9:00am PT by Lacey Rose
USA Orders Family Comedy Pilot From 'Fairly Legal' Producer
USA is loading up on still more comedy.
Mere days after announcing it had ordered Sirens and Playing House to series, the top-rated cable network has greenlighted comedy pilot Divide & Conquer. The half-hour effort is being billed as a family comedy about love, support, attention and all the other things parents do to mess up their kids.
The pilot will get into the heads of a big family’s many members, including four children finding their way to adulthood in these complicated times and the parents whose lives they're sucking dry to get there. It's being written and executive produced by Peter Ocko (Fairly Legal, The Office), and will be produced by Universal Cable Productions.
The continued push into comedy comes as USA prepares to roll out big bet Modern Family in syndication in late September. USA co-presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel are hoping the single camera darling will be able to do for USA what multicamera juggernaut The Big Bang Theory has done for TBS. Working in their favor, as they're prone to pointing out: there's only an eight percent overlap between their cable network’s current viewership and fans who watch the top-rated series on ABC.
Similarly appealing is Modern Family's broad appeal, which allows USA to come out of the gate with two comedies that are different in tone and appeal with Sirens skewing more male and House more female. “With the benefit of Modern Family, and that’s of course the impetus for doing this, we have the good fortune of a show that’s so broad in its appeal that we can segment the shows that might follow it,” Wachtel explained in an interview last week, with McCumber adding that they are using the same filter with their comedies as they have with their dramas: “It really comes down to finding great, unforgettable characters.”
At this time, there is no strict timetable in place for USA's comedy brand, though Wachtel acknowledged that he’d like to ultimately house about four original comedies on his air. The first pair will not air until the first quarter of 2014, which will give Modern Family time to find an audience. As USA moves forward, pilot Love is Dead -- "the anti-rom-com, rom-com," as it's been dubbed -- is also in contention.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose