USA eyes series based on 'Freshman' pic

Matthew Broderick, Marlon Brando starred in the 1990 movie

After building a formidable series slate based on original ideas, USA Network is eyeing a show based on comedy feature "The Freshman," its first major series development based on an existing property in eight years.

Andrew Bergman, who wrote and directed the 1990 movie starring Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando, is on board to pen the series adaptation from Sony TV, which has three more projects set up at USA.

The film centered on a wide-eyed NYU freshman (Broderick) who unwittingly becomes an errand boy for a Mafia boss (Brando).

USA's "The Dead Zone," was based on Stephen King's novel, but the network has stuck to original premises since establishing its brand as a home to lighter shows built around quirky characters with the 2002 dramedy "Monk." (It adapted Gigi Levangie Grazer's book "The Starter Wife" as a miniseries, which later spawned a short-lived series.)

The lead character in "Freshman" was what mainly attracted USA brass, senior vp original scripted programming Bill McGoldrick said.

"The big challenge is to not repeat ourselves too often, and 'Freshman' was a fresh way to approach light character drama that was within the bull's-eye (of our brand)," he said.

In addition to writing, Bergman is executive producing "Freshman" with Michael Edelstein and the film's producer Mike Lobell.

Sony TV has been the leading TV studio in cable with drama series on FX ("Damages," "Rescue Me"), AMC ("Breaking Bad"), TNT ("Hawthorne"), Lifetime ("Drop Dead Diva") and "The C Word," the Laura Linney-starring pilot for Showtime.

Within the past year, Sony focused on developing for USA and landed its first projects there.

In addition to "Freshman," Sony's other USA shows are "Dr. Donna," a dramedy about a sports therapist written and co-executive produced by Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro, and two from Denis Leary's Sony TV-based Apostle: "Partners in Crime," about ex-spouses who are private eyes, and "Scales of Justice," about overweight ex-cop who leads his overeater support group in fighting crime.

Sony TV has been active in mining the company's vault this season. In addition to "Freshman," the studio has set up remakes of the feature "St. Elmo's Fire" and the series "Charlie's Angels" at ABC and of the film "Heathers" at Fox.