USA Reveals Move Into Reality, Original Comedy At 'Suitless' Upfront

USA Network, which has found big audiences with dramas such as “Burn Notice” and “White Collar,” is making a push into original comedy after acquiring off-network rights to the hit sitcom “Modern Family.” The network is also getting into the reality business for the first time. The new programs were unveiled at the network’s upfront presentation in New York on Thursday afternoon.

The move into original comedy follows the network’s acquisition of the off-network rights to the hit ABC comedy “Modern Family.” USA will begin airing reruns of that comedy in the fall of 2013.

Original sitcoms being readied for the network include “Sirens” from Denis Leary, an adaption of a British sitcom about the chaotic world of paramedics. Also in the works is a sitcom entitled “Paging Dr. Freed,” about two brothers who take over their father’s medical practice after he dies.

Several other comedies are in development, including projects from Kelsey Grammer and BermanBraun.



USA held its so-called “suitless” upfront at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. While some presenters wore suits, none of them were from the USA executive ranks. Talent from the networks' shows such as “White Collar,” “Suits,” and “Royal Pains” made all the announcements.

The approach is unusual. While the other networks have talent at their upfronts, presentations are led by corporate and entertainment executives. But the USA tactic is certainly in line with the network’s tagline, “Characters Welcome.”

Some of the commentary was live and some was delivered by video clip. Steve Levitan, co-creator of "Modern Family," was shown in front of what looked like the home of one of the characters from the show, Jay Pritchett (played by Ed O’Neill) talked about how excited he was that the comedy was joining the USA lineup. 

On the reality front, pro football star Kurt Warner will host a series called “The Moment,” about people who get a second chance to pursue their life’s dream. Also on tap for next season is an adaptation of the British series “The Choir,” with host Gareth Malone, who travels to various cities and towns that have been hit by hard times to create local choirs as a source of inspiration.

The network also said it was expanding the Monday night wrestling show “Raw” to three hours.

On the drama front, the producers of “White Collar” are creating a new crime show called “Graceland,” about an elite team of law enforcement agents in Los Angeles. And debuting this summer is a political dramedy starring Sigourney Weaver entitled “Political Animals.” Several other dramas are in development, including a project from "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf.

The USA presentation also featured a live performance from musician/producer Mark Ronson, Erykah Badu and the Dap-Kings.

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