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USA Network and Turner networks add reality shows to the mix
Updated 5/17/2012 5:52 PM ET
NEW YORK — Three leading cable channels outlined plans to broaden their programming horizons in presentations to advertisers this week.

USA Network

USA on Thursday detailed plans for its first comedies as companions to Modern Family, the ABC hit that USA will begin airing in reruns in fall 2013, as well as its first reality show: The Moment, which offers contestants a chance to pursue their dream career. USA also will produce pilots for another potential feel-good series, The Choir, which assembles choirs in local communities, and Bride or Best Man, in which grooms and their best men take over as wedding planners.

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The network is expected to order two comedies: Paging Dr. Freed, about two gynecologist brothers who inherit their dad's medical practice; and Sirens, produced by Rescue Me's Denis Leary, about a trio of Chicago emergency medical technicians.

And it's developing four more potential comedies, including Regulars, about misfit karaoke pals at a New Jersey bar; and The DiCicco Brothers (produced by Kelsey Grammer), about a dot-com entrepreneur in Silicon Valley whose career dreams are stymied by his interfering family.

More immediately, USA is prepping Political Animals (July 15), a miniseries from producer Greg Berlanti starring Sigourney Weaver as a Secretary of State and Carla Gugino as a reporter who's at odds with her. Also due back are Royal Pains and Necessary Roughness, June 6; Burn Notice and Suits, June 14; and White Collar and Covert Affairs, July 10.

TNT

Prepping an ambitious summer slate of nine series, TNT is looking to satisfy what Turner Entertainment Networks chief Steve Koonin calls the "popcorn mindset" of its viewers. Best known for its detective series (The Closer ends with six episodes starting July 9), the network also is branching out into reality, starting with The Great Escape, a contest pitting pairs of would-be Houdinis coming June 24.

And it's adding more variety in its drama lineup, as evidenced by last summer's sci-fi success Falling Skies, which returns June 17, and a remake of CBS soap Dallas (June 13) that features original stars Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy, now in supporting roles.

Also due on TNT: Perception, starring Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) as a "genius schizophrenic" who helps an FBI agent solve crimes (July 9); and new seasons of Rizzoli & Isles and Franklin & Bash (both June 5), Leverage (July 15) and Closer spinoff Major Crimes (Aug. 13).

On tap for next year are Monday Morning, a medical drama from producer David E. Kelley, Boston Blue, a reality series about Beantown cops, and 72 Hours, a Survivor-style competition series in which teams hunt hidden piles of cash. Southland, a short-lived NBC police show, also will return.

Among projects in development as possible series are King and Maxwell, based on David Baldacci's book series about private investigators; Lew Archer, based on Ross McDonald's novels; Tom Clancy's Homeland Security; a family drama from Ron Shelton (Bull Durham); and a serialized murder mystery from producer Steven Bochco that's reminiscent of his ABC drama Murder One.

TBS

Over at comedy-focused TBS, where repeats of The Big Bang Theory have sharply boosted ratings, ABC castoff Cougar Town will join the lineup with new episodes (and reruns) early next year.

Programmers plan two scripted comedy series this summer: buddy ensemble Men at Work (May 24); and Sullivan & Son (July 19), about a lawyer who moves home to Pittsburgh to run his family's bar.

The network also is readying King of the Nerds, a competition series, and Who Gets the Last Laugh?, a hidden-camera series that pits celebrity pranksters against one another. And it's developing a talk show with comedian Norm Macdonald and a post-college buddy comedy produced by TBS' late-night host Conan O'Brien.

Posted 5/17/2012 4:35 PM ET
Updated 5/17/2012 5:52 PM ET
'Falling Skies,' starring Noah Wyle, center, returns June 17 for its second season on TNT .
Michael Muller, TNT
'Falling Skies,' starring Noah Wyle, center, returns June 17 for its second season on TNT .