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Nearly a year into their tenure as co-presidents, Jeff Wachtel and Chris McCumber are continuing to push USA into new and decidedly different genres.
That expansion strategy – a departure from their predecessor Bonnie Hammer‘s largely blue-skies drama formula— becomes that much clearer with a nine-episode order for The Moment, USA’s big foray into original reality.
“It’s a new audience that isn’t necessarily watching USA right now,” McCumber told The Hollywood Reporter of the unscripted strategy in an interview late last year. “Take a look at what History has done. Something like Pawn Stars is a show that would probably fit on USA because it’s a great group of characters in a family and it’s a twist on a genre, and on top of that it repeats well.”
Though the genre is new for USA, the character themes are in keeping with the top-rated network’s brand, made famous by such scripted series as Burn Notice, White Collar and Royal Pains. The unscripted effort joins other comedy and late-night projects, both new formats designed to lure more viewers to USA.
Moment, which will premiere in the third quarter, counts former NFL player Kurt Warner, who famously went from bagging groceries to being named Super Bowl MVP over the course of just 18 months, as its host.
The series features Warner giving those secretly nominated by loved ones a second chance at reclaiming career dreams that they put on hold when their lives got in the way. Among the dream jobs pursued with world-class mentoring: racecar driving, orchestral conduction and deep-sea fishing. In the end, these people will have to decide where they want to accept their dream job as their day job or return to the life they had before.
“Everyone has a ‘what-if’ moment in their life — a decision or path they could have taken – but rarely do they get a second chance to explore what could have been,” said the show’s producers Justin Hochberg and Charlie Ebersol.
Among the unscripted projects still in development USA are The Choir, a Shed Media format featuring choir master Gareth Malone, who unites and transforms unsuspecting communities with music; and an untitled high concept relationship docu-soap/social experiment from the Magical Elves.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose
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