In the News

The Hollywood Reporter

‘Burn,’ ‘Engvall’ pilots picked

By Kimberly Nordy, Nellie Andreeva
February 13, 2007

USA Network has picked up the drama pilot “Burn Notice” to series.

Meanwhile, TBS has handed out a series order to the comedy pilot “The Bill Engvall Show.”

“Burn,” from Fox TV Studios, centers on Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan), a blacklisted Special Ops agent who uses his elite training to find the reason for the “burn notice” that ended his spy career as well as help those who can’t go to the police.

USA has ordered 13 episodes of the series, which will be shot in Miami starting in March for a late-June premiere. The plan is to utilize the upcoming “The Starter Wife,” a six-hour miniseries debuting in late May, as a launch pad for “Burn.”

“The show is a home run on all counts,” USA executive VP original programming Jeff Wachtel said. “It’s wonderfully on brand, it’s character-based, and it has a very clean and relatable promotional hook to it.”

Mikkel Bondesen is executive producing “Burn” through his Fuse Entertainment. The project’s writer, Matt Nix, is co-executive producing.

“Burn” is one of three pilots that USA ordered last year. Another drama, “In Plain Sight,” was given a series pickup last month (HR 1/3). As for the third pilot, “To Love and Die,” Wachtel said USA has ordered additional scripts, with the goal of ordering it to series in the near future.

Meanwhile, TBS’ multicamera domestic comedy starring Bill Engvall and Nancy Travis has been given an eight-episode order for a launch in the summer.

It follows TBS’ first original scripted comedy series, “My Boys” and “10 Items or Less,” which bowed in November.

While “Engvall” was developed as a potential companion to TBS’ reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and the single-camera “My Boys” — which has been picked up for additional episodes — and airs in a block with the network’s repeats of the racy “Sex and the City,” TBS and TNT senior VP original programming Michael Wright said the shows have a lot in common.

“Both are rooted in well-written characters and very identifiable relationships,” he said. “They are very smart and contemporary without relying on snarkiness.”

“Engvall” stars Engvall as a family counselor whose own family could use a little dose of counseling. Travis plays his wife.

The project was written by Engvall and Michael Leeson, who executive produce with J.P. Williams.

Engvall said he enjoys working in the traditional family sitcom genre, which largely has disappeared as the broadcast networks are opting for edgier, often single-camera comedies.

“I want to thank TBS for bringing family back to television,” he said.