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Channel Surfing: "Star Trek," Will Arnett, "The Mentalist," David E. Kelley Briefs NBC, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

While not totally TV-related, you can see a sneak peek of the cover of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (which hits newsstands tomorrow) to the right, depicting Heroes' Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine as Spock and Kirk in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. The issue also features an in-depth interview with Abrams, in which he talks about Star Trek, his YouTube-fueled feud with William Shatner, and also features quotes from Leonard Nimoy and Quinto about the new film.

Are you GOB Bluth? FOX is said to be in final negotiations for a talent/development deal with Will Arnett (Arrested Development); under the deal, FOX would develop a comedy vehicle for Arnett or cast him in a pre-existing project at the network. Arnett, who is currently recurring as Devon Banks on NBC's 30 Rock, also stars (or his voice does, anyway) in FOX's upcoming animated comedy series Sit Down, Shut Up. (TV Week)

Not such good news, however, for another Arrested Development alum. Jessica Walter has been downgraded from series regular to recurring status on CW's 90210, where she plays boozy faded actress Tabitha. The rationale is said to be budget-related, though Jessica Lowndes (who plays irritatingly shrill Adrianna) has been promoted to regular. As much as I love Walter, I have to say that her talents are being tragically wasted here and I hated the way that the writers trotted her out to utter a few humorless lines every couple of episodes. Let's hope she finds some more challenging material quickly. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

CBS has handed out a full season order to Warner Bros. Television's drama The Mentalist, this season's top new drama in viewers and adults 25-54. Series, which stars Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Tim Kang, Owain Yeoman, and Amanda Righetti, has averaged 16.14 million viewers so far. (Futon Critic)

NBC has issued a series order for a new untitled legal drama from David E. Kelley and Warner Bros. Television (Kelley moved to a new deal at Warners earlier this year), the first scripted deal that Kelley has struck at NBC since LA Law in the 1980s. Series will be "set in a Chicago law firm and revolves around an aging partner and his daughter who works with him as well as a host of eccentric characters around them." Should the pilot not go to series, NBC is on the hook with what's said to be a multi-million dollar penalty. (Variety, Hollywood Reporter)

In other Peacock news, NBC has ordered three additional scripts for midseason drama Medium, which is slated to return to the lineup this winter. However, insiders have indicated that Medium may return as soon as this fall. (Hollywood Reporter)

James Strong will direct the Doctor Who Easter Special, slated to air in the UK in 2009. The Easter Special was co-written by Russell T. Davies and Gareth Roberts. Strong has previously helmed several episodes of Doctor Who, including "The Impossible Planet," "Daleks In Manhattan," "Voyage Of The Damned," and "Partners In Crime." (Digital Spy)

Jason Priestley will guest star on an upcoming episode of My Name Is Earl, where he'll play a character named... Brandon, "Earl's better-looking and more successful cousin, whom we first meet in a flashback to Earl and Joy's first wedding anniversary. On that memorable day, viewers will learn, Earl discovered that prior to his marriage, Joy had a steamy affair with his cousin." (TV Guide)

In other casting news, Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin will guest star on CW's Gossip Girl, where she won't play herself but rather created specifically for her by the series' writers. Liukin wasn't sure whether her character would be appearing in just one episode or in several. (Reuters)
Desperate Housewives' Gale Harold is in critical condition following a motorcycle accident yesterday but is expected to recover. Harold plays Susan's boyfriend Jackson on the current season of
Desperate Housewives. Executive producer Marc Cherry acknowledged that some rewrites would have to be done in light of Harold's accident. (New York Times)

Spike has renewed reality series DEA and ordered two new series: nine-episode Deadliest Warrior, which features computer-rendered bouts between historical fighters from Morningstar Entertainment, and ten one-hour episodes of Surviving Disaster, in which former Navy SEAL Cade Coutley offers viewers tips on how to survive various disasters such as earthquakes, terrorist attacks, and plane crashes, from Wall to Wall Media. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
I love Jessica Walters but she does seem out of place on 90210. When they do use her, it usually feels forced. I'd love to see her team up with Will Arnett again. They should develop a pilot for the two of them!
Anonymous said…
That EW cover ROCKS. 'Nuff said.

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