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Channel Surfing: "Mad Men" to Return This Summer, "Gossip Girl" Looking for Archibald Cousin, "Heroes" Producer Speaks Out, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

AMC president Charlie Collier was very optimistic that period drama Mad Men will return for its third season this summer as scheduled, despite the protracted contract renegotiation between series creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner and studio Lionsgate Television. "As long as we get the writers' room up and running over the next few months, we're fine [for a summer launch]," said Collier, speaking at yesterday's Television Critics Association panel. Also on tap for later this year a the cabler, the six-part series remake of classic British drama The Prisoner, starring James Caviezel and Ian McKellan. (Variety)

Gossip Girl is currently casting a new character for its sophomore season named Kip Vanderbilt, who will be the 20-something married cousin of Chace Crawford's Nate Archibald. Kip has been described as "wealthy, confident, politically-minded and — all together now — extremely good-looking." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Heroes producer Mark Verheiden has spoken out about what to expect for the series' upcoming "Fugitives" arc and has said that writers are trying to fix the creatively flagging series. "hat we tried to do with the show as a group, people will notice that we’re not doing as many stories per show and lingering a bit on the stories we’re doing... I think in going forward what we’re probably doing is leaving some of the stuff of 'Villains’ behind. You’ll see that Primatech and Pinehurst aren’t viable anymore. So those entities will be dissolved and a couple of characters have decided to, one in particular, taken a dramatic new turn that will set off where we’re going with “Fugitives’ very clearly. The Nathan character played by Adrian Pasdar, a great actor, he has some really fun and emotional turns coming in the 'Fugitives' arc. There’s also a great arc with Sylar coming up. Very fun." (io9)

After rumors to the contrary, it seems as though John Wells' cop drama Police (formerly known as LAPD) will air on NBC, after all. The Peacock and Warner Bros. Television are said to be close to handing out a series order for six episodes of the John Wells-produced drama.... as well as quietly extending the fifteenth season run of Wells' ER by an additional three episodes. (ER was meant to air its series finale on March 12th.) Should ER be extended, it could put a snag in NBC's original plans to roll out new drama Kings on March 19th; launch of that series could be delayed as a result. As for Police (which needs a new name, stat), which stars Kevin Alejandro, Arija Bareikis, Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, Regina King, Michael McGrady, Benjamin McKenzie, and Tom Everett Scott, there's no news yet on where NBC would slot the series. (Variety)

The cast of CBS' comedy How I Met Your Mother received some substantial holiday presents following months of contract renegotiations as each of them managed to double or treble their salaries. Series stars Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, and Alyson Hannigan signed new deals with studio 20th Century Fox Television raises their salaries to $90,000-$120,000 per episode and locks them into an extra year on top of their original seven-year contracts. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stephanie March will reprise her role as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot on NBC's Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in six episodes, beginning February 17th. (via press release)

Omar Benson Miller (Miracle at St. Anna) has been cast in CBS drama Eleventh Hour, where he will play Felix, an FBI trainee who is keen to join Agent Young's team, in at least three episodes. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

E! has ordered eight half-hour episodes of docusoap Candy Girls, which will follow the lives of actresses seen in hip-hop videos from acts like Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Three 6 Mafia. Series, from Good Clean Fun, will launch March 8th. (Variety)

The clock is ticking down to the launch of Day Seven for FOX's 24 and the reviews continue to pour in. "The novelty of the hour-by-hour conceit wore off long ago, and the various plot devices and characters are all familiar," writes the New York Times' Alessandra Stanley. "The fun, at least at the beginning of a new season, is in seeing how the creators will rejigger the pieces this time around. The premiere has a promising car crash but not many surprises. If the previous 144 hours (146 including “Redemption”) count for anything, it is that they prove that action alone isn’t enough to hold attention and that plot twists work best when the characters caught up in them are a little twisted as well." (
New York Times)

The Style Network has signed a first look deal with fashion doyenne Finola Hughes (Running in Heels) to produce programming for the channel and host various series. She is currently producing, with Berman/Braun Prods., a pilot for docusoap Cool Girl Hate Club, which will be shot later this month. (Variety)

Tom Welling, according to sources, is said to be close to signing on for a ninth season of CW's Smallville. Also expected to return: Erica Durance's Lois Lane and Justin Hartley's Green Arrow, though there is no news on whether Allison Mack or Aaron Ashmore will reprise their roles. (Radar)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
I have my fingers crossed that Mad Men will be back this summer. It's one of the best dramas on television and I would hate to see it suffer due to contract negotiations.
Anonymous said…
The show creator and writers would be fools not to negotiate and get it signed and delivered by the summer. Its one of the best shows out right now. (or maybe ever)

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