USA adds originals to Saturday

Two new hour-long series join line-up

NEW YORK — The USA Network, which has harvested solid Nielsens with its three original primetime series on Sunday — “La Femme Nikita,” “Silk Stalkings” and “Pacific Blue” — will expand to Saturday night with two new hourlong series, starting in July 1998:

– “The Net,” an action hour based on the Sandra Bullock theatrical about a computer expert whose identity gets erased by a shadowy government bureau. Casting is under way, and Columbia TriStar TV Distribution will shoot the series in Vancouver. Executive producers are Irwin Winkler, Rob Cowan and Deborah Pratt.

– “Shades of Sin” (working title), a private-eye melodrama about an ex-cop who struggles with personal problems in the course of his work. Casting is still to be announced. Alliance Communications Corp. will film the series in Miami in association with Chesler-Perlmutter. Executive producers are Lewis Chesler and Steve Feke.

USA has given each series a 13-episode commitment. Sources say “Sin” may cost about $1.2 million because of the Miami shoot, whereas “Net” will come in at $1 million or so. USA, which has no stake in the back-end profits of either series, will pay license fees that should come to slightly less than half of the production’s costs, according to studio sources.

The network has already agreed to renew its three Sunday hours for another season.

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