The Purge, Treadstone Canceled As USA Looks to Go Live, Unscripted

With the NBCUniversal network shifting its focus from scripted to more live and unscripted/reality programming, it wasn't much of a surprise to hear that USA Network was purging The Purge and putting a hit out on Treadstone. The "Bourne" film franchise spin-off (along with previously-cut drama Dare Me) was canceled after only a single season, while The Purge lasted for two seasons. Reports are that the series were too expensive for the linear numbers they were pulling and that UCP's streaming deal with Amazon Prime wasn't enough to offset the financial hit.

The Purge night begins, courtesy of USA Network/NBCU.
The Purge night begins, courtesy of USA Network/NBCU.

NBCU's USA Network is one of a number of basic cable networks moving away from the financial risk of scripted programming during a time of uncertainty with a linear ad-supported cable business model in play. What that means is more WWE Monday Night RAW, Chrisley Knows Best, and Modern Family marathons alongside reboots of Temptation Island and The Biggest Loser. USA Network will be looking to "event programming" with its scripted content decisions moving forward: the second installment of anthology Dirty John, starring Christian Slater and Amanda Peet; and limited series Evel headline by Milo Ventimiglia.

From a producer of the "Bourne" film franchise, Treadstone was an action-packed thriller set amidst the CIA black ops program Operation Treadstone. The series explored the origin story and present-day actions of the infamous covert program that uses behavior modification protocol to turn recruits into nearly superhuman assassins. The first season followed sleeper agents across the globe as they're mysteriously "awakened" to resume their deadly missions. Treadstone was produced by and developed by UCP and executive produced by Tim Kring. Ben Smith, and Jeffrey Weiner ("Bourne" film franchise) also executive produced.

Based on the hit movie franchise, The Purge revolves around a 12-hour period when all crime, including murder, is legal. Season 2 explored how a single Purge night affected the lives of four interconnected characters over the course of the ensuing year, all inevitably leading up to the next Purge. The Purge Season 2 was executive produced by the film franchise creator James DeMonaco, who executive produced along with his partner for Man in a Tree, Sébastien K. Lemercier; Krystal Houghton Ziv, James Roland, Tim Andrew, and Jason Blum. Additionally, Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form, from the film franchise, served as executive producers under the Platinum Dunes banner, as does Thomas Kelly. The series was a co-production between Blumhouse Television and UCP.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.

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