After news last week that USA has spent upwards of six months purchasing a number of new scripted comedies—the first comedies for the network in over a decade—USA went into some (though not too much) detail about what some of those comedies will actually be. The shows previewed last night were the first slate announced since Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel took over as co-presidents of the network in mid-March.
The new scripted comedies include a single-camera half-hour called On We Go, starring Nathan Lane (as a struggling actor whose career is marred by the fact that he bears a resemblance to actor Nathan Lane), and Big in Japan, also a half-hour comedy about a boy band that has decided to reunite after two decades of inactivity.
New dramas were on display as well, including a cop drama called Common Law, about two dysfunctional police officers struggling to fight crime and work together, and Eden, about the travails of a five-star hotel concierge.
These two shows will join USA's returning lineup, which includes hits like White Collar and Burn Notice. At one point during the upfront, actress Sarah Shahi took the stage to announce that her show Fairly Legal was being picked up for a second season. This was the first public confirmation that Shahi's show would indeed be returning to the USA lineup, though it seemed all but certain in recent weeks.
The USA event was one of the last of the big cable upfronts for the season and the network clearly spared no expense. The event was held at Lincoln Center at a series of tents next to the Metropolitan Opera (where last night, James Levine was conducting Richard Wagner's Die Walküre). A performance by singer Janelle Monae followed the presentation.
Notably absent from any of the evening's presentations were USA executives—all of the shows were introduced by the stars of the current lineup in keeping with the network's character-focused brand.