Exclusive: USA Collars a Date for ‘Covert’ Bow

Top-rated network will use one hit to launch what it hopes will be another

USA will use last year’s big hit "White Collar" to launch what it hopes will be its next  success story– the Doug Liman-produced Piper Perabo action adventure "Covert Affairs."

After shifting to Tuesdays in January to wrap up its first season, "White Collar" will return for its second season on July 13. But while it’s staying on Tuesday nights, the show will now move to 9 p.m.

That’s because "Covert" is getting the key 10 p.m. slot behind "White Collar." "Covert" will also bow July 13.

USA original programming president Jeff Wachtel says the scheduling is old-school– not that there’s anything wrong with that.

"Just because cable is always looking for new models doesn’t mean we have to throw out smart parts of the business," Wachtel told TheWrap. "We had a lot of success putting ‘Monk’ and ‘Psych’ together. We put ‘Royal Pains’ on top of ‘Burn Notice.’ And we launched ‘White Collar’ on the back of the final episodes of ‘Monk.’ We’ve had a lot of success with programming blocks."

Wachtel said he thinks "White Collar" and "Covert" should pair well together.

"They’re similar in feel, though they’re different franchises," he said. "And we like the idea of putting together (‘White’ star) Matt Bomer and Piper Perabo, two of the most talented people around."

"Covert" and "Collar" are part of what’s shaping up to be a busy summer for USA, which at one point in July will have a whopping seven original series on the air. "Royal" and "Burn" return next month, while "Psych" is also set to return in July.

"In Plain Sight" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" are also scheduled to have originals on the air this summer.


Some details on "Covert" affairs, from USA:

Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) is a young CIA trainee who is suddenly thrust into the inner sanctum of the agency after being promoted to field operative. While it appears that she has been hand-picked for her exceptional linguistic skills, it may be something from her past that her CIA bosses are really after. Christopher Gorham plays Auggie Anderson, a CIA military intelligence agent, blinded while on assignment, and Annie’s guide in this world of bureaucracy, excitement and intrigue. Peter Gallagher is Arthur Campbell, the formidable director of Clandestine Services for the CIA. Sendhil Ramamurthy plays Jai Wilcox, an agent with a rich family history within the walls of the CIA. Anne Dudek plays Danielle, a married mother of two and Annie’s older sister who knows nothing of Annie’s life as a spy. Kari Matchett plays Joan, head of the CIA’s Domestic Protection Division…and Arthur’s wife. From Universal Cable Productions, COVERT AFFAIRS is executive produced by Doug Liman (the “Bourne” trilogy, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “The O.C.”) and Dave Bartis (“The O.C.,” “The Heist”) through Dutch Oven and written and co-executive produced by Matt Corman (“Deck the Halls”) and Chris Ord (“Deck the Halls”). James Parriott (Grey’s Anatomy," "Ugly Betty") executive produces. Jonathan Glassner ("Stargate SG-1," "CSI: Miami") is co-executive producer and director.  Tim Matheson (USA’s BURN NOTICE, PSYCH, “Criminal Minds”) directed the pilot.