David Breckman, the brother of MONK creator Andy Breckman, has sold a pilot to USA Network called UNDERFUNDED, about a secret agent for the Canadian Intelligence Agency.
Exec VP of programming Jeff Wachtel described the hourlong as a spy thriller
"viewed through this huge comic filter."
"Underfunded" is one of two series pilots under consideration at the cabler.
Other is feature scribe Steve Franks’ "Psych," starring James Roday and Dule
Hill, about a fake psychic detective (Daily Variety, June 17).
Much like USA’s top-rated hour "Monk," both drama pilots are lighter and more
comedic in nature than such past efforts as "Touching Evil" and "Peacemakers."
Wachtel said the move in that direction is strategic.
"We’re not doing this exclusively, but we think there is a real opportunity
to go against the grain of what most broadcast and cable dramas are doing," he
said. "There’s a real dark tone to a lot of what’s out there — most of which is
brilliantly executed — but we see it as a chance to go another way."
Chances are slim, in fact, that the network will renew Ving
Rhames drama "Kojak," which took a decidedly more serious tone
than the original 1973 series. Skein maintained modest ratings throughout its
run, but didn’t reach the highs achieved by "Monk" and "The 4400."
David has been a writer/producer on MONK for its entire run. I think it would be fitting if his show ended up paired with MONK.
UPDATE 5-21-05: David showed me the UNDERFUNDED pilot and it’s hilarious, especially if you’re fan of the Bond movies. Tonally, it’s a cross between THE ROCKFORD FILES and GET SMART. The hero isn’t a buffoon…he’s actually very good, he’s just working for an agency that gets no respect and no money. In that way, it’s sort of reminiscent of the old Canadian spy series ADDERLY. I’m hoping the series gets picked up. There really isn’t anything like it on TV right now.
I’m biased when it comes to PSYCH… Bill Rabkin & I have just written an episode of the show. It’s a very funny series and should pair up very nicely with MONK.