USA net­work seeks to beef up its line-up with a new, grit­tier im­age

The China Post - - ARTS - BY DAVID BAUDER

A vig­i­lante hacker, an in­va­sion of Los An­ge­les and a doc­tor who gets into a gun battle with gang mem­bers are fea­tured in dra­mas due to ap­pear on a grit­tier USA net­work within the next year.

The gen­eral-in­ter­est ca­ble net­work, try­ing to halt a decline in rat­ings, re­vealed pro­gram­ming plans with a marked shift away from the lighter pro­ce­dural fare of “Monk,” “Psych” and “Burn No­tice” of a few years back. USA is turn­ing to darker and, its ex­ec­u­tives clearly hope, more buz­zwor­thy shows with on­go­ing sto­ries.

Two will begin in June: “Mr. Robot,” a hacker drama that fea­tures Rami Malek and Chris­tian Slater, de­scribed as “The So­cial Net­work” meets “Fight Club.” The drama “Com­pli­ca­tions” is about a sub­ur­ban doc­tor who in­ter­venes in a drive-by shoot­ing, pick­ing up a gun and fir­ing back.

The more mys­te­ri­ous “Colony,” due this fall, re­unites “Lost” pro­ducer Carl­ton Cuse with star Josh Holloway for a show about fight­ing back in an oc­cu­pied L.A. What ex­actly is oc­cu­py­ing Los An­ge­les is un­clear.

Chris McCum­ber, pres­i­dent of USA, said the net­work wanted to ap­peal more to mil­len­ni­als and “re­flect the char­ac­ter and the spirit of the coun­try as we see it.”

‘We want to find those

un­ex­pected he­roes’

“We want to find those un­ex­pected he­roes that bravely con­front the odds and come out the other side in their own unique way,” he said.

He’d also like to find more view­ers. Dur­ing the past year, USA has av­er­aged 1.82 mil­lion view­ers in prime-time, down from 2.9 mil­lion three years ago, ac­cord­ing to the Nielsen com­pany. Like many ca­ble net­works, USA is fight­ing for an au­di­ence in light of in­creased com­pe­ti­tion from gam­ing, In­ter­net streams and other TV sources.

USA also seeks more buzz. The 1.82 mil­lion view­ers of prime-time USA pro­grams in­crease to 2.04 mil­lion when peo­ple who watch on DVRs, on de­mand or on­line within seven days are counted. That’s a rel­a­tively small jump in to­day’s tele­vi­sion world; the first episode of “Mad Men” last sea­son was seen by 2.27 mil­lion peo­ple on its first night, and the au­di­ence swelled to 3.92 mil­lion af­ter timeshift­ing within a week was added, Nielsen said.

Sam Es­mail, cre­ator of “Mr. Robot,” said that he would not have ex­pected USA to be in­ter­ested in his in­tense thriller, given what he knew about its pre­vi­ous pro­gram­ming. He was con­cerned that USA ex­ec­u­tives would want to change his idea or oth­er­wise com­pro­mise it.

But USA was more ag­gres­sive than other net­works in seek­ing his show, which is a se­lec­tion of the Tribeca Film Fes­ti­val. He con­cluded that USA was at an in­ter­est­ing tip­ping point and in­tent upon chang­ing its im­age.

“I feel lucky,” Es­mail said. “It’s kind of an in­ter­est­ing op­por­tu­nity. They’re giv­ing me as much con­trol as I want on my show.”

USA’s pack­age of pro­grams un­der devel­op­ment in­clude a comic book adventure, a sol­dier re­cruited into a world of crime, a dystopian drama and a show about friends get­ting into the legal cannabis busi­ness in Colorado. USA is also try­ing to in­crease live pro­gram­ming, and will pick up the WWE’s “Smack­down” from SyFy next year. NHL play­off hockey will also be shown on USA.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.