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Five cable networks under the NBCUniversal umbrella – USA, Oxygen, The Golf Channel, CNBC and Syfy – presented today. And there were three new series panels: Graceland on USA, The Face on Oxygen and Defiance on Syfy. USA opened by boasting how it is the first cable network to dominate the landscape in key demos for seven straight years, with its latest pick-up for 10 episodes of a third season of scripted drama Necessary Roughness. But USA has swung the axe more than it ever has before (so long, Common Law, Fairly Legal and Political Animals), and the ratings are down year to year.
Recognizing the signature strength of scripted dramas, next up at USA is Graceland from While Collar creator Jeff Eastin, which concerns members of separate branches of law enforcement.
“Where White Collar kind of creates its own reality, we’re trying to make Graceland as real as possible,” said creator Jeff Eastin. “And within that it there’s a lot of darkness when it comes to things like being an undercover officer and things like that. So the show will stay within that tone. What I’m really proud of, I think, is the fact that it’s not just a dark show, but that it’s actually a pretty funny show. It sort of laughs. But instead of the laughs coming off of jokes, it kind of comes out of the reality of what it is. So that’s the tone you’re going to see throughout the full year.”
Graceland premieres this summer.
Moving to Oxygen, which is the youngest women’s network on television by almost 10 years (and one of the more social), the female driven cable net continues to search for new programming that caters to its core demographic. One of the upcoming new shows is model search reality/competition The Face, which featured a session with host Nigel Barker; supermodel coach and executive producer Naomi Campbell; supermodel coaches Karolina Kurkova and Coco Rocha; and executive producer Eden Gaha.
Said Coco Rocha: “For us, you look at us and you go, “I don’t like her nose.” That’s it. That’s why I didn’t get the job. “I don’t like her thighs.” That’s it. And I’m thinking, well, I have so much more to give you. I have a brain. I have a personality. So we try and teach these girls that, although we love who you are, you have to have this thick skin.”
Added Naomi Campbell: “I think the bottom line is they have to believe in themselves, but obviously, if they’ve put themselves and been up for this casting and gotten through hundreds of girls to be in the top 24, they’re driven. They believe in themselves, and they’re here, and they’re going to show it to us, and we’re going to help give them suggestions to get them further along the road.”
The Face debuts on Oxygen on Tuesday, February 12 at 9 p.m. ET.
Syfy capped off the day with a session on new drama Defiance, which is set in the near future, where aliens known collectively as Votans have come to Earth seeking a new home after their star system is destroyed. What sets Defiance apart from the get-go is being produced in collaboration with Trion Worlds, who are producing a video game that will be connected to the series.
Said Mark Stern, President of Original Content for Syfy: “When we set out with Trion, both companies agreed that we were going to do the best show or game that we could do. You didn’t need to know anything about one to enjoy the other. That was paramount to us. That was kind of bedrock. So if you know about both, it helps the experience and it adds to it. But you do not need to know anything about one to enjoy the other, which is one of the nice things about it.”
Defiance debuts on Monday, April 15 at 9 p.m. ET.