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USA Ends Upfront Season With a Blast

Upfront season ended with a bang as USA Network said thank you and farewell to weary buyers with a spectacular Grucci fireworks display over the East River.

USA’s event was held in an out-of-the-way spot, Pier 36 on South Street, but because of the suddenly gorgeous weather, almost no one regretted the hike.

Like last year, USA mainly let its talent do the talking, with the cast of the series Suits congratulating buyers for completing their upfront marathon andpresenting clips from upcoming programming. The only network suit - skirt, actually — on stage was NBCUniversal ad sales president Linda Yaccarino, who explained how USA was not only the top-rated cable network, but a part of the vast NBCU media machine, which she said creates additional opportunities to promote clients’ brands.

USA led off with its big-ticket item, Modern Family. Off-network episodes will put USA in the comedy business this fall. Members of the cast got a big round of applause, as did a reel of clips with jokes too blue to air on basic cable, let alone broadcast.

After that, the network showed off three new dramas designed to follow in the footsteps of its seven returning series including Burn Notice, which is entering its final season. The upcoming dramas are Graceland, The Arrangement and Horizon.

With Modern Family, USA is going into the comedy business with two new comedies Playing House and Sirens.

USA is also doing unscripted shows. For one, The Choir, the network presented its characters and ad sales team, who formed a “virtual choir” to record a lively version of “Good Time,” highlighted by a rap by Mark Feuerstein, star of Royal Pains.

The network provided yet more entertainment with a song-and-dance number from the cast of Psych, which will be doing a musical episode in the fall.

Soon, food and drinks were served and Bruce Campbell of Burn Notice, handed out $20 bills to clients — at least they said they were clients — to thank them for their support of the show. Campbell then introduced the band Passion Pit. When night fell, the fireworks began. All of which goes to prove that NBCU’s Empress of Cable Bonnie Hammer and team still know how to throw a party.

The presentation had one dark note. Suits star Patrick J. Adams gave the crowd fair warning: Only 249.5 days till the next upfront presentation.

Complete Coverage: Upfronts 2013