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Key USA Series in Limbo as Talks Stall Deadline

The fate of a "signature" USA Network series is hanging in the balance with talks at an impasse between the cable channel and the show's producer, Fox TV Studios. Writing on Deadline.com, Nellie Andreeva reports that renewal talks for “White Collar” have stalled out, with “no meaningful dialogue so far."

Usually the show would be deep in pre-production by now, with filming to start in March. "But not this year," Andreeva writes. "It’s already mid-February, and there is still no decision on the future of the buddy crime drama whose most recent fifth season ended two weeks ago."

The season ended in a cliffhanger, which makes one “assume that there will be some sort of continuation, likely a conclusion for the series," Andreeva notes. "The question is what that sixth and final installment will be."

Andreeva adds: “I hear the network has been mulling a short miniseries to wrap the story in the vein of Showtime’s ‘The Big C,’ while the studio would prefer a traditional final season. ‘While Collar's' status as one of USA’s signature series would weigh in favor of the second option.”

Other top USA shows such as “Monk” and “Psych” have received a “proper send-off with a final season,” the report notes, although “White Collar” was hurt by its move to fall for the first time. Still, ratings improved in January when it aired the conclusion of the fifth season.

“With ratings still solid, the focus turns to the show’s economics and creative vitality." Andreeva writes. "At this point in the run of a series, a network is responsible for the full production cost.”

The report notes: “With a well-known cast and extensive location shoots in New York, ‘White Collar’ is an expensive show. What’s more, it is not owned by USA. USA parent NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment has made owning content a priority with the appointments of Jeff Wachtel and Dawn Olmstead to spearhead in-house production efforts.”

Fox TV Studios is reportedly willing to share some of the cost of a final season, including a lower license fee, the story reports, adding that taking on the cost of a new season might not make a lot of sense for USA.

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