'NCIS' Boards USA Schedule

The new year will feature some new pro
gramming plays from USA Network.

The “characters” channel will add NCIS to its Wednesday-night lineup, beginning Jan. 2. USA acquired the syndicated rights to the CBS drama, starring Mark Harmon, from Paramount Domestic Television early in 2006.

For now, USA will go back to the show's outset with its first two episodes running in the 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. timeslot. Weekday stripping of NCIS is scheduled to start in the fall.

The second half of the sixth and sophomore seasons of Monk and Psych will debut on Jan. 11 at 9 and 10 p.m., respectively. Having premiered 10 installments apiece this past summer, USA has a half-dozen new episodes ready to roll next month.

The shows then get a second life on NBC, which will repurpose and twin its cable cousin's hit series in an 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-night block, starting March 2. Bonnie Hammer, president of USA Network and Sci Fi Channel, said the NBC showings were factored into the budgets for these series.

“That was always an end-game goal. The strike did accelerate the discussions,” she said during a conference call announcing the repurposing play. “Monk and Psych have similar demographic compositions to series on NBC. This will generate new sampling opportunities and drive new viewers to USA next summer, when we present more original episodes.”

That scheduling is predicated on a resolution of the Writers Guild of America strike.

USA officials said negotiations were underway for a seventh season of Monk when the work stoppage ground Hollywood to a halt. Similarly, production had not begun on the second half of Law & Order: Criminal Intent — 10 episodes ran in the fall, with a dozen more slated for this spring — the third season of Psych, the second campaign of Burn Notice and the rookie run of The Starter Wife.

USA does have 13 hours of In Plain Sight in the can. The plan now calls for the show, focusing on a federal marshal (Mary McCormack) and people in the witness-protection program, to debut sometime in the second quarter, according to officials.

Resolution of the WGA strike aside, fresh episodes of long-running series The Dead Zone and The 4400 will not surface again on the network. With ratings eroding, USA cancelled the series after runs of six and four seasons, respectively.