USA Network (commonly referred to as USA) is an American cable television channel with about 89 million household subscribers as of 2005. The channel shows a variety of original and second-run programming, from syndicated TV series (such as NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and the relocation of Law & Order: Criminal Intent from NBC to USA) to edited movies including the first and second Pirates of the Caribbean films as well as Jim Carrey's Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty. It is notable for its original series, particularly Monk, Psych, and Burn Notice (TV series).
On April 9, 1980, The channel changed its name to USA Network after the ownership structure was reorganized under a joint operating agreement by the UA-Columbia Cablevision cable system (now known as Cablevision Systems Corporation ) and MCA Inc. (whose assets are currently owned largely by NBC Universal and Vivendi SA).
Alan Kalter was the network's main promotional voice throughout the 1980s and much of the 1990s.
At one point, USA shared channel time/space with two upstart cable nets, C-SPAN and Black Entertainment Television; both these services would be listed in TV Guide under "USA", with a disclaimer that the program is a presentation of either BET or C-SPAN. Later, it simulcast Bloomberg TV in the early-morning hours; that simulcast moved to E! in 2004.
In 2000, USA Networks bought Canada's North American Television, Inc. (a joint partnership between the CBC and Power Corporation of Canada), owner of cable TV channels Trio and Newsworld International (the CBC continued to program NWI until 2005, when eventual USA owner Vivendi sold the channel to a group led by Al Gore, who relaunched it as Current TV).
In 2001, USA Networks sold its non-shopping TV and film assets (including the USA Network, the Sci Fi Channel, the Trio channel, USA Films (which is rechristened as Focus Features) and Studios USA) to Vivendi Universal. USA and the other channels are folded into Vivendi's Universal Television Group.
In 2003, General Electric's NBC agreed to buy 80% of Vivendi Universal's North American-based filmed entertainment assets, including Universal Pictures and Universal Television Group in a multibillion dollar purchase, renaming the merged company NBC Universal.
In 2004, NBC Universal officially took over as owner of USA and its sibling cable channels (except for Newsworld International as stated above).
Once a minor player in basic cable, the network has steadily gained popularity because of breakout hits like the detective series Monk, the fake psychic crime-solving series Psych, the covert-operations spy series Burn Notice, the return of WWE Raw, the science fiction mini-series turned regular series The 4400, and the Stephen King–based psychic series The Dead Zone. Reruns of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and NCIS are also frequently shown. Other syndicated programs on the network include Becker, House, JAG, Wings and Walker, Texas Ranger. The network also broadcasts a variety of films from the Universal Studios library.
NBC Universal announced before NBC released their 2007–08 fall schedule on May 13, 2007 that Criminal Intent would be renewed for a seventh season. However, the new episodes of the series would premiere on USA beginning in fall 2007, with episodes repeating later in the season on NBC, most likely to shore up any programming holes created by a failed series. Although this is not the first time a broadcast series has moved to cable (as early as 1987, NBC's revival of Alfred Hitchcock Presents moved to USA Network), it is a first in that a series which moved to cable will continue to show episodes on a broadcast network during its first-run era . On December 7, 2007, it was announced that USA Network would continue broadcasting first-run episodes of WWE Monday Night Raw until 2010.
In 2008, USA announced a new original series In Plain Sight, starring Mary McCormack, focusing on a United States Marshal working for the Witness Protection Program. The show was filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The series debuted June 1, 2008 with some fairly high ratings. It became USA's highest-rated series premiere since the premiere of Psych in 2006 with 5.3 million viewers.
Hercules heads for stars.(actor Kevin Sorbo, starring in 'Hercules' series produced by Studios USA to join Tribune Entertainment)
May 17, 1999; Sorbo exits Studios USA series to join Tribune Entertainment and Roddenberry show Actor Kevin Sorbo is ending his five-year...