It’s a go for two half-hour comedy projects on USA – the network has ordered pilots for not one but two new series. It’s the first time the network has waded into the half-hour comedy waters in over a decade; after making an initial move by purchasing a script for a half-hour comedy a while back, these two pilots make it clear that USA is serious about moving into the genre full speed ahead.

Of the five half-hour projects in development since May, USA has given the greenlight to two today, according to Deadline. First up is a single-camera project initially known as On We Go created and executive produced by Douglas McGrath and starring Nathan Lane. Lane will star as a Texas native who gives up his dreams of Broadway stardom to return home to care for his ailing father. Lane is filming Snow White currently opposite A-lister Julia Roberts; he will also executive produce.

The second pilot to receive the go ahead from USA is Paging Dr. Freed, which follows two brothers who step in to take over the family medical practice when their father passes away unexpectedly. Michael Feldman of Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven is on board as writer and executive producer along with Katy McCaffrey and Brad Johnson as producers.

The move to bring back half-hour comedies, which have been absent from the network for a long time marks a shift in the network’s branding. Network co-presidents Jeff Wachtel and Chris McCumber stated the change is a move towards “broadening the appeal of USA’s entertainment brand”. USA also picked up the huge ABC hit Modern Family in syndication, a major move for the network and a sign of the direction they are planning to take in the future.

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