via press release:
USA NETWORK PICKS-UP HALF HOUR ORIGINAL COMEDY SERIES ‘BENCHED’
The Series Stars Eliza Coupe and Jay Harrington and is From ABC Signature and the Mark Gordon Company
UNIVERSAL CITY – January 24, 2014 – USA Network has picked-up the ABC Signature and The Mark Gordon Company produced courtroom comedy BENCHED. The series stars Eliza Coupe (“Happy Endings”) and Jay Harrington (“Better Off Ted”) and marks the first series out of ABC Signature, the boutique division of ABC Studios. The pick-up was announced today by Chris McCumber, President, USA Network.
“BENCHED is one of those unique series that creates an immediate connection with the audience. The lead is played brilliantly by Eliza Coupe, who has undeniable chemistry with Jay Harrington’s character,” said McCumber. “With Mark Gordon and his incredible pedigree behind this project, we are proud to add BENCHED to our line-up of original comedies.”
“We are thrilled to have such an incredibly creative team in front of and behind the camera on BENCHED,” said Melanie Frankel, Vice President Comedy Development, USA Network, “The auspices that this project attracted are a true testament to the fantastic script that Michaela and Damon wrote.”
BENCHED is USA’s first series pick-up of the year. The network also has several drama pilots in the pipeline including COMPLICATIONS, THE NOVICE, RUSH and THE UNTITLED JABLONSKI PROJECT. In November, USA picked up the event series DIG, an action adventure drama from co-creators and executive producers Tim Kring (“Heroes”) and Gideon Raff (“Homeland”).
BENCHED is a single-camera half-hour courtroom comedy that focuses on Nina (Coupe), a dedicated, career-driven corporate attorney who has a very public nervous breakdown after getting passed up for an expected promotion, and finds herself working as a public defender. Her personal and professional worlds are turned upside down when she joins the ranks of the legal world's underdogs and very quickly realizes that the law isn't quite as fair as she once thought. Jay Harrington stars as Nina’s new colleague, Phil, a tall, dark and handsome, if not a little scruffy, public defender and avid gambler.
The series is from executive producers and writers Michaela Watkins (“Saturday Night Live,” “Trophy Wife”) and Damon Jones (“Halfway Home”). John Enbom, co-creator of the critically acclaimed comedy "Party Down," is also an executive producer. Mark Gordon (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Criminal Minds,” “Ray Donovan”) and Andrea Shay (“Family Tools”) are executive producing for The Mark Gordon Company.
About USA Network:
The #1 network in all of basic cable for an unprecedented eight straight years, USA Network is seen in over 102 million U.S. homes. USA is a leader in scripted programming with a powerful stable of originals, spectacular live television and is home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, a broad portfolio of acquired series and entertainment events. A trailblazer in digital innovation and storytelling, USA is defining, driving and setting the industry standard for Social TV. USA is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal. The award-winning website is located at http://www.usanetwork.com. Characters Welcome.
About ABC Signature Studios:
Launched in January of 2013, ABC Signature is ABC Studio’s new boutique division headed by Tracy Underwood which spearheads development in cable and emerging digital platforms.
About Mark Gordon:
The Mark Gordon Company is a film and television production company whose film credits include “Source Code,” “The Messenger,” “2012,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Day After Tomorrow,” “The Patriot,” “Talk to Me,” “The Painted Veil,” “The Hoax,” “Wonder Boys” and “Speed.” Television credits include "Grey's Anatomy,” “Ray Donovan,” "Private Practice,” "Criminal Minds” and "Army Wives.”
Gordon is a five-time Emmy Award nominee with two wins and has been nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards with two wins. He earned Academy Award and BAFTA nominations and won a Golden Globe for Best Picture as producer of “Saving Private Ryan.”
Gordon is the President of the Producers Guild of America and serves on the boards of The Archer School for Girls and the Virginia Film Festival. He is the former chairman of Teach for America Los Angeles and has served on the boards of The UCLA Lab School, Chrysalis, and The Motion Picture and Television Fund. Gordon is the founder of Citizens of the World Charter Schools. Gordon is a co-founder of Intern Sushi, an innovative online resource that reinvents the internship application and hiring process.