USA Network Shelves Sniper Drama 'Shooter' — Again

USA Network's Shooter - H 2016
Dean Buscher/USA Network

USA is delaying Shooter yet again.

The unfortunately titled drama, which opens with the sound of a gunshot along with real-life images of historical incidents of gun violence, was previously delayed a week following the July 7 attack in downtown Dallas, where an armed sniper gunned down a cadre of police officers, leaving five of them dead. Now a week later, in the wake of still more tragedy in locales from Nice, France, to Baton Rouge, La, the NBCUniversal-owned cable network has decided to bench the series until the fall.

Shooter, which stars Ryan Phillippe and Omar Epps, is based on the 2007 Mark Wahlberg film of the same name. Much like the movie, the TV show centers on a U.S. veteran and American hero who is wrongly accused of a crime and is trying to clear his name and return to his family. It was originally scheduled to premiere at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19.

The series, which was ordered in February, hails from Paramount TV and Universal Cable Productions and counts Wahlberg as an executive producer. In recent months, USA has partnered with veterans’ groups, and Shooter is “Got Your 6” certified as a program that portrays veterans both accurately and sensitively.  

Such delays are becoming increasingly and frighteningly common of late. In fact, in mid-June, TNT announced it was delaying the third season premiere of The Last Ship in the wake of the Orlando, Fla., nightclub massacre. The drama's two-hour premiere included a shooting at a Vietnamese nightclub. Some 10 months before that, USA opted to hold the season one finale of Mr. Robot a week when an ex-employee of a Virginia TV station killed a reporter and photographer while on live TV. In another eerie twist, the Mr. Robot episode in question involved a shooting occurring on live TV as well.

Other cases include episodes of Castle, NCIS: Los Angeles and Supergirl, all of which faced delays when reality suddenly intruded on escapist television.