News Briefs: USA Has Picked Up Benched, a New Comedy Starring Eliza Coupe

By Kaitlin Thomas

Jan 25, 2014


A SORTA HAPPY ENDING?

... USA has ordering Eliza Coupe's new comedy Benched to series. The show follows a successful lawyer (Coupe) who suffers a public nervous breakdown after she doesn't get a big promotion. She eventually finds herself working as a public defender, which the network seems to be billing as a bad thing, but Sandy Cohen was a public defender and remember how awesome he was? The series is a single-camera sitcom co-starring Better Off Ted's Jay Harrington. Behind the scenes, Michaela Watkins (Trophy Wife), Damon Jones (Halfway Home), and John Enbom—who co-created Party Down with Rob Thomas—will serve as executive producers. [USA via press release]


BUSINESS TIME

... Fox has picked up several new projects, including Empire, a drama pilot from producers Lee Daniel (of Lee Daniel's The Butler) and Danny Strong (of Buffy the Vampire SlayerRecount, and many other things). The show, about a hip-hop empire, will feature both original and current music; this news might excite many people, but means little to me, because I know nothing about hip-hop. The network also gave a six-episode order to Weird Loners, a single-camera comedy from Michael Weithorn (King of Queens). The show follows four people who are afraid of relationships and you unexpectedly end up living together in a townhouse in Queens. I really don't know how people keep ending up in these situations; if you don't have friends or are afraid of relationships, why would you ever agree to that living situation in the first place? [THR / Variety]

... HBO will air a 15-minute Game of Thrones special on Sunday, February 9 at 8:45pm. It will feature a look back at previous seasons and a few teases for Season 4. To be honest, that sounds completely lame and like a waste of time. I'll pass and just keep watching the trailer whenever I need a Westeros fix. [HBO via press release]

... ABC has given a pilot order to The Visitors, a new alien drama based on Ray Bradbury's short story Zero Hour, not to be confused with the show from last year that had something to do with Nazis and clocks was called Zero Hour. In fact, we should probably just erase that show from our collective memory starting right now. The Visitors is about aliens who want to destroy the Earth, just like almost every other show about aliens. Yawn. [Deadline]

... Uh-oh, bad news for Rake. Apparently the charming wiles of Greg Kinnear can only take the show so far, because the series premiere only pulled in 7.1 million viewers and a 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Its lead-in, American Idol, had 12.1 million viewers and a 3.3 rating. Though to be fair, I never thought the American Idol audience would be all that interested in Rake anyway. [TV Line

... Michelle Obama will be one of Jimmy Fallon's first guests on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She'll appear in the February 20th episode, which airs during his first week as host. That's pretty damn cool, man. Maybe they'll do some more mom-dancing! [Variety]

... Not getting the memo that many people think Giuliana Rancic is horrible at conducting interviews, E! has decided to give her a permanent space in which to do so. Beyond Candid With Giuliana is a new set of one-hour specials hosted by Rancic that premieres Monday, February 3 at 10pm. Demi Lovato is up first, followed by Melissa Joan Hart (February 17) and Elizabeth Hasselbeck (February 24). Anything's better than Mani Cam, I guess. [TV Guide

... Castle is switching up its schedule a bit. Instead of airing the new episode "Dressed to Kill" on Monday, January 27 as originally planned, the series will air a repeat of "Number One Fan" from last October. "Dressed to Kill" will be pushed back to February 3, replacing "Smells Like Teen Spirit." What all of this means, I have no idea, but Castle's not new on Monday, so take a night off and just relaxxxxx. [ABC via press release]

... Showtime is airing new episodes of ShamelessHouse of Lies, and Episodes during the Super Bowl, which is nice for the seven people in the U.S. who either don't want to watch football or don't want to watch football and don't have to share a TV with people who do, but this seems like a poor business decision. [The Wrap]

