USA Strategic Opportunities - August 2009

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It's especially challenging to break into the schedule for USA.  USA is all about off-net crime procedurals, NCIS, HOUSE, movies, WWE wrestling, and hit original series such as BURN NOTICE, MONK, PSYCH, and IN PLAIN SIGHT.

USA continues to lead the pack in blurring the lines between cable and broadcast. They consistently try to position themselves against the broadcast nets, and in 2008/09 they met their goal of becoming the first cable network to harvest more primetime viewers, on average, than a broadcast network. They continue to narrow the broadcast/cable gap, even during sweeps periods.

But there is always room for improvement. The network is still trying to balance its male/female skew, and the audience is aging.. Top-rated MONK is near the end of its cycle, opening a hole on the scripted originals bench. Younger-skewing programming would go a long way towards refreshing the network.

What network President Bonnie Hammer looks for in original series is upbeat, blue-skies action thrillers and procedurals. "We don't rule out a bit of edginess, but you won't see anything that's dark or bleak." They tend to go for strong, quirky characters and stories, rarely non-fiction.


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