USA Network has opted not to order additional episodes of Political Animals, its acclaimed-yet-ratings-challenged drama from Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark and starring Sigourney Weaver. Although billed as a “limited series event,” Berlanti told TVLine over the summer that there was potential to spin more stories about the Barrish family (fronted by Weaver) and intrepid journo Susan Berg (Carla Gugino). But the ratings never matched the universal raves it garnered; the Washington D.C.-set saga averaged roughly 3.2 million viewers during its run. Still, there was hope that the undeniable cachet it brought to USA would lead to a Season 2 order. “We are proud of Political Animals, our miniseries that attracted critical acclaim and impacted the cultural conversation this summer,” the network said in a statement. “It was a pleasure to work with Greg Berlanti and Laurence Mark and a powerful cast led by Sigourney Weaver. We look forward to collaborating again with these immensely talented creatives.” In a statement released via Twitter on Friday, Berlanti called the project “one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life,” adding, “The cast, the crew, writers, studio and USA were all a dream to work with. We all got to make what we set out to. Couldn’t be more proud!”
Though Political Animals, USA Network’s star-studded “limited series event,” by no means roared out of the gate ratings-wise, laying claim to a piece of the pop culture conversation and generating buzz in other ways could – could– be enough to trigger a Season 2 pick-up.
Facing stiff competition in its July 15 bow – including Breaking Bad‘s final season opener, HBO’s noisy if polarizing The Newsroom and A&E’s ever-rising Longmire – Political Animals started off with an audience of 2.6 million total viewers and a 0.5 demo rating. In Week 2, those numbers dipped, about 10 percent.
But when asked if there was a ratings target/minimum that would prompt a renewal order, NBC Universal chair Bonnie Hammer shook her head and told TVLine, “We never quite measure it that black-and-white. We want to see what the response is, we want to see who comes [and see] what kind of interesting buzz it brings to USA as a whole.
“It’s never just, ‘Do you hit a certain rating?’” she reiterated. “It’s really about the whole, what it adds to USA as a brand.”
Though Political Animals was from the get-go announced as a six-week limited series, series creator Greg Berlanti tells us “the hope” has always been to tell more stories about the Barrish family (fronted by Sigourney Weaver), intrepid journo Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) et al.
“Everyone is contracted for multiple seasons if we get picked up for multiple seasons,” Berlanti says. “We have a whole life of the characters [planned out], some of which is set up in these six [episodes], and a lot of which we pay off in these six.”
“The season can come down [after] six and hopefully you’ll be satisfied with what’s gone on,” adds executive producer Laurence Mark. “But we’re happy to raise the curtain again!”
Anger Management (FX)
Premieres: Thursday, June 28 at 10/9c
He’s baaack! Charlie Sheen returns to TV as ex baseball player Charlie (can he ever play someone not named Charlie?) who overcomes his own anger issues to become an anger management therapist himself. (Do his methods involve tiger blood?) The series is based on the Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler flick of the same name and also stars Selma Blair (as his therapist and possible love interest), Shawnee Smith (as his ex-wife) and fellow Chuck Lorre antagonist Brett Butler (as a bartender). Sheen’s ex-wife Denise Richards — never one to turn down a chance to appear on one of his shows (see: Spin City, Two and a Half Men) — will guest-star as a business partner of Smith’s character. And if the test audience is any indication, Sheen may be winning once again.
Around the World in 80 Plates (Bravo)
Premieres: Wednesday, May 9 at 10/9c
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if The Amazing Race and Top Chef had a baby, this would be the answer. Hosted by Curtis Stone and Cat Cora, the culinary competition series features 12 chefs traveling across 10 countries in 44 days to whip up local cuisines. Seeing as The Amazing Race and Top Chef are the only shows to ever win the reality-competition series Emmy Award, perhaps we ought to keep a close eye on this one.
Baby Daddy (ABC Family)
Premieres: Wednesday, June 20 at 8:30/7:30c
Think Raising Hope meets Three Men and a Baby. Twentysomething Ben (Jean-Luc Bilodeu) becomes a surprise dad to a baby girl when she’s left on his doorstep by a former gal pal. He decides to raise the baby with his motley crew of helpers: mom Bonnie (Melissa Peterman), his brother Danny (Derek Theler), his best buddy Tucker (Tahj Mowry) and his pal, Riley (Chelsea Kane), who has a secret crush on him. And no, the baby news does not diminish her feelings.
