USA Network has finalized deals for two new single-camera comedy pilots, Deadline reported. The cable network has ordered pilots for "Paging Dr. Freed," about two brothers who take over the reins of their father’s medical practice after his untimely death; and "Sirens," which follows three of Chicago's best EMTs.
"Paging Dr. Freed" is written and executive produced by Michael Feldman ("That's So Raven"). "Sirens" is produced by Denis Leary ("Rescue Me") and was co-created by Leary and Bob Fisher. Both pilots were unofficially ordered months ago, but negotiations over license fee deals between the network and the production studios dragged on until this week.
According to Deadline, "The move is significant as it creates a deal template for half-hour series on USA, which is returning to the comedy business after more a decade."
USA hired Melanie Frankel in December in the new position of vice president of original comedy series, signifying the network's commitment to expanding its lineup of original scripted half-hour programming. The network's goal is reportedly to have an original series ready by fall 2013, to be paired with reruns of the Emmy-winning ABC comedy "Modern Family."
"We've always wanted to do shows that are a little bit more based around the family, so we'll use 'Modern Family' as an anchor to help build out our own originals," USA co-president Chris McCumber told The Hollywood Reporter in November.
In September, USA also greenlit a half-hour pilot for an untitled single-camera comedy from Douglas McGrath ("Infamous," "Nicholas Nickleby"), starring Nathan Lane as an unlucky actor whose Broadway dreams are put on hold when he returns to Texas after his father's health takes a turn for the worse. The network announced in May that it had passed on the series, however.
The network recently picked up a new drama series, as well. "Graceland," from "White Collar" creator/executive producer Jeff Eastin, follows a group of diverse agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and U.S. Customs whose worlds collide while forced to live together in an undercover beach house in Southern California. Production is expected to begin after "White Collar" wraps up its fourth season.
Daniel Lehman is a staff writer at Back Stage. Follow him on Twitter: @byDanLehman