TV Upfront

USA Pushes 'Modern Family' Arrival, Enters Original Sitcoms

Network Picks Up Two Original Half-Hour Comedies

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USA will expand into original sitcoms, the network said at its upfront presentation for advertisers on Thursday.

The cast of 'Psych: The Musical' performs at USA's upfront
The cast of 'Psych: The Musical' performs at USA's upfront Credit: Jeanine Poggi

The cable network, known for its light-hearted "blue-skies" dramas, introduced the two comedies, along with a "Psych" musical special and two new dramas at its pitch for the upcoming season.

But executives reserved the biggest fanfare for "Modern Family," a series that originated on ABC but which will run in syndication on USA starting in September. Linda Yaccarino, president of ad sales at USA parent NBC Universal declared it her favorite show, and USA talent appeared in a video welcoming "Modern Family" to USA's family.

The "Modern Family" cast also appeared in a video at the upfront imagining all the things they'd be able to do now that they are on cable, like curse and show nudity. (Unfortunately that sort of thing is reserved for shows that come from cable in the first place.)

"Modern Family," which NBC Universal plans to market across its portfolio of channels, will serve as a launch pad for USA's new original half-hour comedies: "Sirens," about EMTs, and "Playing House," about a businesswoman who quits her job to help her best friend raise a child.

USA is also beefing up its dramas with "The Arrangement," about a Colombian woman looking to make a fresh start who enters into an arranged married with a well-meaning politician. While "The Arrangement" fits in with USA's lighter dramas, however, "Horizon," is a darker World War II drama from "The Walking Dead" producer Gale Anne Hurd.

USA will also add several new reality series, including "The Choir" and "Partner in Crime," about two criminal defense attorneys from Staten Island, N.Y.

USA will try to put some muscle into its daytime too, bringing "Talk Stoop With Cat Greenleaf," which currently airs in taxi cabs, to the afternoons with a series of vignettes.

"Psych," which recently aired its 100th episode and is the longest-running show on the network, will air a musical special in the fall.

This is the first time NBC Universal will enter the upfronts with a sales team unified across platforms and networks. Last year, the broadcast, cable and digital ad sales teams were combined under one umbrella reporting to Ms. Yaccarino. "USA doesn't stand alone," she said at the event on Thursday.