USA Network is getting back into the sci-fi business.
The cable network has given a cast-contingent pilot order to Horizon, a period sci-fi drama from The Walking Dead's Gale Anne Hurd and Burn Notice's Bridget Tyler.
Set during the height of World War II, Horizon centers on a secretary at the FBI who discovers that her husband might have been killed in a battle with a spaceship in the South Pacific. Obsessed with learning the truth, she becomes the only person standing between Earth and an alien invasion.
Hurd will executive produce the drama alongside Tyler, who will pen the script for Horizon, which is part of The Walking Dead executive producer's recent pod deal for her Valhalla Entertainment banner with Universal Cable Productions.
The entry marks USA's continued push to move away from its Blue Skies brand and first genre piece since The 4400 and first period drama to land at the network poised to mark its seventh consecutive year as the No. 1 cable network. Sci-fi drama 4400 ran from 2004-2007 and revolved around a group of missing people who returned to Earth via a comet.
"This signals the next step in the evolution of our programming brand," USA Network co- presidents Jeff Wachtel and Chris McCumber said.
USA exec vp original scripted programming Bill McGoldrick noted that USA's Alex Sepiol, senior vp original scripted series programming, championed the project and pushed it through at the network. "We've been actively looking in two areas for a while -- genre and period -- and we got this great script that combines them both," McGoldrick told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's playing in two worlds that we really like, and we're able to do it in one project with Gale Anne Hurd, who is the hot TV name right now. We found this great voice in Bridget, which Gale has cultivated really well."
Horizon joins the network's pilots including comedies Paging Dr. Freed, starring Kyle Howard, Joel David Moore and Annie Potts, and Denis Leary's Sirens, with Michael Mosley, and its Elmore Leonard drama based on his short story When the Women Come Out to Dance. New series Graceland, from White Collar's Jeff Eastin , will bow in the summer.
Horizon comes after USA Network canceled Common Law and its female-fronted drama Fairly Legal, starring Sarah Shahi.
Should Horizon earn a series order, it would join a scripted lineup that includes Psych, Burn Notice, Suits, White Collar, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs and likely Necessary Roughness, which is nearing an official renewal at the network.
Hurd's Valhalla shingle, meanwhile, is already in development on a handful of projects, including NBC's drama 11th Commandment, FX pirate drama Port Royal and AMC's Area 51, among others.