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Channel Surfing: Sci Fi to Explore "Stargate Universe," Ben McKenzie Circles "LAPD," "Doctor Who," and More

Good morning and welcome to your Friday television briefing. I can't believe the weekend is finally here and I am definitely ready for some R&R over the next few days, though I am especially jealous that the Brits have off on Monday thanks to August Bank Holiday. (Lucky bastards!) I stayed in last night and watched the slightly soggy two-hour premiere of America's Next Top Model and now I can't get the incessant shrieking out of my head.

Speaking of the CW's launches, the netlet has bumped up the premiere of reality competition series Stylista by a week to October 22nd at 9 pm, directly behind a new episode of Top Model. The move comes shortly after the CW pushed the fashion competition series--from 10 by 10 Ent and Bankable--to October. I'm kind of curious to see Stylista's first episode and, based on the trailers and clips that I've seen, feel that this could be just the right sort of guilty pleasure to enjoy with Top Model. (TV Week)

Sci Fi giveth and it taketh away. The cabler, a day after announcing that the fifth season of Stargate Atlantis would be its last (plus a two-hour telepic in 2009), has finally unveiled the latest addition to the Stargate oeuvre in the form of new series Stargate Universe. New series, said to involve more "space-based action" than its predecessors and a "younger" vibe, will launch as a two-hour movie in early 2009 and then kick off as an ongoing series in Summer 2009. Plot revolves around a team of explorers who discover an unmanned ancient ship called the Destiny and must fend for themselves aboard the ship when they learn they cannot use it to return to Earth as it is on a pre-programmed course bound for the far reaches of the universe. Stargate Atlantis' Brad Wright and Robert Cooper will servce as co-creators/executive producers. (Hollywood Reporter)

David Anders (Alias) and Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica) have been cast in Sci Fi's made-for-television remake of Children of the Corn, which will air next year. (Bloody Disgusting)

Travel Channel has acquired off-net cable rights to Seasons 12-14 of CBS' The Amazing Race, which it will air beginning September 3rd on Wednesdays at 8 pm. CBS is currently filming Season Thirteen of Amazing Race but Season Fourteen has yet to be officially greenlit. Could this mean that another season of TAR is all but guaranteed and we can take the series off of our perpetually on the bubble list? Only time will tell. (Variety)

Let's just hope there aren't any leather wristbands involved. Benjamin McKenzie (The O.C.) could be making a return to series television; he's said to be in talks with Warner Bros. Television, NBC, and John Wells Prods. about joining the cast of ensemble cop drama LAPD, about--you guessed it!--a group of police officers in Los Angeles on and off duty. Already cast in the project: Regina King (24), Kevin Alejandro (Shark), and Michael McGrady (Daybreak). (Hollywood Reporter)

John Hurt (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), Jonathan Tucker (The Black Donnellys), and Swoozie Kurtz (Pushing Daisies) cast in ITV drama An Englishman in New York, a followup to the 1975 telepic The Naked Civil Servant, about eccentric writer Quentin Crisp. Pic, produced for the British broadcaster by Leopard Films, is currently shooting in London and New York. (Variety)

Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks) has been cast as the lead in telepic The 39 Steps, based on John Buchan's classic novel. He'll play Richard Hannay, who meets Scudder, a man who claims to be a British spy; but when Scudder ends up dead in Hannay's flat, he'll go on the run to to unmask a deadly conspiracy that threatens his life and the safety of Britain, teaming up with a feisty suffragette in order to stop an invasion. The 39 Steps will air at Christmas on BBC One. (BBC)

Finally, Catherine Tate has revealed that she is still holding out hope for the return of her character, Donna Noble, to Doctor Who, even after she had her memories erased at the end of Season Four. "I knew that there would definitely be an end to Donna, at the end of the series," Tate told Doctor Who magazine. "But had that not been the case, had it been open-ended, had there been potential for Donna to stay on for another series, I must confess that I'd have said 'yes' like a shot." While that might seem like a definitive answer, Tate isn't closing the door on a possible return. "Could Donna come back?" mused Tate. "Well, in science fiction, anything is possible." (Digital Spy)

Stay tuned.

What's On Tonight

8 pm:
Summer Olympics (NBC); Friday Night SmackDown (CW; 8-10 pm); Collateral (ABC; 8-10 pm); Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (FOX)

9 pm:
Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (FOX)

10 pm: 20/20 (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

9:30 pm: Buffy the Vampire Slayer on HBO Zone.

No, I'm not talking about the brilliant Sarah Michelle Gellar-starring drama series that made us all fans of the genius Mr. Joss Whedon, but the original (and decidedly sub-par) film, which starred Kristy Swanson as the Slayer. And, yes, that is Paul Reubens.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I would love to see Donna Noble pop up again on Doctor Who! If Rose can come back from an alternate universe, I'll keep my hopes up that Donna and the Doctor will be reunited somewhere down the timeline.

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