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Channel Surfing: "Life on Mars" Co-Creator Likes US Version; Jamie Bamber "Too Scared" to Play the Doctor, Potential SAG Strike, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. While everyone is buzzing about the possible SAG strike, I hope you all tuned in to last night's episode of Chuck, the final piece of the three-part Jill storyline.

Life on Mars co-creator Ashley Pharoah has praised the US version of the series, calling it "marvelous." In New York to receive an International Emmy for best drama for the original UK version of Life on Mars, Pharoah was pleased that the producers had changed the mythology of the series for the US audience and that the studio had moved the action from LA (where it was based for David E. Kelley's original pilot) to gritty New York City. "They're changing the mythology, which I think is all right," said Pharoah. "It has to be different. Otherwise everyone just goes on YouTube and sees how it ends." (Hollywood Reporter)

Just how would a SAG strike affect a television industry still recovering from the crippling 100-day WGA strike? For one, only scripted primetime series would be affected (soaps and variety shows are covered by AFTRA) but it would completely derail the current season in the midst of the current economic crisis. Network executives are said to be currently looking at contingency plans but as of right now there is no plan to shorten or cancel series' two-week holiday hiatus in order to shoot additional episodes.

Most scripted series will have about 60-70 percent of their episodes shot before the break, with some having about five episodes in various stages of post. 24, According to Jim, and Rules of Engagement have already completed their full orders for the season. Meanwhile, freshman series 90210, Gary Unmarried, Better Off Ted, The Unusuals, and Harper's Island are covered by AFTRA rather than SAG and most scripted cable series are also covered by AFTRA. (Hollywood Reporter)

Ashton Kutcher's Katalyst is developing two scripted series for netlet the CW with CBS Paramount Network Television. Ensemble drama The Beautiful Life, will follow the lives of young models who live together in Manhattan and comes from former model-turned writer Adam Gaiudrone and executive producers Carol Barbee (Jericho), Karey Burke, and Jason Goldberg; offering up a look at the dark side of modeling, series could be a good companion for Top Model. Drama Chloe Gamble, based on novel "The One" by Ed Decter, will follow a Texas girl who moves to Hollywood with her mother and twin brother with dreams of stardom dancing in her head. Decter and John Strauss will write and executive produce the project, which is told from a vantage point in the future, where life didn't end up so well for Chloe. (Variety)

CW is said to be close to renewing America's Next Top Model for a thirteenth cycle to air next fall. (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX will give Spike Feresten an 11 pm slot for a six-week run of daily one-hour episodes beginning January 17th, intended to be a tryout to see whether Talkshow With Spike Feresten could fill the Saturday night void left open by MadTV's cancellation. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica) will guest star on CBS' The Big Bang Theory next month, where he'll play Leonard's motorcycle-driving partner on a project and "one of the youngest MacArthur Genius Grant winners ever." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Speaking of Battlestar Galactica, Jamie Bamber has said that he would be too scared to replace David Tennant as the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who. "Those would be very big shoes to fill - if I'm going to be honest it would be very daunting to take on an icon like Doctor Who," said Bamber. "It's right at the core of British television and to take that on is a big challenge. I think it's a very enviable one for whoever gets it, but I'm not actively seeking it. I think I'm too scared to actually want it." (Digital Spy)

CBS is developing single-camera comedy Things a Man Should Never Do Past 30. Project, from executive producer/director Barry Sonnenfeld, the Tannenbaum Co., and Sony Pictures TV, is based on a book by Esquire contributing editor David Katz containing a list of 500 items that men shouldn't attempt after they hit 30, such as "google ex-girlfriends" or "high five in a business situation." Katz and A.J. Jacobs will write the script with supervision from Al Higgins (Malcolm in the Middle) and Sonnenfeld will direct the pilot. (Hollywood Reporter)

BBC have confirmed that Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures will return for a third season in 2009, with Russell T. Davies remaining on the series as executive producer. Elisabeth Sladen, Tom Knight, Daniel Anthony, and Anjli Mohindra are slated to return. (Digital Spy)

What a surprise: Reveille will produce the previously reported Tony Robbins unscripted project at NBC. (TV Week)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
As much as I like Jamie Bamber, I'm not sure if he would be right for the role of The Doctor. Of course, I don't know who my first choice would be, now that John Simm confirmed that he will not be taking over. I just hope it's someone who is able to bring something new to the role.

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