A few years ago the USA network declared it would be getting in the half-hour comedy game. They picked up a series called Paging Dr. Freed, and then nothing ever happened. They continued to churn out “bright skies dramas,” each with a hint of quirk developed into their characters, but they did not put anything less than an hour on air. Then earlier this year things changed. They acquired the syndication rights to ABC’s Modern Family. Suddenly, we had to sit up and pay attention. Something would have to be paired with it, right? But would it be an original or another series they would be rerunning? Today we have the answer. USA held their annual upfront presentation and ordered two new half-hours to series: Sirens from Denis Leary and Playing House from BFFs‘ Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair.
“With Modern Family joining our lineup in the fall, we can leverage television’s most popular comedy to serve as a powerful launch pad for new originals in this genre,” USA’s co-president Chris McCumber said..
Sirens follows three of Chicago’s best EMTs whose “sometimes silly, self-righteous and even self-destructive personalities make them unqualified for sustaining relationships, friendships, and most occupations”. They are, however, uniquely qualified for saving anyone who winds up in their ambulance. Michael Mosley, Kevin Daniels, Jessica McNamee, and Kevin Bigley star in the series, whose pilot was written by Leary and Bob Fisher.
Playing House is yet another take on BFFs in that it centers on two best friends brought back together by a big life change. In this case, it’s a baby shower for Parham’s character, who asks her single and career-driven bestie (St. Clair) to return from overseas to attend. Parham and St. Clair wrote the project, again, for themselves.
USA also ordered another half-hour pilot to consider to join the slate. Love Is Dead is based on the award-winning French short film of the same name and set at a unique company that specializes in breaking up romantic relationships, in a professional manner, on behalf of those who are willing to pay to not be around when it happens.
And in case you were wondering, Paging Dr. Freed is still said to be in contention for the network, but it’s been so many years, it would have to be retooled (and probably recast) greatly to fit.
Sirens and Playing House will premiere in the first quarter of 2014 as companions to Modern Family, which is set to premiere on USA on September 24 2013.
Will you watch either of these?
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