... FX has ordered two new comedy series. Up first is Married, starring Nat Faxon (Ben & Kate) and Judy Greer (Archeras Russ and Lina Bowman, a couple that's struggling to survive in suburbia. The second series is You're the Worst. I think that says all we need to know about it, but just in case, it's about two self-destructive people attempting to not blow up their relationship. Good luck with that! Both series are expected to premiere sometime in July [TV Guide]


CASTING NEWS

... Stephen Fry will play the British prime minister in 24: Live Another Day. This news is so awesome that nothing I say will can make it better. [Deadline]

... AMC's new Revolutionary War thriller Turn has found its George Washington. Ian Kahn (Parenthood) will recur as the future first POTUS throughout Season 1, with the option to return for Season 2 should the show be renewed. Washington of course, is still only a general in the Continental Army in the show's timeline, but he's described as being a smart leader with some insecurity issues. Gee, that sounds exactly like someone I want to be president some day. Turn premieres Sunday, April 6. [TV Line]

... Sharon Stone has signed on to play Vice President Natalie Maccabee in TNT's new drama pilot Agent X. The series apparently takes place in a pre-Veep universe, as Maccabee is the first female vice president; an intelligent and attractive woman, she decided to run for office after her husband, a Senate candidate, passed away. Initially worried that she'd have no power, Maccabee soon finds out that her job protecting the Constitution is of the utmost importance. She's aided by her Chief Steward and a secret operative known only as Agent X. [TNT via press release]

... Paul James, who played Calvin Owens on Greek for four seasons, has landed a potentially recurring role on Grey's Anatomy. There aren't many details available on the character, but apparently he arrives at the hospital to assist in some sort of research. [TV Line]

... Kathryn Prescott (the U.K. version of Skins), is joining Reign as Penelope, a kitchen servant who gets to play queen for a day as part of a castle tradition. I do hope someone has warned her about all the corsets, prophecies, and cute brothers she's going to have to deal with now. Oh, and Kenna. God, I hope someone warned her about Kenna. [TV Line]


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  • marlonjones Apr 04, 2014

    Eliza Coup!!! And it's a lawyer show? Double whammy!!

  • OutrSpaceBonobo Jan 27, 2014

    As one of the 7 people in the US who hate football, thanks Showtime!

  • CasualAdventure Jan 27, 2014

    Agent-X sounds good if the plots are based on the US Constitution, but the best news in this round up is about the new 24 season - can't wait!

  • traylaparc Jan 26, 2014

    Benched/Cracked same difference

  • Whedonrules Jan 26, 2014

    One of the Prescott twins heading to 'Reign' - she's the one that played 'Emily' - that is very cool news.

  • dodge_hickey Jan 25, 2014

    Stephen Fry as the Prime Minister? Interesting...

    Happy to hear Eliza Coupe is coming back to TV, I enjoyed Happy Endings.

  • Mate Jan 25, 2014

    Eliza Coupe! This doesn't make up for the fact that USA didn't pick up Happy Endings. Or that the rest of their new stuff looks mediocre and that new reality show with the douchey family looks unbelievably douchey and unwatchable. I mean seriously is anyone going to waste their time on that?

  • HarleyParry Jan 25, 2014

    wonder why the castle episode is being moved back

  • terminaltrip421 Jan 25, 2014

    will definitely be trying out benched. don't do courtroom dramas (rake excepted) but comedy should maybe be alright.

    that 15 minutes of GOT deal does sound lame.

    7.1 million viewers for rake doesn't sound bad? shows what I know I guess. apparently they're airing it out of order anyway so it might just piss me right off as it were.

    you could count me as one of those 7 people as basketball is the only sport I watch because I don't find it to be boring as hell. only problem being that episodes and house of lies have been available one episode in advance every week so I might have already seen those. good news about shameless though.

    it makes me really effing sad to always see that dude from sidekicks staring at me in these ads always populated above the comments box.

  • TrevPlatt Jan 25, 2014

    "... Stephen Fry will play the British prime minister in 24: Live Another Day. This news is so awesome that nothing I say will can make it better."
    And everything else on this page is paled into insignificance.
    Also, who'd you rather have running the country Stephen Fry or Sharon Stone?

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