Dr. Lawson, meet Dr. Rush and Dr. Ellis. USA Network has given a 10-episode series order to Rush, a drama pilot from Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, which like USA veteran Royal Pains, is about a concierge doctor. Also picked up to series with a 10-episode order is drama pilot Complications, from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix and Fox TV Studios.The project, starring Jason O’Mara as an ER doctor, appears to be part of a two-project deal between USA and FtvS that also includes the renewal of White Collar for a six-episode sixth season, which we scooped last night. As usual, USA does not acknowledge whether this is White Collar’s final season as it is expected to make the announcement closer to the show’s airing as it most recently did with Psych.
USA’s original portfolio has been going through a generational shift, with veterans Burn Notice, Psych and White Collar departing and four new drama series picked up within the past couple of months, Dig, untitled Sean Jablonski, Rush and Complications.
“We are excited to usher in the next generation of USA dramas, alongside our signature returning originals that continue to attract a large and loyal fan base,” said Chris McCumber, president of USA Network. “This year USA will be showcasing more hours of original programming than ever before, including an unprecedented 6 new series and 6 returning shows.”
Rush centers on Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis) who is not your average on-call doctor — he’s not attached to any hospital, he’s highly discreet no matter what the ailment as long as the client can pay his cash-only premium and the doctor can party with the best of them. Fox 21 is producing. This marks the second drama pilot from USA’s current slate to get a series pickup, joining the untitled Sean Jablonski project. Fox 21 produces with Little Engine’s Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo.
Complications centers around John Ellis (O’Mara (“Vegas,” “Terra Nova”), a disillusioned suburban ER doctor who finds his existence transformed when he intervenes in a drive-by shooting, saving a young boy’s life and killing one of his attackers. When Ellis learns the boy is still marked for death, he finds himself compelled to save him at any cost, and discovers that his own life – and his outlook on medicine – may never be the same.
White Collar ended its fifth season with a cliffhanger. The series, which generates an average of four million viewers each season, stars Matt Bomer (“Magic Mike”), Tim DeKay (“Tell Me You Love Me”), Tiffani Thiessen (“What About Brian”), Willie Garson (“Sex and the City”), Sharif Atkins (“ER”) and Marsha Thomason (“Lost”). The series centers on the unlikely partnership between charming con artist Neal Caffrey (Bomer) and straightforward FBI agent Peter Burke (DeKay), who partner to catch other elusive white collar criminals. Created and executive produced by Jeff Eastin, the series comes from Fox Television Studios. Nick Thiel and Jeff King also serve as executive producers. [x]
One of USA Network’s signature series, dramaWhite Collar, is poised to wrap its run with a six-episode sixth and final season. There is no official word yet, but I hear the network and series producer Fox TV Studios are finalizing the deal. The size of the order looks like a compromise between a movie/mini-series conclusion USA had been considering and a full-length season, sought by producer FfvS. Season 5 ended with a cliffhanger involving the abduction of Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer). All of USA’s other established series –Monk, Burn Notice (also produced by FtvS), Psych and In Plain Sight — also had received a proper send-off. Moved to fall for the first time since its first season,White Collar got dinged up against in-season competition but rebounded in January when the conclusion of Season 5 averaged 2.8 million viewers in Live+Same Day, up 22% from fall, and 955,000 adults 18-49, up 32%.
With ratings still solid, the renewal negotiations zeroed in on the show’s economics. At this point in the run of a series, a network is responsible for the full production cost. With a well-known cast and extensive location shoots in New York, White Collar is an expensive show. What’s more, it is not owned by USA. USA parent NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment has made owning content a priority with the appointments of Jeff Wachtel and Dawn Olmstead to spearhead in-house production efforts. The network has a lot of projects in the pipeline with a slew of pilot orders, and has been going through a portfolio changeover, replacing its older shows with new ones. From a business perspective, continuingWhite Collar at the current price tag may not have made a lot of sense for USA. But from a legacy standpoint, the show, which boasts one of the network’s most recognizable stars in Bomer and is one of few USA shows to receive critical praise, deserved a proper conclusion. (FtvS also had been willing to shoulder the cost of a final season and was open to a lower license fee.) [deadline]