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Channel Surfing: Gossip Girls Head to "30 Rock," Jason Biggs Teams with Mitch Hurwitz, "Mad Men" Maestro Looking Elsewhere, and More

Good morning and welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I cannot believe that this week was in any way truncated as it felt so damn long. (Am I alone in thinking that?) I spent last night watching the pilot for Rob Thomas' new version of Cupid and caught up on some backlog on my TiVo and cannot wait for this weekend. (The wife and I are planning a movie marathon tomorrow night. On deck: Son of Rambow, Hamlet 2, Redbelt, and Amateur.)

ROTFLMAO! Gossip Girl's Blake Lively and Leighton Meester have signed on to guest star in a November episode of NBC's 30 Rock, where they'll play high school classmates of Liz Lemon in a flashback sequence that reveals that Liz (Tina Fey) was a mean girl (how this squares with her D&D-playing days remains to be seen); the episode revolves around Liz's twenty-year high school reunion, so look for producers to cast adult versions of Lively and Meester's teen characters. Up for the part: Robyn Lively (Savannah), sister to Blake, who is said to be talking to 30 Rock producers right now. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

CBS has given a put pilot order to an untitled new hybrid comedy from writer/executive producer Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development) about a family comprised of adult siblings and their parents who are way too involved in one another's lives. Jason Biggs is in final talks to join the cast of the as-yet-untitled series, from Sony Pictures TV and CBS Paramount TV, which also received an order for six additional scripts. Hurwitz will write the script with Jim Vallely (Arrested Development). (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC is developing The Return, a sci-fi drama about the fallout around the world, including in the hallowed halls of Washington, when aliens land on Earth. Project is from executive producers Greg Berlanti (Dirty Sexy Money) and Rene Echevarria (The 4400) and ABC Studios. Something tells me from the title that these baddies may have been here before. (Variety)

Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is making the rounds at the studios in the next few weeks to shop for a lucrative overall deal... just as Mad Men itself finds out how many statuettes it will be taking home at the Emmys on September 21st. Weiner is only under contract as showrunner on Mad Men until the end of its current sophomore season and studio Lionsgate and cabler AMC have begun talks about renewing it for a third season, discussions which will hinge on Weiner's continued participation. Even if Weiner does sign an overall deal elsewhere, it's still likely he'll reup at Lionsgate to continue on Mad Men. Fingers crossed... (Variety)

Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele, fresh off the Great White Way, have been cast in FOX's musical drama pilot Glee for writer/executive producer Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck). Pilot, about a high school Spanish teacher who takes over as the adviser for the school's struggling glee club while attempting to relive his own glory days in the club, is being fast-tracked for a March launch. Michele will play the club's fame-seeking star singer; Morrison will play Will, the Spanish teacher-turned-glee club guru. Personally, I found the script to be a bit mawkish and overly earnest while also striving for humor but failing to deliver on that front; still, I'm hping with some rewrites that this could turn around to become catnip for the Idol set. (Hollywood Reporter)

Alan Dale admitted that he "got sick" of watching his current series Lost (where he plays nefarious billionaire Charles Widmore) during its third season. "At that point I felt like I had watched them wandering in a line through the forests a bit sweaty for the 1,000th time," said Dale in an interview. "I thought, 'I can't watch this anymore.' Then out of the bushes came a black cloud, which grabbed a black man and threw him to the ground, and I thought, 'I definitely can't watch this anymore'." Um, wow. If that weren't bad enough, he refers to co-star Junjin Kim as "the lovely Korean girl." Seriously. (Digital Spy's Tube Talk)

Gail O'Grady (Hidden Palms, NYPD Blue) is joining the cast of ABC's Desperate Housewives as one of the cul-de-sac's newest neighbors. She'll play the Mrs. Robinson character that originally set her sights on one of Lynette's now-grown twin terrors. Plans may have changed since then. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Anthony Edwards will turn up on one episode of ER next season, reprising his role as Dr. Mark Greene.

Michael Rodrick (Another World) will appear in a multiple-episode arc on 24 as Stokes, "a deadly military operative." He last appeared on screen in the 2007 Bones episode "Spaceman in a Crater." (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.

What's On Tonight

8 pm:
Stand Up to Cancer (CBS); Stand Up to Cancer (NBC); Friday Night SmackDown! (CW; 8-10 pm); Stand Up to Cancer (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (FOX; 8-10 pm)

9 pm:
CBS Fall Preview/Old Christine (CBS); NFL Opening Kickoff 2008 (NBC); America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC)

10 pm: Swingtown (CBS); Dateline (NBC); 20/20 (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Stand Up to Cancer (CBS, NBC, or ABC)

This fund-raiser, airing on three of the four major networks tonight, is looking to entertain and raise money for cancer research; it features reports by Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, and Brian Williams and appearances by Lance Armstrong, Christina Applegate, and many others.

9 pm: CBS Fall Preview.

Looking for an advance look at some of CBS' new and returning series, such as The Mentalist, Eleventh Hour, and The Ex List? Then check it out.

10 pm: Swingtown on CBS.

On the season (and possibly series) finale ("Take It to the Limit"), Tom and Trina host a clambake key part to celebrate the end of summer.


Anonymous said…
Would love to hear your thoughts on CUPID. Hope they're good
I hope they find someone really great to play teen Liz in the flashback sequence for 30 Rock. Little Lemon will have big shoes to fill!
Anonymous said…
Alan Dale needs to spend less time bad mouthing his show and more time working on his accent. I still can't decide if his character on Lost is supposed to be British, Irish, Australian, or American.
Anonymous said…
The Return sounds great! I miss the 4400 something fierce, so glad to see anything new from that showrunner.

The Hurwitz show sounds... kinda like Arrested Development to me. Not a bad thing of course. I think Hurwitz may have made some more fans in the time after AD got canceled.
Anonymous said…
Oh Alan Dale....
Spin the Moon said…
I love 30 Rock and they usually use their guest stars well, but that's all I'm hearing about the show lately. Are they going to have guest star overload? Will they really have time for a real storyline, or only the parade of characters that stick around for an episode and shuffle off?

And Anthony Edwards? Holy Cow, he's been off that show a long time. And um... dead, if I recall (I know, a flashback).

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