The USA Network held its “upfronts” at which pilots are announced, and the big news was Smackdown is coming HOME to the USA Network as the WWE rolls out a more millennial friendly and aspirational “For the Hero in All of Us” program. But also, a show based on an unannounced upcoming Vertigo series is in development:
AMPED When a neurotic family man buys an online “smart pill” to increase his focus and jolt him out of his slump, he gets much more than he bargained for. To his surprise, the pill gives him incredible strength and power. The project examines both the mighty highs and humiliating lows of being a real-life super hero. AMPED is based on the characters created for an upcoming comic book by Eric Kripke (“Supernatural,” “Revolution”) for DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint. Kripke will serve as executive producer/writer of AMPED, from Kripke Enterprises in association with Warner Horizon Television.
Kripke is indeed the creator of the hugely successful Supernatural and Revolution, and to all you Vertigo naysayers, this is a comfort zone for the imprint: developing network ready fare that doesn’t involve the DCU. I Zombie is doing well on the CW, so anything is possible.
Lots of other shows announced, including the return of Tough Enough (probably not with my beloved Al Snow) and a show starring Sawyer from Lost and Lori from Walking Dead for the ultimate crossover.
Also promoted at the press event were “Colony,” a futuristic drama starring Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies as the head of a family of resisters in alien-occupied Los Angeles; and “Complications,” starring Jason O’Mara as a doctor drawn into a deadly gangland saga when he saves a kid from a random shooting.
Peter Lazarus, USA’s ad sales chief, said they’re now focused “educating the marketplace about WWE’s positive attributes.” Those include the fact that it is mostly DVR proof through its live weekly airings and continuing storylines, and the fact that it draws a healthy amount of family viewing. The push to polish up the WWE reflects the wide-ranging new deal that NBCU and the wrestling giant struck last year, one that gives NBCU more control over advertising sales for the programs.
I didn’t have a photo from the still unannounced AMPED so I put up a photo of current WWE champ Seth Rollins. I don’t follow wrestling any more so I have no idea who this jabroni is, but one look tells you that his matinee-ready millennial look is totally on fleek.
A LOT of the shows in development have futuristic-y SF-y elements, or in other words “USA Network fare.” Why they even need to try this when Fox had to take Almost Human off the air is beyond me.
–Yr grumpy old TV fan
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.