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USA Picks Up Comedy Competition Series From Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey is ready to make a great first impression on USA.

The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has picked up an unscripted comedy exec produced by the Saturday Night Livealum, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

First Impressions is a half-hour competition series that puts America's best amateur impressionists against each other in a weekly battle. Carvey will serve as the show's "expert-in-residence," mentoring the contestants and participating in game play. Other celebrity guests will be featured as well, and viewers across the country will vote each week to help crown a winner.

Carvey will exec produce the project with Jeff Gaspin, David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe. Renegade 83 and Gaspin Media will produce.

“There is no better talent to mentor these contestants than the master of impressions, Dana Carvey,” said Jackie de Crinis, executive vp original programming at USA Network. “The expertise and humor that he will bring to the series is unsurpassed and we can’t wait to have his world famous celebrity impersonations on our network.”

Added Carvey: "There are so many great impressionists and First Impressions gives them an opportunity to showcase their talents. Besides, I've always enjoyed watching an impressionist nail somebody... as in capture their voice. Now I get paid to watch."

This marks Carvey's first TV series since his short-lived ABC variety show, The Dana Carvey Show, in 1996. After largely retreating from the public eye to focus on his family, Carvey headlined a 2008 HBO stand-up special. Two years later, he co-created and starred in a sketch comedy pilot for Fox, Spoof, that was not picked up to series. He most recently appeared on the SNL 40th Anniversary Special in February. Carvey is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment.

For USA, the pickup comes as the network has shifted away from scripted comedies such as failed effortsSirens and Benched, and more towards unscripted half-hours like Chrisley Knows Best. The network is about to launch its first "soft-scripted" comedy, Donny!, in which famed ad man Donny Deutsch plays a fictionalized version of himself, on Nov. 10.

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