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Channel Surfing: ABC Writes Its Own "Fables," Seven Reasons Why "Dollhouse" is Doomed, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. I'm still exhausted after a weekend filled with holiday walks, holiday drinks, and, well, more holiday drinks. But I rallied myself last night for the Amazing Race season finale and another superlative episode of BBC America's Skins, which only has two installments left this season.

Hold onto your hats, fanboys and girls: ABC has given a put pilot commitment to Fables, a series adaptation of the popular DC comics title about characters from various fairy tales who live in exile in modern-day Manhattan. Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner (Six Degrees) will write the pilot script and executive produce, though no word on which characters from the comic will turn up in the series other than Snow White and Big Bad Wolf. David Semel (Heroes) will direct the pilot for the Warner Bros. TV project, which had been previously set up at NBC during the 2006-07 development season with Craig Silverstein attached to write. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sci Fi Wire offers up seven reasons why FOX's upcoming Joss Whedon drama Dollhouse is "doomed," pointing to pilot issues, work stoppages, bad buzz, bad dialogue, and the Friday night death slot, among others. Having seen the first two episodes of Dollhouse a few months back, I can't help but agree with these thoughts and Time's review, which described it as "less a series concept than an actress' showcase." (Sci Fi Wire)

USA is said to be thisclose to ordering medical dramedy Royal Pains to series. Royal Pains, about a former emergency room doctor who becomes a physician for the rich and famous in the Hamptons, stars Mark Feuerstein. The pilot was directed by Jace Alexander and written by Andrew Lenchewski. (Hollywood Reporter)

With Battlestar Galactica set to end its award-winning run next year, Sci Fi president Dave Howe looks ahead to what the cabler will be doing next, including BSG spin-off series Caprica (set for 2010), Sanctuary, a slew of unscripted series, and a new series that Howe calls "the Holy Grail," for which the cabler will team TV writers "with video-game designers to create a franchise that is both a television series and a massive multi-player game on the Internet -- more than that, the fans who play the game will actually help shape the show's story arc." (Los Angeles Times)

Saffron Burrows (My Own Worst Enemy) has been cast in NBC's midseason drama Kings, where she will play a woman with a connection to King Silas (Ian McShane) in an episode that features a flashback to a crucial moment in Silas' past and his daughter Michelle's life. In other casting news: Pete Wentz will guest star in an episode of the CW's Privileged to air next year and Sara Rue and Lauren Holly will guest star--separately--in episodes of TNT's Leverage airing in January and February respectively. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Showtime is developing "character-driven sci-fi-themed drama" Syns (formerly known as Dolls' Hospital), about a world where human-like synthetic organisms, known as syns, are used for various purposes. The pay cabler has acquired US rights to the project, which was originally developed at the BBC and attached
John McNamara (Jericho) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural) as co-creators/executive producers, with Gamble writing the script. (Afterlife's Stephen Volk wrote the British version.) Clerkenwell Films will produce with Pangea, the scripted division of RDF USA, and executive producers Chris Coelen, Karrie Wolfe, Brian Lenard, and Murray Ferguson. (Hollywood Reporter)

Looking for reactions to the ousting of Universal Media Studios topper Katherine Pope and NBC executives Teri Weinberg and Craig Plestis on Friday afternoon? Look no further. (TV Week)

The Washington Post's Lisa DeMoraes offers up an obit for David E. Kelley's Boston Legal, which ends its five-season run tonight, thus putting an end to "one of the creepiest love stories ever to hit the small screen (the Denny Crane/Alan Shore bromance now running neck-and-neck with Grey's Anatomy's Izzie Stevens/Dead Denny sex marathon)" and ending Kelley's twenty-plus year hold on network television. (Washington Post)

Magical Elves, the production company behind Top Chef and Project Runway, have signed a deal with fashion PR maven (and frequent The Hills guest star) Kelly Cutrone to develop a series set at People's Revolution, Cutrone's publicity company. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz will executive produce along with Cutrone. (Variety)

Nick Zano (What I Like About You) and Diana Maria Riva (Side Order of Life) have been cast in the 90-minute USA pilot Operating Instructions, opposite Emily Rose. Zano will play Marine Luke who underwent a traumatic experience in Iraq with Rose's Rachel; Riva will play an OR nurse. Elsewhere at USA, Marsha Thomasson (Lost) will star in pilot White Collar, opposite Matthew Bomer and Tim DeKay; she'll play Diana Lancing, a junior agent in the FBI's white collar crime division. (Hollywood Reporter)

Absolutely Fabulous and Fawlty Towers director Bob Spiers has died at age 63. (BBC News)

BBC One's The Street, created by Jimmy McGovern, will return with a third season in 2009. Returning cast members include Timothy Spall, Ger Ryan, and Ruth Jones, with Bob Hoskins, Liam Cunningham, Elizabeth Berrington, and Frances Barber slated to make appearances. (BBC)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
RE: Dollhouse "less a series concept than an actress' showcase." Ouch! This show is really getting ripped to shreds and it hasn't even aired yet. I hope that Joss can bounce back quickly from this mess.

Also, is it just me or is the plot of Syns frighteningly similar to Dollhouse? (The fact that it was originally called Dolls' Hospital doesn't help either!)
Anonymous said…
@Heatherette: it's very weird that the two series sound so similar and that it used to be called "Dolls' Hospital" is also creepy. But now I know why Jace seemed to love the show and then hate it.They threw out the pilot which he loved the script for. I feel better now.

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