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Channel Surfing: ABC Kills "Life on Mars," Wolf Has Vendetta for "V," "BSG" Star Gets Talent Holding Deal at NBC, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

Is there life on Mars? Turns out not so much: ABC has canceled the US adaptation of BBC series Life on Mars after seventeen episodes. The series, which will (rather unusually) air its five remaining episodes before the timeslot is taken over by The Unusuals in April, will not return for a second season. However, Life on Mars' producers have been given the go-ahead by the network to write their season finale as a series finale that will answer some questions about Sam Tyler's travel to 1973 and possible return to the present day. (Variety, Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Scott Wolf (The Nine) will star in ABC's re-imagining of classic sci-fi series V. In the drama pilot, produced by Warner Bros. Television, Wolf will play Ryan, a man who is keeping a rather dark secret from his girlfriend, according to Michael Ausiello. [Editor's SPOILER note: Said secret is that Ryan is in fact a member of the alien Visitors but has been aiding the humans as part of a resistance movement.] However, the Hollywood Reporter claims that Wolf will play an ambitious network news anchor who becomes the voicepiece for the Visitors. So which is it? (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files, Hollywood Reporter)

Battlestar Galactica's Michael Trucco has signed a talent holding deal with NBC and Universal Media Studios. Besides for his work on BSG, Trucco most recently starred in NBC comedy pilot Man of Your Dreams. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS is said to be about to renew Warner Bros Television-comedies Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory for multiple seasons. Two and a Half Men is believed to be about to receive a three-season renewal, while The Big Bang Theory is expected to get a two-season renewal deal. No news yet about a possible renewal of another Warner Bros./CBS series, The Mentalist. Massive renewals could be part of a settlement between the network and studio over a $49 million lawsuit stemming from profits from Two and a Half Men. (Variety)

Jami Gertz (Still Standing) and Autumn Reeser (The OC) have joined the cast of HBO's Entourage next season. Gertz will play Marlo, the wife of Andrew Klein (Gary Cole), a longtime friend of Ari who is brought into Miller/Gold as an agent. Reeser, meanwhile, will play Lizzy, a junior agent at the firm. (Hollywood Reporter)

Lifetime has renewed comedy Rita Rocks for a second season, ordering 20 episodes of the Media Rights Capital-produced series. (Variety)

Pilot casting news: Jonathan Silverman will star in ABC's untitled Jeff Strauss comedy pilot; Julie Bowen (Boston Legal) has joined the cast of ABC comedy pilot My American Family; Michael O'Keefe (Brothers & Sisters), Courtney Henggeler (The Big Bang Theory), Frances Turner, and Beth Broderick (Lost) will star in FOX comedy pilot Two Dollar Beer; Dania Ramirez (Heroes), Brad William Henke (October Road), and Patrick St. Esprit (Saving Grace) will co-star in ABC's untitled Daniel Cerone drama (formerly known as Brothers & Detectives); and Tawny Cypress (Heroes) and Sean Bridgers (12 Miles of Bad Road) will star in CBS drama pilot House Rules. (Hollywood Reporter)

Elsewhere, Teri Polo (Meet the Parents) will star in CBS drama pilot Washington Field, where she will play Amanda O'Donnell, a
medical forensics and weapons of mass destruction expert whose husband is also on the FBI team. (Hollywood Reporter)

Cabler G4 has ordered twelve episodes of G4 Underground, which will explore such diverse topics as "urban spelunking, ninja schools, and superheroes." Series, hosted by Morgan Webb, will air six episodes this spring beginning March 29th and six episodes this summer. (Variety)

BBC Worldwide America has announced that former BBC Wales drama chief Julie Gardner has been named Executive Producer under an exclusive contract. Under the deal, Gardner, who oversaw Doctor Who,
will be responsible for scripted projects, working with top-level U.S. writers in addition to UK creative talent including Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Torchwood), and Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharaoh (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes). Gardner is the first hire announced by Jane Tranter, the recently-appointed Executive Vice President, Programming and Production for BBC Worldwide America. Gardner is expected to join the Los Angeles-based studio in June. (via press release)

Fremantle Media has promoted Gary Carter to COO, replacing Christian Schneider-Sickert, who will depart the company; Carter will still oversee the global format group. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
I'm thrilled that the US version of Life on Mars was canceled. The original was brilliant and wonderfully original and, from the few episodes I saw of the US version, they totally butchered it. These remakes are so rarely successful that I can't understand why they keep doing them!
The CineManiac said…
I've been enjoying Life on Mars, but I do kind of like that we are getting a definitive ending and that it's going to be about the same length as the original.
I think some series work better in small packages.
Anonymous said…
I never started watching the US Life on Mars because I wanted to see if it would get canceled. Now that it IS getting canceled, but getting an ending, I'll most likely watch it after it's aired all of its episodes.

It's decent that ABC told them to wrap up the story, but I'm annoyed over the apparent favoritism they're showing this show when they didn't give Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, or Dirty Sexy Money the same luxury.

I'd be thrilled to see The Big Bang Theory receive a two season pickup...they should make it three though.
Anonymous said…
My only question is does this make it more or less likely that there'll be Region 1 releases of the original in the US?

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