USA brings in McNamara for McCormack starrer

USA Network is overhauling its Mary McCormack starrer “In Plain Sight,” bringing in John McNamara to serve as the show’s new showrunner.

As part of the hire, McNamara has also sealed a pact with “In Plain Sight” producer Universal Cable Prods. to develop new projects for the studio.

The “In Plain Sight” gig reps the first time McNamara has run a show that he didn’t create himself. The scribe’s past credits also include “The Fugitive” and “Eyes.” He has more recently consulted on several shows, including “Jericho.”

McNamara said he had been anxious for years to work with USA — but the timing was never right. Nonetheless, USA programming prexy Jeff Wachtel and former USA exec VP Jackie De Crinis had been pursuing McNamara for some time; the cabler recently came to him with “In Plain Sight.”

McNamara’s mid-1990s Fox series) “Profit” “remains one of the greatest shows in the history of TV,” Wachtel said. “He’s our USA Network prototype writer: He’s got a great sense of narrative drive, and it’s always based on character. He can do fun high-concept stuff but really keep it rooted.”

McNamara said he had already been watching “In Plain Sight” and signed on immediately.

“I’ve wanted to write something with a strong female lead but never had a good idea,” McNamara said.

McNamara replaces former showrunner David Maples, who created the show and will continue to receive a consultant credit. Also departing “Sight” (and getting a consultant credit) is exec producer Paul Stupin.

Change reps the first time USA has switched out the showrunner on one of its signature shows. Wachtel and McNamara praised Maples’ handling of the show, but Wachtel said he was looking at the opportunity to have McNamara expand “In Plain Sight’s” scope.

The conceit of “In Plain Sight” will remain the same: McCormack stars as Mary Shannon, a federal marshal who handles those in the Witness Protection Program from her office in Albuquerque; Frederick Weller stars opposite her as fellow marshal Marshall Mann.

But Wachtel and McNamara said the show will probably add a few new characters to the mix as viewers get to know more of McCormack’s backstory and more of the other marshals in the office.

More of the Witness Protection Program participants’ stories may also be examined, and Wachtel said the show will likely take more advantage of the stark, desert New Mexico landscape.

Production is expected to begin next January in Albuquerque for the show’s third season.

McNamara’s repped by WME.

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