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Hamptons Life

USA Network picks up cable TV show based in the Hamptons

Publication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press
By Brendan O'Reilly   Jan 5, 2009 10:36 AM

The USA cable network will be returning to the East End as soon as next month to resume work on “Royal Pains,” a television series that the network has now picked up for a full season.

Director Jace Alexander and crew shot much of the series pilot, about a doctor who reluctantly becomes a concierge physician to the Hamptons elite, on location in Southampton this past September. Locals were cast as extras for the pilot to add to the authentic Hamptons scenery, but it is still unclear how much of the rest of the series will be filmed on the South Fork, and how much will be faked in another suburb or in a Hollywood or New York City studio.

While production dates and an air date are yet to be set, according to Brad Bernstein, senior press manager for USA Network and NBC Universal Cable Group, the series could begin filming in February or March and hit the airwaves by this summer.

“Royal Pains” stars Mark Feuerstein as a successful New York City emergency room doctor, Hank Lawson, who loses it all after one “fateful and principled decision in the ER.”

Dr. Lawson unintentionally resuscitates his flat-lining career after he crashes a Hamptons party with his brother, played by Paulo Costanzo, and saves an ailing guest experiencing a medical crisis. The next thing he knows, he is the on-call doc for the rich and famous.

Mr. Feuerstein’s credits include the new feature film, “Defiance,” the White House television drama “The West Wing,” and the NBC comedy “Good Morning, Miami.” Mr. Costanzo played the titular character’s brother in “Friends” spin-off “Joey.”

The “Royal Pains” pilot also featured veteran stage and screen actress Christine Ebersole, acclaimed for her work in the musical adaptation of the Maysles brothers documentary, “Grey Gardens,” as high-society matron Mrs. Newberg. Mr. Bernstein said the producers have not yet determined if Mrs. Newberg will be a recurring character in the first season.

Jill Flint of “Cadillac Records” and “Gossip Girl,” which has also done some on-location filming in the Hamptons, plays a hospital administrator, and newcomer Reshma Shetty plays Dr. Lawson’s assistant.

Between the 90-minute pilot and the 11 one-hour episodes USA has ordered, the first season will be just 12 episodes. Mr. Bernstein said that is typical for a first season on USA, and that a second season, should there be one, would likely grow to 16 episodes.

Jeff Wachtel, executive vice president of original programming at USA and co-head of original content at Universal Cable Productions, told The Hollywood Reporter that “Royal Pains” will be more of an offbeat “doctor show,” like “House,” which USA holds syndication rights to, than a “medical show.”

“‘Medical show’ typically means more of a hospital ensemble,” he explained.

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I think that it is great that USA is deciding to film the series here. It has a great town, a wonderful beach, and I'm sure it will do nothing but bring a great reputation to southampton. However, I do not think it is good that the director will try to fake the scenery. If you want to film a series in Southampton, then film it in Southampton, not in a New York City studio.
By KillerFarkle (1), Southampton on Jan 5, 09 3:47 PM
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