Skip to main content

Channel Surfing: Holiday Wishes from "Fringe," Fontana Returns to "Philanthropist," Budget Cuts at 20th TV, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

20th Century Fox Television has slashed its production budgets across the board, joining a slew of entertainment companies including ABC Studios cutting budgets due to the economic downturn. All of 20th's producers have been told to reduce their budgets by two percent. The budget cuts will affect both existing series such as 24 as well as new productions, including Joss Whedon's Dollhouse for FOX and ABC's Life on Mars. (TV Week)

In yet another behind-the-scenes twist (each far more interesting than the series itself), Tom Fontana has returned to oversee NBC's midseason drama The Philanthropist, where he will replace David Eick (leaving to focus his attentions on Caprica)... who had replaced him as showrunner/executive producer on the project back in April. Creative differences between Fontana and Universal Media Studios have said to have been worked out and Fontana has returned to oversee writing on the eight-episode series, starring James Purefoy, Jesse L. Martin, and Neve Campbell. (Variety)

HBO has cast two actresses in True Blood's sophomore season: Anna Camp (Equus) will play Sarah, the wife of Steve Newlin, a series-regular role, while Ashley Jones (The Bold and the Beautiful) has come on board in a six-episode arc as Daphne, a new waitress at Merlotte's and a possible new love interest for Sam. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

More saber-rattling in the battle between the studios and SAG as the studios look to explore their options with AFTRA, with whom the AMPTP signed a primetime-film contract earlier this year, in light of stalled negotiations with SAG. 20th Century Fox Television is considering shooting all of its pilots under AFTRA rather than SAG (it reversed a previous statement that seemed to indicate it would move all productions under AFTRA) and has already shot two pilots--Boldly Going Nowhere and Better Off Ted--with AFTRA. Warners is said to be exploring working with AFTRA on digital productions; ABC Studios comedy In the Motherhood will be AFTRA-based; Universal Media Studios has two pilots--Off Duty and drama Lost & Found--under AFTRA. Sony typically works with AFTRA and has shot two pilots already with the union, including Eve Adams for FOX and ABC's The Unusuals. Any switch to AFTRA would only affect new pilots and series so current series would stay organized under their curent union deals. (Hollywood Reporter)

Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show) will guest star in a five-episode story arc on Season Two of AMC's Breaking Bad, where he will play "a slippery, ambulance-chasing lawyer who winds up serving as consigliere to Walt (Bryan Cranston)." Also on tap for Season Two: a three-episode arc featuring Star Trek: The Next Generation's John de Lancie. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Cloris Leachman and Jessica Alba will guest star alongside the previously announced Jack Black in the post-Super Bowl episode of NBC's The Office, where they will play Hollywood stars in a film that appears on-screen on the series. (Zap2It)

Despite getting closure in the form of some additional scenes for the Pushing Daisies finale, creator Bryan Fuller does intend to keep the franchise going in comic book form. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Under SVP Jeremy Gold, Endemol USA has set up a dozen drama and comedy projects at various broadcast and cable networks, including Hell on Wheels, a Western drama at AMC about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad from writer/executive producers Tony and Joe Gayton; Manager/Husband, a family comedy at FOX about a talent manager and his 22-year-old pop singer wife from writer/executive producers Jim O'Doherty and David Israel and 20th Century Fox Television; It's Not You, It's Me, a single-camera female-driven comedy at HBO; animated series Joe Cartoon at Comedy Central; Julia's Tango, a US adaptation of a Dutch soap format for SoapNet; and an untitled project at CW about four Dallas-based nannies and the families they work for from Ugly Betty writers Veronica Becker and Sarah Kucserk and Warner Bros. TV. (Variety)

Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films has left ABC for HBO, where it will develop scripted television series, telepics, and documentaries for the pay cabler. (Los Angeles Times)

Finally, the cast and crew of FOX's Fringe offered up the below holiday-themed video that also happens to recap most of the series' action so far.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
Ah, so Jack Black, Jessica Alba, etc. will just in a fake movie on The Office? I thought we'd actually get to see Jack Black and Steve Carell in a scene together. Oh, well.

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous seas