In October 2010 when USA co-president Jeff Wachtel first talked to me about the network’s plans to re-enter the reality arena, he pointed to CBS’ Undercover Boss as the type of show USA was looking for. Fifteen months later, the top-rated cable network has ordered its first original unscripted series, aspirational reality series The Moment starring former NFL star Kurt Warner, which is very much in the vein of Undercover Boss as well as other second-chance reality series like ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and You Deserve It.
USA has given a nine-episode order to The Moment for a premiere in the third quarter. On the show, Warner, who didn’t make it into the NFL on his first try and had to work at a grocery store until finally landing a spot on the St. Louis Rams, gives men and women a second chance at reclaiming the career dreams they put on hold when their lives took an unexpected turn. Each week, someone secretly nominated by a loved one will be given the opportunity to pursue the career they’ve always wanted under the guidance of a mentor. The Moment is executive produced by Justin Hochberg and Charlie Ebersol through their Hochberg Ebersol Co. “From the first moments of their pitch, we knew they were onto something that wasn’t just the right creative fit for the brand, but was also a fresh take on personal and inspirational storytelling,” USA Co-Presidents Chris McCumber and Wachtel said. USA has only run a handful of reality series over the past decade, including Cannonball Run in 2001, Nashville Star in 2003 and Made in the USA in 2005. Last April, USA successfully launched its first unscripted series in 5 years, a revival of WWE Tough Enough. USA is expected to pick up at least one more reality series from the pool of projects it put in development under SVP alternative programming Heather Olander, who joined USA last February, including Shed Media’s The Choir and shows from Magical Elves and The Hills” creator Adam DiVello.