USA Network has ordered four hourlong scripted pilots, including Treadstone, an action-packed drama that delves into the CIA black ops program known as Operation Treadstone from Universal Pictures’ Bourne film franchise. It hails from Heroes creator Tim Kring.
The other three pilots are Erase, a crime thriller-with-a-twist starring Denis Leary and created by Leary and Alex Cary; Briarpatch, based on the Ross Tom novel, executive produced by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail; and Dare Me, a drama based on Megan Abbott’s book set within the cutthroat world of competitive high school cheerleading, from Peter Berg and Michael Lombardo via their new production banner. All four projects hail from Universal Cable Productions.
Written by Kring, Treadstone explores the origin story and present-day actions of a CIA black ops program known as Treadstone — a covert operation that uses behavior modification protocol to turn its agents into nearly unstoppable superhuman assassins. The series follows sleeper agents across the globe as they’re mysteriously “awakened” to resume their deadly missions.
Kring executive produces with Ramin Bahrani, who will direct the pilot. Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner executive produce on behalf of Captivate and Justin Levy will executive produce alongside Bradley Thomas for Imperative Entertainment.
Created by Denis Leary and Alex Cary, Erase is the story of Donal O’Neal (Leary), a dirty ex-cop who decides to do the right thing and bring down his complicit superior officers. But his best weapon in this battle – a photographic memory – is suddenly compromised by symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s. In this gritty crime thriller, laced with elements of black comedy, Donal races against time to repair the damage he’s done to his estranged family while trying to avoid being killed by his enemies. Leary and Cary executive produce with Apostle Pictures’ Jim Serpico.
This marks Leary’s return to USA where he co-created and executive produced the paramedic comedy series Sirens.
Briarpatch, written by Andy Greenwald based on the Ross Thomas novel, is a co-production between UCP and Paramount Television that “celebrates the beloved genre that Thomas’ book represents — a unique blend of crime, thriller, mystery, and pulp fiction – while updating his electrifying sense of fun, danger and place for a new generation.” It follows Allegra Dill, a dogged investigator returning to her border-town Texas home after her sister is murdered by a car bomb. What begins as a search for a killer turns into an all-consuming fight to bring the corrupt hometown Allegra thought she left behind to its knees.
Greenwald will executive produce with Esmail through his Esmail Corp production banner, and Anonymous Content’s Chad Hamilton. Yann Demange will direct and serve as executive producer.
Based on the acclaimed novel by Megan Abbott, who serves as writer and executive producer along with Gina Fattore, Dare Me is described as an unflinching exploration of volatile female friendships, jealousy, loyalty and the dynamics of power in a small Midwestern town. Peering behind the all-American façade, the series dives into the cutthroat world of competitive high school cheerleading, following the fraught relationship between two best friends after a new coach arrives to bring their team to prominence. Part coming-of-age story, part small-town drama, part murder mystery, Dare Me, from UCP and Film 44, exposes the physical and psychological extremes that some young women are willing to endure in order to get ahead.
Peter Berg and Michael Lombardo of Film 44 executive produce Dare Me along with Sarah Condon and Karen Rosenfelt.
“As the #1 cable entertainment network for a record 12 years in a row, USA Network delivers unmatched scale and momentum with a broad, diverse slate of programming,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “These new pilots add to our dynamic scripted pipeline with the big auspices, top creative talent and bold characters that have become USA’s signature.”