Beverly Hills Nannies (ABC Family)
Premieres: Wednesday, July 11 at 9/8c
Yep, it’s another reality series in the most famous zip code in the world. This one is, as the title suggests, about nannies who work for well-off families in town. Unsurprisingly, the show comes from the producers of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and The Real Housewives of Orange County. Can you say “crossover”?
Breaking Pointe (CW)
Premieres: Thursday, May 31 at 8/7c
Sadly, this is not a Grosse Pointe sequel. This reality series, from the producers of Big Brother and Dancing with the Stars, goes behind the scenes of the uber-competitive Ballet West company in Salt Lake City. If it’s anything like Black Swan, we’re there!
Bunheads (ABC Family)
Premieres: Monday, June 11 at 9/8c
Two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster makes her TV debut as a disgruntled Las Vegas showgirl who impulsively marries a man and moves to his small hometown, where she becomes a ballet teacher at her mother-in-law’s dance school. Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino is the mastermind behind this, so expect lots of rapid-fire wisecracks. So you think you can dance, Breaking Pointe? We can speak fast!
The Catalina (CW)
Premieres: Tuesday, May 29 at 8/7c
Snooki & Co. may be back on the Jersey Shore, but that doesn’t mean reality TV is done with South Beach. This docu-series follows the young staff at The Catalina hotel in Miami who work by day and party as hard as you’d expect them to by night. As long as they don’t have their own “GTL” slogan, we’ll be good.
The Choice (Fox)
Premieres: Thursday, June 7 at 8/7c
The Dating Game meets The Voice — spinning chairs and all! (no word on Purrfect the Cat yet, though) — in Fox’s new celebrity dating series. Four single celebs will sit in rotating chairs in front of a live studio audience, with their backs to a bunch of singles. The contestants can describe their life, their interests and their turn-ons — but the celebrities can only rely on their voice and their answers before spinning around. The star bachelors and bachelorettes include Joe Jonas, Tyson Beckford, Dean Cain, Jersey Shore‘s Pauly D and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, Rob Kardashian and chef Rocco DiSpirito, Carmen Electra and Playboy Playmate of the Year Hope Dworaczyk. We just hope someone will recite Meredith Grey’s “choose me” speech.
Common Law (USA)
Premieres: Friday, May 11 at 10/9c
USA already has a football player seeing a therapist, so why not cops too? Odd couple detective partners Travis (Michael Ealy) and Wes (Warren Kole) loathe each other and are ordered into couples counseling by their captain (Jack McGee) to work out their differences. Lost‘s Sonya Walger plays their therapist. But all of this begs the question: Wouldn’t it be easier to assign them new partners?
Premieres: Wednesday, June 13 at 9/8c
Ready to head back to Southfork? This is no reboot, but rather a continuation of the original CBS soap — so much so that original players Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy will reprise their roles. But Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe will primarily be the ones getting knee deep in oil drama as dueling cousins John Ross Ewing III and Christopher Ewing, respectively. Jordana Brewster and Brenda Strong round out the cast. Fingers crossed for no dream season.
Dogs in the City (CBS)
Premieres: Wednesday, May 30 at 8/7c
Watch out, Cesar Milan! Dog-training guru Justin Silver plays mediator for New York City dog owners who are having various problems with their pooches. But don’t automatically blame the dogs! Sometimes it’s the two-legged creatures who are at fault.
Premieres: Thursday, May 24 at 8/7c
You can never have too many singing competition shows, right? Mentors John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, Robin Thicke and Kelly Clarkson (wonder what Idol thinks) travel the country to search for a singer to duet with them. They will each choose two singers to be his or her partner, and will perform in front of a live audience each week. The winner will get a record contract at Hollywood Records.
Premieres: Sunday, June 3 at 10/9c
Geek babes Katee Sackhoff and Cassidy Freeman on the same show?! Yep! But this is anything but a nerd’s wet dream. Based on Craig Johnson’s mystery novels, the series stars Robert Taylor as the newly widowed Walt Longmire, who, at the behest of his daughter Cady (Freeman), decides to run for re-election as sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyo., against Branch (Bailey Chase), a young deputy. Sackhoff plays Vic, a new deputy, and Lou Diamond Phillips plays Longmire’s confidant Henry Standing Bear.
Major Crimes (TNT)
Premieres: Monday, Aug. 13 at 10/9c
The Closer will (finally) wrap its seventh and final season this summer, but it’s never truly going away. Mary McDonnell will star in this spin-off focused on Captain Sharon Raydor, who takes over as the head of the Major Crimes division. A bevy of Closer stars will join her too: G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul, Raymond Cruz and Phillip P. Keene. See? The Closer is here to stay.
