After making an only minorly successful foray into more ambitious prestige programming with the Sigourney Weaver-led “Political Animals” this summer, USA Network is trying to expand again with period genre series “Horizon.”
The cable channel has announced a cast contingent pilot order for the hour-long drama, the first new pilot from busy executive producer Gale Anne Hurd since AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” But while this may be the first TV pilot Hurd is getting into production since the hit zombie show, she has several projects in development, including “11th Commandment” at NBC, about a CIA assassin framed for a murder he didn’t commit and an AMC series about two men working at Area 51 who uncover dangerous secrets the government will do anything to protect.
“Horizon” is another genre series with conspiracy elements — it’s set during World War II, and focuses on an FBI secretary who finds out her husband may have been killed in a South Pacific battle with a spaceship. Her quest to discover the truth leads her to become the only person able to save the Earth from an alien invasion. “Burn Notice” scripted Bridget Tyler will write the project and co-executive produce it, with Hurd serving as executive producer.
According to USA’s co-presidents Jeff Wachtel and Chris McCumber, “‘Horizon’ is our first genre piece since ‘The 4400’ and the first ever period drama for the network. This signals the next step in the evolution of our programming brand.” It also marks another attempted departure for a channel whose bread-and-butter has been an array of quirky, character-based dramedies that have made it the number one basic cable network.
“Horizon” isn’t the only new direction being tries out by the network — it’s preparing to debut three new reality series in 2013.