USA is keeping a top creator very busy with the network’s newest acquisition, Graceland. The drama hails from White Collar creator Jeff Eastin, and concerns members of separate branches of law enforcement – FBI, DEA and U.S. Customs – who will almost certainly engage in all sorts of interdepartmental tomfoolery after they are required to live undercover in the same Southern California beach house.
The plot may sound like the latest scorn-seeking reality series from MTV, but it is, in actuality, an honest-to-goodness hour-long drama headed to USA Network sometime next year. One of the more interesting aspects about Graceland, though, is the fact that USA picked it up away from the network’s normal acquisition schedule, so that Eastin would be able to actively run White Collar and Graceland without them interfering with one another. At present, Eastin is gathering a writing crew to begin work on the new series, after filming wraps on season 4 of White Collar.
The housemates of Graceland include senior FBI agent Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata, Rescue Me), as well as fellow agents Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit, Premium Rush) and Joe “Johnny” Turturro (Manny Montana, Breakout Kings). Agent Warren will fill the green newbie quotient of the program, while Turturro is the light-hearted jester of the group. Joining their law enforcement brethren will be DEA agent Catherine “Charlie” Lopez (Vanessa Fertilo, Death Proof) and hotheaded U.S. Customs agent Dale Jakes (Brandon Jay McLaren, Falling Skies).
For USA, Graceland was something the network felt strongly enough about that they mentioned it to advertisers during the upfronts in May – even though the top brass had yet to see the completed pilot. As luck would have it, after screening the finished product, the network’s decision-makers were in complete agreement when it came time to grant a series order.
Jeff Wachtel, USA’s co-president, had this to say about the series:
“Graceland is very much in our sweet spot — it has that fantastic and rich look associated with most of our shows, but we also want to go to very edgy and dark places with it. The characters’ day job takes them to places we haven’t gone with our original series.”
This comes as great news since not nearly enough television shows, major theatrical releases – or any other form of mass media – embrace the dark, edgy tones that are so in demand by audiences today. Regardless of the obligatory descriptive phrases tossed around by network head honchos, the Graceland pilot seems to have struck enough of a chord to warrant keeping Eastin in the driver’s seat on two programs.
Co-president Chris McCumber joined Wachtel in saying:
“There aren’t many people we’d trust to run two shows on our air, but Jeff Eastin is one of them. He wrote a brilliant script; [director] Russell [Fine] delivered a superb pilot; Daniel and Aaron anchor an incredible ensemble cast.”
USA is currently in the midst of Burn Notice season 6 and the second season of Suits, but will be adding White Collar season 4 beginning on July 10. With series star Matt Bomer heating up theaters nationwide in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, this may translate into White Collar’s biggest season yet – which could keep Eastin extremely busy for years to come.
Graceland is expected to premiere sometime in 2013 on USA.