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Channel Surfing: Mischa Barton Gets "Beautiful" for CW, Joel Grestch Tackles Aliens in "V," NBC Summer Schedule, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

Mischa Barton (The O.C.) has joined the cast of CW drama pilot A Beautiful Life, where she will play Sonja, a supermodel who is trying to stay on top of the modeling world but who is finding it not so easy as she thought. Barton was originally up for a role on the netlet's revival of Melrose Place but did not land a role on that pilot. (Hollywood Reporter)

Joel Gretsch (The 4400) will co-star in ABC sci-fi pilot V, from writer/executive producer Scott Peters, co-creator of The 4400, and Warner Bros. Television. Gretsch will play a Catholic priest who sees a sudden resurgence of faith among the human population following the arrival of The Vistors. Elsewhere, Donald Faison (Scrubs) will star opposite Cedric the Entertainer in ABC comedy pilot The Law, where they will play reserve LAPD officers; Ben Koldyke (Boldly Going Nowhere) has scored a lead role in CBS comedy pilot Big D; and Natalie Martinez (Saints & Sinners) has joined Tyler Labine in FOX comedy pilot Sons of Tucson, where she will play a second grade teacher and possible love interest for Labine's Ron. (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC has announced launch dates for three new scripted series it will launch this summer. The Listener, from Shaftesbury Films, CTV and Fox Intl. Channels, will launch June 4th in the Thursdays at 10 pm timeslot. Merlin, from BBC, Fremantle and Shine, will will launch on June 21st, airing Sundays at 8 pm. Universal Media Studios' and Carnival Films' much-delayed drama The Philanthropist, is set to launch June 24th; it will air Wednesdays at 10 pm. On the unscripted front, NBC will launch I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! will air four nights a week beginning June 1st, Great American Road Trip will launch July 1st, and America's Got Talent returns with a new season on June 23rd. (via press release)

Meanwhile, NBC will be delaying several of its season finales to June in an effort to give The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien a cushy premiere week. Medium is slated to air its season finale on June 1st, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will wrap its season on June 2nd, and Law & Order will air its finale on June 3rd. "We’ll give Conan the best launch possible during his premiere week," said NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chair Ben Silverman. (Variety)

Hollywood was shocked yesterday by the corporate restructuring at News Corp, which saw Peter Ligouri step down as chairman of entertainment at FOX. News Corp head Rupert Murdoch has restructured the company in the wake of the departure of president and COO Peter Chernin and has promoted Jim Gianopolous and Tom Rothman of Fox Filmed Entertainment will now retain oversight of the TV production division and Tony Vinciquerra, who oversee cable networks, will now also oversee all of FOX's TV networks. Former Chernin direct reports Dana Walden and Gary Newman, co-chairmen of 20th Century Fox Television, will now report to Gianpololous and Rothman, while FTVS head Emiliano Calemzuk will report to Walden and Newman. But the biggest surprise was who would be replacing Peter Ligouri: none other than Fox Searchlight head Peter Rice, who has no TV experience. Still unknown is the ultimate fate of FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly, who was brought in by Ligouri, with whom he had worked closely at FX previously. He'll report to Rice, meanwhile. (Hollywood Reporter)

Elsewhere, it's a bit of executive musical chairs at FOX and NBC as NBC/Universal Media Studios drama VP Terence Carter is said to be in discussions to move to FOX, where he would assume the role of co-head of drama with Rachel Bendavid, replacing Laura Lancaster. Carter and Bendavid will report to Matt Cherniss. But Lancaster meanwhile will herself segue to NBC Universal to take the top drama job. She'll report to Angela Bromstad, with whom she worked closely when she was head of drama at NBC Universal TV Studio (NUTS) when Bromstad was president. (Variety)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has some details about the much-buzzed-about sixth episode of FOX's Dollhouse, which will guest star Patton Oswalt. (
Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Henry Thomas (Without a Trace) will guest star in an upcoming episode of CSI, which will focus on the early career days of Catherine (Marg Helgenberger). Thomas will play an accused killer named Jeremy Kent, whom Catherine locked up during her very first case in the early 1990s. After nearly twenty years in prison, Kent is an expert in forensics himself and questions whether Catherine's original findings were accurate. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Heidi Klum to Project Runway fans: picket Harvey Weinstein's house. The outspoken host of Project Runway, the subject of a lawsuit between distributor The Weinstein Company and NBC Universal, is said to be frustrated over the fact that the sixth season, which finished shooting, still does not have a launch date on either Lifetime or Bravo. "I think people should be demonstrating outside of Harvey Weinstein's house," said Klum. "If it were up to me, it'd be on by now." (New York Post)

BBC Two has announced that it will air all five seasons of HBO's The Wire, the first time that the series will be shown on terrestrial television in the UK. BBC Two, which has yet to announce a launch date, will strip the series across the week. (BBC)

Sci Fi Channel has promoted Craig Engler to SVP of digital, where he will oversee content development and business matters for the company's portfolio of digital channels, including,,,, and (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
"V" seems to be building up a strong cast. Has anyone read a script or heard if it's supposed to be any good?
Jace Lacob said…
Braun Man,

I have read the pilot script for "V" and really enjoyed it. Some nice changes/updates from the original, several meaty subplots to follow, and great writing from Scott Peters. Very much looking forward to seeing the pilot in a few months!

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