Breaking: USA picks up ‘Roughness,’ ‘Legal Mind’ to series

USA Network, continuing to expand its ever-burgeoning drama slate, has picked up two pilots to series.Macht

“A Legal Mind” which stars Patrick J. Adams, Gabriel Macht (right) and Meghan Markle, centers a young hotshot lawyer who doesn’t have a law degree but, with the help of a corporate attorney, uses his street smarts to serve justice and save both their jobs.

Creator Aaron Korsh wrote the pilot. Doug Liman and David Bartis exec produce for Universal Cable Prods.

“Necessary Roughness,” created by Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, focuses on a Long Island divorcee who gets a job as a therapist for a professional football team and struggles to find a balance between her personal and professional lives. Callie Thorne, who has had a recurring role in FX’s “Rescue Me” since 2004, plays the lead.

Sony Pictures Television and Universal Cable Prods. produce.

Including the pilot, both shows have received 12-episode orders and are scheduled to launch in the summer. Each will debut with a 90-minute premiere.

Jeff Wachtel, USA’s president of original programming, said while the net remains No. 1 in total viewers and in the 18-49 demo in cable, his job is make sure the programming doesn’t fall into a creative rut and can move beyond viewer expectations.

“We have a desire not to be just one thing. The hidden risk of success is trying to do what you did before,” Wachtel told Daily Variety. “‘Necessary Roughness’ has a bit of an emotional slant and the approach on ‘A Legal Mind’ is a little edgier, plus the lead isn’t particularly likeable. We’re certainly pushing out and appealing to a younger audience.”

Even with the two greenlights Wednesday, NBC Universal cabler still has four drama pilots on the shelf in which Wachtel and network topper Bonnie Hammer need to make decisions: “Eden,” “Wild Card,” “Over/Under” and “Common Law.”

With original skeins such as “Burn Notice” and “Psych” getting up there in age, Wachtel said it’s important to keep looking forward in order to keep the lineup fresh. He also added that comedy, reality and event programming will be a priority in 2012.

Net is actively looking to hire a reality exec to head its incoming nonscripted fare.

USA Network launches its newest drama, the Sarah Shahi-starrer “Fairly Legal,” Thursday night. Shahi plays a San Francisco mediator dealing with the death of her father and a stepmother as a boss.