How USA’s Mr. Robot Hacked the Problem of Summer TV

The network’s big risk paid off

In a summer stuffed with more TV options than ever, the most buzzed about show wasn't Orange Is the New Black or True Detective, but Mr. Robot, USA's acclaimed new hacker drama. An antithesis to USA's usual "blue skies" formula, Mr. Robot grabbed fans early on (its massive prelinear debut drew 2.7 million viewers) including Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. Averaging 1.2 million in adults 18-49 each week in live-plus-three, it helped make USA summer's No. 1 cable entertainment network in the demo. The network also found success with another inventive experiment: a new VOD windowing strategy for Season 2 of comedy Playing House, in which each episode debuted on VOD a week before airing on USA. President Chris McCumber talked about the network's transformative summer.

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.