In The Moment, USA’s new reality series premiering on Thursday, April 11 at 10 p.m., ordinary people are given a chance to pursue their dream jobs and land an interview that could change their lives.
For USA Network, the series will be a moment for it to determine if this type of uplifting, aspirational unscripted programming can work on the channel known for its one-hour dramas.
“If we want to keep growing, we need to be in this space,” said USA co-president Chris McCumber at a dinner on Tuesday celebrating the series’ launch.
USA is bullish that The Moment will fit with its blue-sky brand perpetuated by scripted hits like Burn Notice and White Collar, and has already greenlit pre-production/casting for a possible second season. McCumber said that was done so new episodes could be ready in six to 12 months, though he will wait for its initial eight episodes to air before making an official decision on season two.
Hosting the series is former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, whose own back-story plays well into the premise: He was bagging groceries to make ends meet and got turned down by 12 teams before the St. Louis Rams gave him his big break. Warner said he agreed to this hosting gig after turning down others because of the chance to help people by lending wisdom of his experience.
“I didn’t get involved to be a TV personality,” he said. “I got involved because I knew there were things I could add.”
Though The Moment features mentors who are experts in their fields, Warner also serves as a sounding board as contestants wait to hear whether they received a job offer out of their interviews, and then must debate whether to take it.
“We didn’t want everyone to get the job because then people wouldn’t believe it’s real,” says executive producer Charlie Ebersol, who noted about half of the contestants either won’t be offered the job or will decide not to accept it.
Following The Moment, USA will continue its reality push with the premiere of competition series Summer Camp in July and The Choir, about a British choirmaster who brings communities together through music, in the fourth quarter.
“We have a nice diversified slate of shows,” said Heather Olander, senior VP of alternative programming at USA.