) and Laverne McKinnon (“CSI: Miami,”) from Denver & Delilah Productions, along with Anna Halberg (“Inner Demons”).
Written and executive produced by Carey and Shane Van Dyke (“Chernobyl Diaries”), AWOL deals with the gritty world of an ex-military operative who, after returning home, experiences trouble re-entering the real world and providing for his family. Desperate, he gets involved with the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles where he utilizes his military expertise in an unexpected way. AWOL is executive produced by Len Wiseman (“Sleepy Hollow,” “Total Recall”), Mike Connolly (“Hemlock Grove”) and Andrew Plotkin (“Related”). Wiseman is also attached to direct. The project comes from Fox 21 Television Studios.
Based on Karen Russell’s best-selling novel and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Swamplandia! is an offbeat family drama that centers on the Bigtrees, owners of Florida’s top alligator-wrestling theme park. The family is reeling from a recent tragedy and is struggling to maintain its livelihood when a competitor moves in across the swamp. Liz Tigelaar (“Life Unexpected”) is adapting the novel and executive producing the project. Barry Sonnenfeld (“Men in Black” franchise) will also executive produce and is attached to direct. Russell will serve as executive consultant. Swamplandia! hails from Tigelaar’s Best Day Ever, in association with Warner Horizon Television.
Cooley & The Tank
An homage to the decade that ushered in modern television, Cooley & The Tank goes behind-the-scenes of the fictional 1981 detective drama of the same name to explore the complicated lives of its two feuding stars. Daniel Arkin (“Alias”) is writing the pilot script with Anton Cropper (Suits). Arkin and Cropper will executive produce with Rain Management’s Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken. Cropper is also attached to direct. The project is from Universal Cable Productions.
Two best friends, a Wall Street broker and a struggling entrepreneur, team up to capitalize on the newly legalized cannabis enterprise in Colorado. The series follows the young duo as they enter into this highly lucrative growth industry, but their new venture is not without its obstacles such as dangerous criminals and stringent law enforcement. From writer and executive producer Josh Parkinson (“Eastbound & Down”) and executive producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura (“Transformers” franchise) and Dan McDermott (“Zero Hour,” “Human Target”), Mile High is from Legendary Television and Universal Cable Productions.
The Recessionistas (Limited Series)
Based on the book by Wall Street executive Alexandra Lebenthal, The Recessionistas is an ensemble drama that follows a group of elite Manhattan women and their ruthless Wall Street husbands as they adjust to the new world order in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. From Universal Cable Productions and writer/co-executive producer Melissa London Hilfers and executive producers Alan Gasmer (“Vikings”) and Peter Jaysen, The Recessionistas is being developed as a limited series.
The Rock Untitled Project (Alternative Development)
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (WWE, “Furious 7”) and Dany Garcia sign on to develop and executive produce an unscripted television series for USA Network. The project is from Garcia and Johnson’s 7 Bucks Productions.