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Channel Surfing: "Doctor Who" Lands Smith and Circles Allen, Wakefield and Seda Declared "Legally Mad," "Royal Pains" at USA, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. While everyone seems to be returning to work today (darn the end of holidays!), I'm still drowning in a pile of screeners and scripts, but c'est la vie.

The big news this weekend, of course, was the announcement that 26-year-old Matt Smith (Ruby in the Smoke) would assume the mantle of the Eleventh Doctor in BBC's Doctor Who, replacing outbound series lead David Tennant, who will depart the series after appearing in four specials in 2009. (Televisionary)

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph has profiled Smith in an in-depth piece which ran today. Among the more interesting points: "Smith comes to the role without Tennant's in-depth knowledge of the series and describes the next six months as a "time to build this Time Lord…to learn the history of the show", which should give his interpretation freshness. His Doctor may also be boyishly mischievous – he spoke with relish of "the sense of mischief" he got when he knew he'd be the Doctor. He also spoke of the show's "magic". Smith is of the Harry Potter generation and so his Doctor Who may be full of the sense of myth and mystery found in the tales of the boy wizard – one quality that Tennant's Doctor maybe lacks." Hmmm.... (The Daily Telegraph)

In other Doctor Who-released news, Lily Allen is once again rumored to be in contention for the role of the Doctor's latest companion. Allen, who made headlines in 2007 when she was linked to the potential role (which was later filled by Catherine Tate), is said to be the "favorite" to take on the part, though Rachel Stevens and Kelly Brook are also under consideration.

However, the singer hasn't actually auditioned for the role. "Having got the casting of The Doctor out of the way, the companion role is where we will be looking next," said Doctor Who executive producer Piers Wenger. "Someone terribly exciting like Billie Piper, who was at the beginning of her acting career but who had a profile for other reasons, would be great. We are looking for someone whose light can burn brightly. We would never cast anyone on the basis of their celebrity, but if Lily wanted to audition we would be delighted. It would be a lot of fun." (Digital Spy)

USA has ordered eleven episodes (in addition to the two-hour pilot) for medical dramedy Royal Pains, starring Mark Feuerstein as an on-call doctor to the Hamptons set. Series is being thought of as a possible timeslot companion for the off-network repeats of House. (Hollywood Reporter)

Michelle Trachtenberg's Georgina is set to return to the CW's Gossip Girl in a multiple-episode story arc during the latter part of the second season. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

British actress Charity Wakefield (Sense and Sensibility) and Jon Seda (Homicide) have been cast to star opposite previously announced Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) in David E. Kelley's new NBC legal drama pilot Legally Mad. Wakefield will play the series' lead, Brady Hamm, a twenty-something attorney who is holding together her father's crumbling law firm and is utterly devoted to her batty father. Seda will play Joe Matty, an argumentative attorney prone to picking fights (sometimes physical ones) with everyone. (Hollywood Reporter)

Lipstick Jungle's Robert Buckley will join the cast of CW's Privileged as the editor-in-chief of a magazine where Megan and Will are both vying for a position. His first appearance is set for the second to last episode of this season. (TV Guide)

Bill Lawrence talks about the possible series finale of Scrubs--now on ABC--that's planned for later this season, why it's strange to see promos for the long-ignored series, and the possibility of the series continuing on without him or lead Zach Braff. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

BBC One has acquired Season Two of FX's legal thriller Damages and will launch the sophomore season in February. (BBC)

Speaking of Damages, William Hurt--who joins the legal thriller in its sophomore season, kicking off on Wednesday evening--talks to The New York Times about his decision to do television, working with Glenn Close, whether Daniel Purcell will be sticking around for a third season, and how he wishes that, as an actor, he was a "repertory ensemble guy." (
The New York Times)

The Los Angeles Times has criticized Shonda Rhimes' ABC series Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, saying that the former "struggles with implausible plots and diminishing characters" and is now "floundering in its fifth season." They claim that perhaps Rhimes is "stretched too thin" and are quick to note that "[i]n truth, the show lost its mooring two years ago, after Meredith's near-death by drowning, but this season has been dizzying, careening like a pinball from one unlikely plot turn to the next, and the continued degradation of characters who, for years, had been etched with careful precision." (
The Los Angeles Times)

Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd takes a look at the ratings showdowns slated for later this season, including ABC's Lost versus FOX's Lie to Me versus CBS' Criminal Minds. (
Hollywood Reporter)

The Daily Telegraph has a fantastic interview with Gavin & Stacey co-creator/star James Corden about what 2009 holds for him. Of the much beloved series, Corden says that the charm comes from "finding the extraordinary in the ordinary." I couldn't agree more. (
The Daily Telegraph)

SAG national executive director Doug Allen has justified a strike in the latest letter sent to members on Friday, in which he argues that a strike authorization is justified even in times of economic crisis. “There is no good time to consider a strike,” said Allen. “Strikes are called only when management’s bargaining positions are intolerable and then only by a vote of the elected actors on the national board, if authorized by a membership referendum. But, tough economic times are when it is most necessary to be unified to resist the studios and networks effort to obliterate contract provisions in our future work.” (Variety)

Marla Sokoloff, Marion Ross, and Christina Pickles will star in wedding-themed telepic Flower Girl for Hallmark Channel. The telepic, written by Marjorie Sweeney and directed by Bradford May, will air in late 2009. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
I have to admit that I haven't been a fan of David E. Kelley's work since Ally McBeal but I am actually looking forward to seeing what he and Kristin Chenoweth (and the other outstanding cast members) give us with Legally Mad.
jen said…
I like Charity Wakefield... Lily Allen not so much (as the Doctor's companion anyway).
Anonymous said…
I think Sheridan Smith ('Two Pint's Of Lager...' and 'Royal Family' fame) would be an amazing companion. She is a girl of many talents, who has some serious acting chops as well as a great comic timing.

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