USA network seeks to beef up its line-up with a new, grittier image


By David Bauder , AP

NEW YORK –A vigilante hacker, an invasion of Los Angeles and a doctor who gets into a gun battle with gang members are featured in dramas due to appear on a grittier USA network within the next year.

The general-interest cable network, trying to halt a decline in ratings, revealed programming plans with a marked shift away from the lighter procedural fare of ��Monk,�� ��Psych�� and ��Burn Notice�� of a few years back. USA is turning to darker and, its executives clearly hope, more buzzworthy shows with ongoing stories.

Two will begin in June: ��Mr. Robot,�� a hacker drama that features Rami Malek and Christian Slater, described as ��The Social Network�� meets ��Fight Club.�� The drama ��Complications�� is about a suburban doctor who intervenes in a drive-by shooting, picking up a gun and firing back.

The more mysterious ��Colony,�� due this fall, reunites ��Lost�� producer Carlton Cuse with star Josh Holloway for a show about fighting back in an occupied L.A. What exactly is occupying Los Angeles is unclear.

Chris McCumber, president of USA, said the network wanted to appeal more to millennials and ��reflect the character and the spirit of the country as we see it.�� ‘We want to find those unexpected heroes’ ��We want to find those unexpected heroes that bravely confront the odds and come out the other side in their own unique way,�� he said.

He’d also like to find more viewers. During the past year, USA has averaged 1.82 million viewers in prime-time, down from 2.9 million three years ago, according to the Nielsen company. Like many cable networks, USA is fighting for an audience in light of increased competition from gaming, Internet streams and other TV sources.