USA lines up trio of projects

Also renews 'In Plain Sight,' sets 'Starter Wife' premiere

The CIA, the operating room and the morgue will serve as settings for three new projects in development at USA, the network said Sunday at the TCA press tour. In addition, the hiring of Mark Feuerstein to star in a pilot removes the cast contingency from "Royal Pains."

Feuerstein will play a doctor on call to the rich and famous in the pilot from The Firm and Universal Cable Productions. The project is exec produced by Rich Frank and Paul Frank and written and co-exec produced by Andrew Lenchewski. Jace Alexander will direct.

The three new projects, all with working titles:

-- "Covert Affairs," in which a CIA linguist is partnered with her ex-boyfriend. Written and co-exec produced by Matt Corman and Chris Ord, exec produced by Dave Bartis and Doug Liman, from Dutch Oven.

-- "Operating Instructions," about an inner-city surgeon home from Iraq. Written and exec produced by Judd Pillot and John Peaslee, exec produced by Conan O'Brien and David Kissinger, from Conaco and Universal Cable Studios.

-- "Stiffs," with a single father and body transporter for a morgue who solves crimes with his brother, a medical examiner. Written and co-exec produced by Craig O'Neill and Jason Tracey, exec produced by Peter Guber and Elizabeth Stephen.

The announcements were accompanied by other news items, including a renewal of "In Plain Sight," USA's summer series, for a second season. The series stars Mary McCormack as a U.S. marshal in the witness protection program. USA also announced that "Starter Wife," a new series based on USA's miniseries and the novel by Gigi Levangie Grazer and starring Debra Messing, will premiere Oct. 10.

USA will celebrate the 100th episode of "Monk" on Sept. 5 with nearly that many guest stars. The 100th episode show will include Eric McCormack, John Turturro, Howie Mandel, Sarah Silverman, Andy Richter, Brooke Adams and Sharon Lawrence, among others, many of them reprising guest roles on the detective series.

Sister cable channel Bravo used the day to unveil its new and returning programs including "American Artist" (working title), from producer Sarah Jessica Parker's Pretty Matches, Magical Elves and Eli Holzman. The series is a one-hour competition with aspiring artists hoping to win a gallery show and a cash prize. Other shows in development are "Fashion House," a competition of fashion designers and "Top Chef: Masters," a spinoff of the "Top Chef" competition.

Meanwhile, Oxygen announced it has picked up a third season of "The Bad Girls Club" and will expand the Bunim-Murray Production from a half hour to an hour with seven new "bad girls" being brought to a Los Angeles mansion for help with their outrageous behavior. In addition, Oxygen unveiled a new reality series, "Dance Your Ass Off," in which overweight contestants compete to lose weight through dance.
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