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Upfronts 2012: USA bets big on comedy

May 17, 2012 | 10:00 am

Denis Leary
NEW YORK — USA Network, which has found ratings success with its quirky dramas such as "White Collar," "Necessary Roughness" and "Burn Notice," is making an aggressive push into comedy.

The network is unveiling a slate of projects to advertisers Thursday during its upfront presentation that includes new shows produced by Kelsey Grammer and Denis Leary. The network is planning to have new sitcoms in its schedule next year and will use reruns of the ABC hit "Modern Family" as a promotional platform.

Among the sitcoms USA is developing are "Sirens" from Leary about jaded emergency medical technicians. For Leary, this is familiar ground. He starred and produced ABC's underappreciated comedy "The Job" about New York detectives and the critically acclaimed "Rescue Me" on FX. "Sirens" will be lighter in tone than "Rescue Me" and more along lines of "The Job," which was often described as a show better suited to cable than broadcast.

VIDEO: Watch 2012 TV previews

Also in the works is "The Dicicco Brothers" from Grammer, who will produce the sitcom about a dot-com entrepreneur who is struggling to make the cultural adjustment to Silicon Valley and gets little help from his unrefined family.

Looking to join the growing number of shows that feature a musical component ("Glee," "Smash" and ABC's new "Nashville,") USA is also hoping to hit the right note with "Regulars" about a group of friends who blow off steam at a karaoke bar.

In addition, USA revealed new drama projects including "Bang Bang" about rival hitmen who decide to become partners; "Rare," about a trendy restaurant whose chef had a secret life as a member of the military, and a show from "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf about an insurance investigator whose new trophy wife is a man.

On the reality front, USA confirmed plans to go ahead with its version of a reality show about weddings. However, "Bride or Best Man" is actually about what happens when the men plan the big day.


TNT gets more reality, TBS looks for laughs

Take a look at CBS's new dramas

— Joe Flint

Photo: Denis Leary. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times