USA Network has given a pilot presentation order to “Benched,” a courtroom single-camera comedy to star “Happy Endings” alumna Eliza Coupe. The project hails from ABC Signature, the boutique division of ABC Studios launched earlier this year with Tracy Underwood at the helm, which focuses on cable, emerging platforms, off-cycle and lower-cost programming for broadcast networks. ABC Studios-based the Mark Gordon Co. is co-producing “Benched,” which will be directed by Mike Fresco from a script by “Saturday Night Live” alumna Michaela Watkins and The Groundlings’ Damon Jones. Party Down co-creator John Enbom has come on board as showrunner and will executive produce alongside Watkins, Jones, Gordon and Andrea Shay. Benched centers on Nina (Coupe), a dedicated, career-driven corporate attorney who has a very public nervous breakdown after getting passed up for an expected promotion and finds herself working as a public defender. Her personal and professional worlds are turned upside down when she joins the ranks of the legal world’s underdogs and very quickly realizes that the law isn’t quite as fair as she once thought. Benched joins two other USA comedy pilots, “Love Is Dead” and “Divide & Conquer.” Coupe, repped by CAA, Kirsten Ames Management, and attorney Jeff Bernstein, recently wrapped the indie “The Last Time You Had Fun” and next will recur on Showtime’s “House of Lies” and CBS’ “The Millers.”
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