EXCLUSIVE: USA welcomes two new characters: a sports therapist, and a college dropout-turned-corporate lawyer. The top-rated cable network has greenlighted two new pilots, Necessary Roughness and A Legal Mind. Both pilots are 90-minute and cast-contingent and are eyed for a summer shoot.
Inspired by the true story of a female psychiatrist who takes a gig as a consultant to the New York Jets that leads to a new career for her, Necessary Roughness centers on a tough, sexy Long Island divorcee who, to make ends meet, becomes the therapist for a professional football team and quickly becomes sought after by other athletes, musicians, politicians and those living in the spotlight. Elizabeth Kruger and Craig Shapiro (Miami Medical) write the script. The duo, managed by Madhouse Entertainment, is executive producing with Kevin Dowling, who will direct, as well as Donna Dannenfesler, Joe Sabatino.
A Legal Mind centers on a brilliant but unmotivated college student who gets recruited by a top Manhattan corporate law firm despite not being a lawyer. He has to use his book and street smarts and hustling skills to keep the charade. From writer Aaron Korsh (The Deep End) and executive producers Doug Liman, David Bartis, Gene Klein of Dutch Oven.
While Necessary Roughness and Legal Mind are very much on-brand — light procedurals built around a distinct an often quirky central character, each is bringing a new element to the USA roster of shows.
”A Legal Mind has an edge to it that I don’t think people expect from us and sexiness to the leads,” said USA’s senior vp original scripted programming Bill McGoldrick. “And Necessary Roughness is outside the traditional franchises, it’s not a show about a cop, doctor or a lawyer.”
Both projects had been in development for awhile. A Legal Mind, which was brought in by USA’s vp Alex Sepiol in 2008, was originally set on Wall Street before being reworked as a legal show.
Necessary Roughness, brought in by vp Michael Sluchan, marks Sony TV’s first pilot for USA. The studio, a major cable player with shows on FX, AMC, TNT, Lifetime and Showtime, made development for USA a priority last year and set up its first four scripts at the network, including Necessary Roughness (then called Dr. Donna), and a reboot of the movie The Freshman.
USA has been keeping a pretty good pilot-to-series ratio. The two pilots from its previous development cycle, Facing Kate and Covert Affairs both got picked up to series.