USA continues to move away from "blue skies" programming: On Thursday the top-rated cable network unveiled its 2014 development slate, which includes a diverse portfolio of gritty dramas, comedy and limited-run series from name producers including Amy Poehler, Jodie Foster and Jessica Biel.
On the drama side, USA is edging away from the sunny one-hour fare that has long been its trademark. The network has ordered a cast-contingent pickup of the pilot "Stanistan," which follows the staff at the American compound in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Stanistan.
Also in the works are "Boom," about a couple seduced by life in a North Dakota boomtown; "Brand," executive produced by Foster, which follows a recovered addict and born-again preacher; "Colony," a drama about alien-occupied Los Angeles from executive producer Carlton Cuse ("Bates Motel"); "The Farm," a psychological horror series set on a family farm in the Midwest; "Control," which explores the high-pressure world of air-traffic control; and "Mr. Robot," about a gifted young programmer with a debilitating antisocial disorder.
Following the recent launch of sitcoms "Sirens" and "Playing House," USA is also continuing its expansion into original comedy. The network has ordered a pilot presentation -- i.e. a shortened pilot -- of "Difficult People," from "Billy on the Street" duo Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner, who will star as "pop-culture-loving best friends who hate everyone — except each other." Amy Poehler is attached as an executive producer.
Other comedies in development include "Love the One You're With," centered on a free-spirited woman who falls for a younger, uptight man; "Majordomo," about a struggling documentarian who becomes a personal assistant for his friend, a real estate heiress; "Moguls," a single-camera comedy from executive producer Jessica Biel following the employees of a Colorado ski resort; and "Royal," about a recently retired Hell's Angel making a difficult transition to life in the suburbs.
In line with the industrywide move toward event programming, the network is also developing two limited series, "Border Lord," described as an "origin story of the Mexican cartels," and "The Swap," about a family whose house-swap vacation to the Cook Islands turns into a nightmare.