USA decides pickup is to 'Die' for


USA Network has given a series pickup to "To Love and Die," a light one-hour from creator Sara Goodman, Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video Television and Universal Media Studios.

The network has ordered 11 additional episodes of "Die," which centers on a fun-loving thirtysomething (Shiri Appleby) with abandonment issues who becomes convinced that her dating problems would be resolved if only she could track down the father (Tim Matheson) she never knew. When she finds him, she discovers that he's an assassin and that she might have found her calling.

"It has a high-concept character at its center and a light tone with a somewhat twisted soul, which fits our brand perfectly," said USA executive vp original programming Jeff Wachtel.

On the series, Appleby and Matheson are joined by Frances Fisher, Christine Adams, and Kristin Datillo. Additionally, negotiations are underway with the pilot's co-star Ivan Sergei to continue on the series.

While the timing of the series pickup is said to be tied to the options on the actors in the pilot coming up, the network's decision to order "Die" was prompted by its recent success with the female-centered miniseries "The Starter Wife."

"We made our mark with character-driven dramas with guy leads with 'The Dead Zone,' 'Monk' and 'Psych,' now we would love to have shows with female leads," Wachtel said. "That is a big prioritry for us."

"Die" is targeted as a companion piece to another upcoming USA drama with a female lead, "In Plain Sight," which stars Mary McCormack. Both shows are eyed for a launch late in the first half of next year.

The series order for "Die" makes it 3-for-3 for USA, which ordered three pilots last year — "Die," "Sight" and the male- centered "Burn Notice," which was picked up to series in February and debuts at 10 tonight.

"It's an example of quality determining the life of the project," Wachtel said. He noted that the network took its time to work on backup scripts written by Goodman before proceeding with a series order.

On the series, Goodman will be joined by Carla Kettner who will executive produce with her.