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Channel Surfing: "Chuck" On the Bubble for Renewal, "Seinfeld" Cast Members Reunite for "Curb," "Life on Mars" Will Get Different Ending, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

Variety's Michael Schneider takes a look at the current batch of network series that are on the bubble for renewal next season, including NBC's Chuck and Life and FOX's Lie to Me and Dollhouse. Chuck co-creator Josh Schwartz is pitching a "game-changing" season finale to NBC execs in the next few weeks but its chances for renewal will "mostly be up to how well those shows perform during the final weeks of the season -- and how all those pilots look once the nets head into the screening room." Complicating matters for Chuck is the reduction of primetime real estate at the network, with The Jay Leno Show taking five of its primetime hours this fall. (Variety)

This, that, and the other: The cast of Seinfeld--Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards--appear with co-creator Larry David in a multiple-episode story arc on Curb Your Enthusiasm's seventh season, expected to air this fall on HBO. The reunion marks the first time that all four Seinfeld actors have appeared together on a scripted series since the end of Seinfeld. (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

The executive producers of ABC's canceled Life on Mars are fortunate to have the opportunity to have some closure on the series, which will end its run after 17 episodes, and are said to be "determined" to provide a satisfying wrap-up to the series... one that won't be the same as the original BBC version. "We’ve felt from the beginning that if the show wasn’t going to get its legs for a second season, nothing would have been more of a gift from the network and the studio than to give us the opportunity to find the creative closure a lot of shows don’t get," said executive producer Andre Nemec. "It’s all a bit sad, but it doesn’t come without its closure and its finality." (Los Angeles Times)

Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen) and Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies) have been cast in FOX drama pilot Human Target opposite Mark Valley. Pilot, from Warner Bros. Television, follows a mysterious security freelancer named Christopher Chance (Valley) who assumes the identities of people in danger. Haley will play Chance's intelligence source; McBride will play Chance's friend and business partner. (Hollywood Reporter)

Julianna Margulies (Canterbury's Law) has been cast as the lead in CBS drama pilot The Good Wife, where she will play the wife of a politician who decides to embark on a career as a defense attorney. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Pilot casting alert: Erika Christensen (Six Degrees) has been cast in NBC drama pilot Parenthood; Madchen Amick (My Own Worst Enemy) and Ryan Devlin (Big Shots) will star opposite Cedric the Enterainer in ABC comedy pilot The Law; Stuart Townsend (Night Stalker) has been cast in FOX drama pilot Maggie Hill, where he will play the imaginary boyfriend of a surgeon with schizoprenia (Christina Cole); and Josh Hopkins (Swingtown) and Ian Gomez (Felicity) have joined the cast of ABC comedy pilot Cougar Town. (Hollywood Reporter)

Elsewhere, Andrew McCarthy (Lipstick Jungle) has joined the cast of CW's untitled Gossip Girl spin-off. He'll play Rick Rhodes, the father of a teenage Lily (Brittany Snow), a music company executive, and will appear in the backdoor pilot episode on May 11th. And Tim Matheson (The West Wing) has been cast in political drama pilot Body Politic, where he will play a charismatic senator. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sex and the City creator Darren Star has signed a two-year first-look deal with HBO, under which he will develop comedy and drama series for the pay cabler and oversee projects written by other scribes. "They say you can never go home again, but with this deal at HBO, I feel I am," said Star. "I can say from my fortunate experience that there is nothing in the world quite like having a series on HBO." (Hollywood Reporter)

Michael Ausiello has some hints about what Season Four of NBC's Heroes could be about, should the Peacock renew the series for a fourth season. "Basically, the last act of episode 25, similar to what's been done in the past, opens up a new chapter of Heroes," consulting producer Bryan Fuller told Ausiello. "It sets up arcs for a variety of characters." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

BBC One has confirmed that it has commissioned a third season of Bill Gallagher's period drama Lark Rise to Candleford, which will shoot this summer and air in 2010. (BBC)

Pilot season is back on track after being derailed following the WGA strike and the push towards year-round development... but that's not necessarily a good thing. "What struck me the most is how much things are exactly the same," said an unnamed top studio executive. "We're still producing the same pilots, seeking the same talent and going through that lemming-style behavior. The process is so tiring." (Hollywood Reporter)

Bravo has renewed reality competition series Shear Genius for a third season and has ordered reality series Double Exposure, which follows photographers Markus Klinko and Indrani as they shoot celebrity and fashion clients. (Variety)

ABC has acquired US rights to four-hour German disaster mini-series Impact, from Tandem Communications, Jaffe/Braunstein Entertainment, and Muse Entertainment. Sci Fi Channel has secured second-window rights to the mini, about a meteor that strikes the moon and sends it on a crash course with Earth. Impact stars David James Elliott, Natasha Henstridge, Steven Culp, and James Cromwell. (Hollywood Reporter)

USA Today talks to Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston just a few days before the launch of Season Two on AMC. "I wanted to go in a different direction," said Cranston of his flawed character, Walter White. "This was fantastically written, nuanced, just beautifully sculpted. You have a character who has troubles, he's trying, but his inability to function in certain areas is very honest, very human." (USA Today)

A&E ordered 13 episodes of reality series Tattoo Highway, following Inked's Thomas Pendelton and his wife Monica, as they travel the country in a mobile tattoo parlor, making stops in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. Cabler plans to launch the series, from executive producer Bob Horowitz, later this spring. (Hollywood Reporter)

Comedy Central handed out a series order to Tosh.0, a weekly comedy series that will feature comedian Daniel Tosh offering blistering criticism of blogs and other Internet destinations. Cabler ordered ten episodes of the series, executive produced by Tosh and Mike Gibbons, which it plans to launch in June. The cabler also parterned with Paramount Vantage to acquire rights to Trey Hamburger's "Ghosts/Aliens" novel, which will be separately developed as a pilot, to be written by Phil Johnston, and a feature film. (Variety)

TBS has canceled Frank Caliendo's sketch comedy series Frank TV. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Distressing news about Chuck, which is the only show that brings me real joy these days (Lost is endlessly fascinating, but it generally doesn't elicit joy). I'll keep my fingers crossed for renewal, but I have no faith whatsoever in NBC.
Anonymous said…
I, too, don't have a lot of faith in NBC. Maybe they could move Chuck (and Life) to USA?
Anonymous said…
I'm still heartbroken about losing Pushing Daisies and am really hoping that they don't destroy Chuck too!

(At least the news about a Seinfeld reunion on Curb cheered me up a little.)
Anonymous said…
SAL SAYS I THINK YOU ARE MAKEING A BIG MISTAKE IF YOU TAKE CHUCK OF THE AIR I LOOK FORWARD TO SEE IT EVERY TIME IT IS GOING TO BE ON PLEASE DONT TAKE IT OFF THE AIR
Anonymous said…
Please, NO MORE CHUCK. NBC needs to get better programming. I'm switching to ABC and FOX.
Anonymous said…
I take it back. Chuck is awesome. I hope it keeps on going. I'll stick with NBC.
Keith said…
Chuck is one of the best shows on air right now, and it'd be a tragedy to see it go off.
FanGirl said…
I staged a musical protest in front of NBC headquarters and it WORKED! Watch the video here -- http://bit.ly/BmbkC
Anonymous said…
NBC announced Chuck "will return" for a 3rd season beginning in March 2010.
Wes said…
@anonymous: Yes, that's why this article was from early March. Always helps to look at the dates. Idiot.

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