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USA confirms its Tuesday night summer power play

Covert-affairs

USA Network has confirmed Variety’s report last month that it would use returning hit “White Collar” to help launch new drama “Covert Affairs” this summer.

As previously reported, “White Collar” will air at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, followed by “Covert Affair” at 10 p.m., starting July 13.

That makes for another busy summer at USA, where “Royal Pains” and “Burn Notice” return in June. Besides “White Collar” and “Covert Affairs,” “Psych” is also back in July.

Tuesdays are shaping up to be this summer’s battlezone, Stu Levine wrote in an April 22 story:

TNT’s Jason Lee-starrer “Memphis Beat” bows June 22 and A&E’s “The Glades,” a Florida-set crime procedural with a blue-sky touch, arrives on July 13.

Whether there’s enough of an audience to go around and satisfy everyone remains to be seen. Tuesday is the second biggest night of the week for TV viewing — behind Monday — and has been a successful one for originals on USA, FX and TNT.

Jeff Wachtel, USA prexy of original programming, said he knows “Covert Affairs” will face rougher terrain than USA encountered when “Monk” launched eight years ago — or even a couple of years back when “Burn Notice” bowed — but he said USA’s top standing means it’s not afraid of a challenge.

“You should always be concerned going into any new launch,” Wachtel said. “It’s not the clear sailing that we had for our summers before. There is more competition now and we don’t shrink from that.”

Tuesdays are also shaping up to be a jam-packed night for the broadcast networks this summer, as key reality skeins “Wipeout,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Big Brother” and “Hell’s Kitchen” are all on tap for the night.

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