Men at Work (TBS)
Premieres: Thursday, May 24 at 10/9c
The men are Danny Masterson, James Lesure, Adam Busch and Kyle Cassidy. The work is at a magazine. The latter three’s characters help their pal/co-worker Milo (Masterson) re-enter the dating scene after he got dumped by his girlfriend. Breckin Meyer is the creator and executive producer.
The Newsroom (HBO)
Premieres: Sunday, June 24 at 10/9c
Aaron Sorkin returns to TV with this behind-the-scenes look (what other kind would he do?!) at fictional cable news network ACN. Jeff Daniels plays anchor Will McAvoy, who after a Howard Beale-like meltdown, sets out to put on News Night with his new executive producer (Emily Mortimer), his newsroom staff (Alison Pill, John Gallagher, Jr., Olivia Munn, Dev Patel, Thomas Sadoski) and their boss (Sam Waterston). Jane Fonda, in her first major TV role, will recur as Leona Lansing, CEO of ACN’s parent company. Surely, she must’ve learned a thing or two from Ted Turner.
Premieres: Monday, July 9 at 10/9c
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: A quirky genius with a keen understanding of the mind and human behavior consults with the federal government to solve cases. No, it’s not Patrick Jane, but Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack), whose team includes FBI agent and former student Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook), his teaching assistant Max (Arjay Smith) and Natalie (Kelly Rowan), his best friend. The difference between Jane and Pierce? Pierce is a neuroscientist. And he’s insane. (Yeah, The Crazy Neuroscientist doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as The Mentalist.)
Political Animals (USA)
Premieres: Sunday, July 15 at 10/9c
The six-part miniseries stars Sigourney Weaver as Elaine Barrish, a former First Lady and current Secretary of State, who struggles to keep her family together as she deals with the State Department’s crises. She strikes an unlikely friendship with a journalist (Carla Gugino) who has spent her career tearing Elaine down. (Isn’t that always the case?) The project comes from Brothers & Sisters Greg Berlanti and also stars Ellen Burstyn, James Wolk, Adrian Pasdar, Sebastian Stan and Brittany Ishibashi.
Saving Hope (NBC)
Premieres: Thursday, June 7 at 10/9c
Another Smallville hottie is back on TV! Erica Durance stars in this Canadian import as a surgeon whose life is turned upside down after her fiancée Charlie (Michael Shanks), the Chief of Staff at Toronto’s Hope-Zion Hospital, ends up in a coma. Little do she and the staff know, Charlie is roaming the halls in spirit form. The Vampire Diaries‘ Daniel Gillies also stars as new hot-shot surgeon Joel Goran. Can you say “supernatural love triangle”?
The Soul Man (TV Land)
Premieres: Wednesday, June 20 at 10/9c
Do you have faith in Cedric the Entertainer? The comedian headlines this Hot in Cleveland spin-off as Rev. Boyce “The Voice” Ballentine, who takes over his father’s church. Niecy Nash co-stars as his wife Lolli. So when will Betty White and the ladies drop by?
Sullivan and Son (TBS)
Premieres: Thursday, July 19 at 10/9c
Look! It’s another show about a son taking over the family business. Big city lawyer Steve Sullivan (Steve Byrne) abruptly decides to run his parents legendary Pittsburgh bar Sullivan & Son when he learns that they are planning to sell it during a visit. Let’s see how well this goes over with his girlfriend Ashley (Brooke Lyons). Dan Lauria and Jodi Long co-star as Steve’s Irish-American father, Jack Sullivan, and Korean mother, Ok Cha.
Take Me Out (Fox)
Premieres: Thursday, June 7 at 8/7c
If The Choice is not your speed, Fox has another dating show for you. Based on the popular Australian and British series, this fast-paced show features 30 single women who go through four rounds of speed-dating to find their soul mate. George Lopez will host and facilitate the matchmaking. Because if there’s anyone who should be playing cupid, it’s George Lopez.
Trust Us with Your Life (ABC)
Premieres: Tuesday, July 10 at 9/8c
Don’t worry — this isn’t some stunt-heavy trust-fall show. It’s actually an improv series from the Whose Line Is It Anyway? guys. Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie Jonathan Mangum will act out key moments in a celebrity’s life that they have just described. Fred Willard will host, and the participating stars are David Hasselhoff, Jerry Springer, Florence Henderson, Mark Cuban, Jack and Kelly Osbourne, Ricky Gervais and Serena Williams. (Quick! Count all the Dancing with the Stars alums.)