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Channel Surfing: ABC Cuts Back "In the Motherhood" to Seven Eps, Alicia Witt Scores "The Mentalist," NBC Cancels "Lipstick Jungle," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

After airing just one episode, ABC has cut its episodic commitment for midseason comedy In the Motherhood from thirteen episodes to seven, just slightly more than half of its original order. The network had ordered the comedy, based on a web series, during the writers strike. (Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker)

Alicia Witt (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) will guest star in the season finale of CBS' The Mentalist, where she will play pianist Rosalind Harker, a woman who used to date serial killer Red John, the enigmatic serial killer who killed Jane's family. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

E! Online has confirmed that NBC has canceled drama series Lipstick Jungle, after all. "It was going to stay and we just were officially told it's finally not coming back," series star Brooke Shield told E! Online's Cristina Gibson. "It's very sad. I think a lot of people were really sad, but I think we hung on a really long time. It was three great years that we've been working on it." (E! Online)

Pilot casting alert: T.J. Miller (Cloverfield) and Nick Thune (Knocked Up) have been cast as the leads in CBS comedy pilot Waiting to Die; Leslie Bibb (Confessions of a Shopaholic, Crossing Jordan) and John Michael Higgins (Kath & Kim) will star in NBC's untitled Justin Adler comedy pilot; Ryan Stiles (Two and a Half Men) will star opposite Anita Renfroe in her untitled comedy presentation at ABC; Skylar Astin (Hamlet 2) and Darien Provost (Sanctuary) will star opposite Adam Carolla in CBS comedy pilot Ace in the Hole; and Bobby Lee (MADtv) has joined the cast of NBC comedy pilot State of Romance. (Hollywood Reporter)

Elsewhere, Mary Steenburgen (Four Christmases) will star opposite Jason Biggs and Richard Dreyfuss in CBS comedy pilot Happiness Isn't Everything, where she will play Audrey, Dreyfuss' "unbelievably sensitive" wife and the mother of Jason Biggs' character. (Hollywood Reporter)

New York Post's Popwrap has a first look at Kristen Bell's upcoming guest star role on Starz's Party Down, from executive producer Rob Thomas. The site talks to Thomas about his on-screen reunion with his former Veronica Mars lead, who will play the leader of a rival catering team called Valhalla Catering. And, no worries, Ryan Hansen fans: he'll be back for Season Two of Party Down, should the series be renewed, regardless of his role--which is only recurring--on the Gossip Girl spinoff. (
New York Post's Popwrap)

The New York Times talks to Amy Poehler, star of NBC's upcoming comedy series Parks and Recreation, where she plays Leslie Knope, the deputy parks director of Pawnee, Indiana. "She’s na├»ve and narcissistic, completely deluded and completely out of touch with reality," said Poehler of Leslie. "I think we’ll be the first TV show to win an Academy Award. And the Nobel Peace Prize." (New York Times)

ABC has ordered seven episodes of reality competition series Shark Tank, a US adaptation of British series Dragon's Den, in which "eager entrepreneurs pitch their business ventures to five multimillionaire tycoons." Series, executive produced by Mark Burnett, is expected to air sometime next season. "We have made bigger deals and more deals in our pilot than [other versions] make all season," said Burnett of the changes to the format. "What country on earth is more entrepreneurial and risk taking than the United States of America? Here we have businesses and jobs being created, and it's a great feeling." (Hollywood Reporter)

Michael Ausiello is reporting that Kathleen Turner has joined the cast of Showtime dramedy Californication for a multiple-episode story arc in the series' third season, expected to air next fall. Turner will play "the ball-breaking, foul-mouthed, outrageous boss of Evan Handler's literary agent." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Fremantle has signed first-look deals with such producers as Paul Abbot (State of Play), Bob Cooper (Mr. Woodcock), Mike Tollin (Smallville), Irwin and David Winkler (Rocky Balboa), and Kiwi producer Roger Simpson (Satisfaction). Under the terms of the deals, Fremantle will provide overhead in exchange for having a first crack at any projects developed by the producers, which would then be pitched to US cable outlets. (Variety)

Could Katherine Heigl be sticking around on ABC's Grey's Anatomy after all? The actress, who plays Dr. Izzie Stevens, says she doesn't know whether her character lives or dies, though she did say "I'm there," should Izzie make it through her medical crisis. "I'm more than happy to make that compromise. As my agent likes to say, 'High-class problems,'" said Heigl of being willing to balance her feature work with her role on Grey's Anatomy. "I don't know if I want to continue for five years working 12 months a year, but I can take at least another year or two." (Associated Press)

FOX has ordered reality competition series More to Love, featuring overweight contestants looking for love. Series, executive produced by Mike Fleiss, will feature a format similar to The Bachelor, where a group of women will compete for a single man. "This show is going to get a lot of people talking," said Mike Darnell, president of alternative at FOX. "It may be a little controversial, but I think it will mostly be positive. This is so simple and so obvious, yet it has never been done." (Hollywood Reporter)

MTV has today launched AMTV, a six-hour block of music videos that will air from 3-9 am Monday through Thursday and will feature "music videos, news, interviews and performances, harking back to the network’s origins as a 24-hour home for music videos." (New York Times)

Discovery has ordered thirteen episodes of real-life crime series On the Case With Paula Zahn, in which the former CNN anchor will pursue in-depth investigations of real-life mysteries and interview those closest to the case. (Hollywood Reporter)

Daytime continues to get hit: CBS may opt to cancel long-running soap Guiding Light, as the network's deal with the daytime drama ends in September. The network is said to be looking at possibilities for new programming in the series' afternoon timeslot, such as game shows or a talk show.
Guiding Light is the lowest-rated daytime network soap series currently on the air. (TV Week)

Scandinavia's Nordisk Film TV World signed a slew of format deals with US production companies this weekend at MipTV, pacting with Reveille on dating series Don't Date Him Girl, Renegade on Construction Nightmares, Scott Stone on Celebrity Devil Race, Phil Gurin's Gurin Company on music format Melody Challenge, and Dave Broom's 25/7 on 71 Degrees North
. Sales mark first US format deals for the company. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


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