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USA Network’s newest scripted series is “Covert Affairs.”
Cable’s top network has picked up the 90-minute pilot starringPiper Perabo to series with an 11-episode order.
The spy drama, from Universal Cable Prods., centers on Annie Walker(Perabo), a multilingual CIA trainee unexpectedly promoted to fieldoperative while reeling over a mysterious ex-boyfriend who appearsto be of particular interest to her agency bosses.
The core cast of the pilot — including co-stars ChristopherGorham, Peter Gallagher, Kari Matchett and Anne Dudek — willcontinue on the series, created and co-executive produced by MattCorman and Chris Ord.
Eion Bailey, who guest starred in the Tim Matheson-directed pilotas the elusive boyfriend, is expected to at least be a recurring onthe show.
USA already boasts a solid slate of original series that havepropelled the network to the top spot in the basic cable rankings,so the mandate with “Covert” was to push the envelope, USApresident of original programming Jeff Wachtel said.
“This in some ways is the most ambitious show that we’veundertaken,” he said. “The story is bigger, the production valuesare bigger, and the ensemble too is a little bigger than our othershows.”
“Covert,” executive produced by Dutch Oven’s Dave Bartis and DougLiman, will be shot on location in Toronto and ready to launch inthe summer.
However, network brass won’t make a decision on a launch date untilthey see USA’s other pilot, “Facing Kate,” now filming. If “Kate”also gets a stamp of approval for a series order, USA likely wouldemploy its 2009 launch strategy, in which it premiered one newseries, “Royal Pains,” in the summer, and one, “White Collar,” inthe fall.
Although USA is experimenting with stripping its original seriesTuesday through Thursday at 10 p.m. this winter, the network isexpected to revert to airing many of its shows during the summer inblocks. That means “Covert” probably will be paired with anestablished USA series, though that decision won’t be made forseveral months.
USA has a solid track record launching new scripted shows. Each ofthe network’s pilots picked up to series during the past five yearshas gone the distance, including hits “Psych,” “Burn Notice” and”Pains.”
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