USA Network gave a cast-contingent green light to a new pilot, Operating Instructions, from Conan O’Brien’s Conaco production company and Universal Cable Productions.
While the pilot is a comedy, the subject matter -- at least on its face -- would seem more suited to a drama series.
Operating Instructions is about a top female trauma surgeon who returns from two tours in Iraq to become head of surgery at a military hospital. She finds that she is leaving one combat zone and entering another as she tries to navigate the stateside healthcare system and the bureaucracy that comes with it, all while juggling an unexpected romantic encounter.
The pilot was written by Judd Pillot and John Peaslee (According to Jim, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teen-Age Daughter, Just Shoot Me) and is being executive-produced by Pillot, Peaslee, O’Brien and David Kissinger.
"Quite simply, Judd and John knocked it out of the park with one of the best pilot scripts we've read in a long time," said Jeff Wachtel, executive vice president of programming for USA, in announcing the green light. "They brought their incredible comedy chops to a traditionally dramatic setting and the result is electric."
O'Brien has a first look deal with NBC Universal, spanning the parent network and its cable channels. Conaco's first primetime production was the short lived Andy Barker P.I., starring O'Brien's former sidekick Andy Richter. NBC broadcast six episodes of the program in early 2007, before canceling the series.