USA’s psyched over sleuth series

Project created by 'Daddy' scribe Franks

“Monk” will be getting company from another kooky sleuth about to set up shop at USA Network.

Cabler is finalizing a deal to pick up the one-hour dramedy “Psyche” to pilot, making it the first scripted series to move forward at USA since the NBC Universal merger.

Project, from feature scribe Steve Franks (“Big Daddy”) and Tagline Pictures, revolves around a psychic detective who’s only pretending to be psychic.

Pilot episode centers on a slacker raised to be a cop by a family of policemen but prevented by a teenage felony. As a grownup, he’s bored with odd jobs and passes time by exercising his sleuthing skills and phoning in tips to local police via the nightly news.

When his latest tip gets him arrested for being a little too accurate, he saves himself from jail by claiming to be psychic. Later, he’s recruited as the police department’s resident psychic, helping out on cases the cops think they can’t solve through ordinary means.

Tagline’s Kelly Kulchak, Chris Henze, J.B. Roberts and Ron West will exec produce alongside Banks. USA execs are said to be near a greenlight and eyeing a fall production start date for the cast-contingent project, USA’s first pilot order for a scripted skein since “Kojak.” Cabler greenlit yet-to-launch reality skein “Made in the U.S.A.” earlier this year (Daily Variety, Jan. 4).

USA head of programming Jeff Wachtel, who developed the project, is said to be in active development on several other scripts that could move forward to pilot by the end of summer.

Tagline is working on a slew of projects set up at ABC, NBC U and CBS, including the single-cam comedy “I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies)” and a Scott Baio series with HBO Independent Prods.

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