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Channel Surfing: AMC Renews "Mad Men," ABC Cancels "Opportunity Knocks," Brian Cox, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I spent last night in front of the telly, watching The Office (meh), SNL Weekend Update Thursday (hilarious), Crusoe (mind-numbingly boring), It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (funny), and Life on Mars (humdrum). I still have to watch last night's Ugly Betty, however.

AMC has renewed Mad Men for a third season mere weeks before the series' current series wraps up. However, talks continue apace between the cabler, studio Lionsgate Television, and creator Matthew Weiner. Lionsgate does not have a deal in place with Weiner to stay on as showrunner/executive producer for Season Three and he is seeking a raise "commensurate with the white-hot level of acclaim (including the Emmy for drama series last month) and pop-culture buzz the show has generated." Studio hopes to reach a deal with Weiner for both the third and fourth season, which it would then use to leverage an early pickup for Season Four from AMC. Fingers crossed that they are able to come to an arrangement as, to me, Mad Men is synonymous with Matthew Weiner. (Variety)

Jessica Walter wanted to be downgraded to recurring status on CW's 90210. "I'm just recurring on 90210, not a regular," said Walter in an interview. "I come in, drop a glass and goodbye. Actually [Tabitha] hasn't dropped a glass yet! And I recur on Saving Grace too, as Holly Hunter's mother. So it's sort of ideal because I'm bicoastal and, of course, I'm available for other things because I'm not committed on the show. When you're recurring, you're not exclusive." (Los Angeles Times)

ABC has given a put pilot commitment to a US adaptation of British comedy series The Inbetweeners, about four high school boys who belong to the social caste in between the cool, popular clique and the geeks. Project, which aired in the UK on Channel 4, will be overseen by original series creators/executive producers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, who have also written for HBO's Flight of the Conchords, and will adapt their own material without an American writer. In a separate deal, ABC has given Beesley and Morris a blind script commitment with penalty for a future original project. (Hollywood Reporter)

David Arquette, who guest stars in next week's episode of Pushing Daisies as "frescort" Randy Mann, will return to the series later in the season as a potential love interest for Kristin Chenoweth's Olive Snook, according to series creator Bryan Fuller. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

In other Pushing Daisies-related news, ratings for the third episode of the current season were actually up twelve percent this week, with an average of 6.3 million viewers, and retained nearly all of its audience from half-hour to half-hour. Well done, Pie Hole gang! (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

ABC has canceled reality competition series Opportunity Knocks, pulling the series off of its schedule effective immediately. The series had aired three episodes to date in its Tuesdays at 8 pm, where it averaged a 1.9/5 among adults 18-49 and 6.3 million viewers. Series will be replaced by an edited one-hour recap of Dancing with the Stars. Personally, I was surprised that this was ever programmed during the regular season; it screamed cheap summer reality filler to me. (Variety)

Brian Cox (Zodiac) will star opposite Katee Sackhoff in NBC's drama pilot Lost and Found, where he will play Burt Macey, the argumentative and racist older partner to Sackhoff's Tessa who solves crimes by cracking heads and taking names. Cox has also signed on to appear in a four-episode arc on NBC's midseason drama series Kings, where he will play former King Vesper, the nemesis of Ian McShane's Silas Benjamin. (Hollywood Reporter)

The third season premiere episode of NBC's 30 Rock (an advance review of which can be found here) will be offered as a free download on iTunes a full week before its broadcast for readers of TV Guide, who can obtain a special code from the October 27th issue. (Variety)

Colin Hanks will return to CBS' NUMB3RS, where he will reprise his role as mathematician Marshall Penfield, Charlie's frenemy. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Former Veronica Mars cast member Jaime Ray Newman has been cast in a multiple-episode arc on Sci Fi's Eureka, where she will play Dr. Tess Fontana, an engineer/astrophysicist with a unique perspective and a potential love interest for Colin Ferguson's Jack Carter. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


I'm thrilled that Mad Men was order for a third season but hope that things can be worked out with Weiner. The show definitely would not be the same without his vision and dedication to detail.
Anonymous said…
So, so happy to hear that Pushing Daisies numbers are up. That show deserves to grow and grow...not wilt away!
Anonymous said…
I'm surprised that you summarily gave The Office a meh. The opening was funny, and the ending was so sweet and hopeful. (Who can resist further evidence of Pam and Jim's rightness for one another?) And wasn't it you who was heartened by last season's finale that gave evidence of Michael's "growing up?" Here again, turning his back on the controlling and manipulative Jan, he leans in for a touching hug with Holly and declares, if not his manhood, than at least his mid-adolescence!

Barbara HP

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