Cable net readies 'Eden,' 'Wild Card,' and 'Over/Under'
USA Network, basic cable’s No. 1 network, is using its healthy profits to mine a new lineup of shows.
Net has given pilot orders to three dramas: “Eden,” “Wild Card” and “Over/Under.” Add those to the three pilots previously announced, and USA is quickly ramping up its options for new series to launch over the next few years.
“The company (NBC Universal) is investing in our success,” original programming topper Jeff Wachtel told Daily Variety. “We need to step up our game. It’s not a new strategy, but if you want to maintain and build on what you’ve achieved, you better step up your game.”
“Eden,” from writers Ken and Mary Hanes, is produced by Universal Cable Prods. The show centers on a young hotel worker who, with the help of his escaped con-artist cousin, gets a job as the concierge at an elite Gotham hotel. Together they manage to provide the hotel guests with whatever they desire, at whatever the cost.
“Over/Under” is from both UCP and Fox Television Studios. Story centers on a day trader with a massive gambling problem who is fired from his job six months after a bad trade costs his firm millions. Shut out of the job market, he and his wife retreat to a neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification; he finds an unlikely partner and starts to turn his life around in an unexpected way. Show is written by Sheila Callaghan and exec produced by Dan Halsted.
Fox Television Studios-produced “Wild Card” is a procedural that looks at two Las Vegas lawyers who handle cases for their clients in different ways. Cary Brokaw will exec produce with Stephen Godchaux, who is also the writer.
In recent months, USA gave pilot orders to “Common Law,” “Necessary Roughness” and “A Legal Mind.”
With six pilots on the docket, Wachtel is quick to credit original scripted programming senior VP Bill McGoldrick as one of the architects in building the net’s lineup going forward.
Cabler is also making comedy a priority — Linda Bloodworth-Thomason half-hour script “Driven” was bought in May — but Wachtel said the three dramas announced Wednesday were ready to go and he didn’t want to hold them back.
On the reality side, Wachtel is talking to execs with strong backgrounds in the genre as USA aims to firm up the net’s nonscripted division. Cabler has had great success with professional wrestling but is looking to move beyond the mat.