BY JUDITH APARRI
Having "Mr. Robot" on the USA Network wondered some followers of TV shows how it landed on the cable channel, which is quite a story in itself, but something that definitely cannot be answered by the hacker drama's finale on September 2. The critically acclaimed series, which Vulture said, is perhaps, the most beautiful mystery thriller with a complicated plot encourages its audience to delve deeper into the details.
"Mr. Robot" is actually an off-brand of USA network, which is more known for lighthearted entertainment.
The increasing competition of TV dramas and of viewers shifting from linear TV to on-demand programming had an impact on the network. Its president Chris McCumber said they are eyeing on some changes for the 18 to 49 viewers. He said that TV viewers, who are mainly millennials, "are very sophisticated about the way they watch television." He said they want "more characters that come from the real world and face real problems." In short, the easy, self-contained stories which USA Network was known for, are no longer appealing.
The type of entertainment typical of the network, gradually lost its luster, as evidenced by the short lives of "Common Law" in 2012 and "Rush" in 2014, which could have achieved success had they been conceptualized decades earlier.
The cable titan has been putting up shows for the summer, with the hope that they will become hits. However, for more than a decade, since the multi-awarded and most watched drama in cable history, "Monk," (the show ratings, however, had been surpassed by AMC's "The Walking Dead"), "Mr. Robot" came, when there was not much happening on the USA Network.
While Nielsen found that USA Network stayed at the top for viewer loyalty, as posted on Advertising Ageearly of 2014, the cable channel still suffered losing audience, just like other established huge cable networks, said Vulture. McCumber admitted it started to shake up its used-to-be winning formula and went through a brand evolution.
"Mr. Robot" came to life last summer at USA Network, when McCumber told Sam Esmail to commence the casting and filming of the drama's first episode. Alex Sepiol, the network's development chief was credited for presenting the project to McCumber, and the idea was sold fast when the script was read. McCumber said they saw the uniqueness of the show that when done properly, "could be nothing else on TV."
Esmail's long-term vision for the series and USA Network's willingness to try something else and its devotion to the new show, are contributing factors to where "Mr. Robot" is standing now.
Though it will still be a stretch to call the hacker drama a blockbuster hit, its new episodes brought three million viewers weekly, with an audience who are mostly adults under 50. It outperforms "Graceland," which is on its home network, and already in its third year. It is doing better, compared to other newcomers, like "Humans" or "Sex&Drug&Rock&Roll" of AMC and FX, respectively.
Furthermore, with the buzz about "Mr. Robot," the USA Network will continue being clear about what it wants to do and will be on the lookout for unique programs, according to McCumber.