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Channel Surfing: ABC Slates "Pushing Daisies" End, Sydney Andrews Returns from Dead for "Melrose Place," John Simm Returns to "Doctor Who," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

The Pie Maker returns to ABC! Pushing Daisies fans will finally be able to catch the final three episodes of the prematurely canceled series. ABC is expected to officially announce that it will air the final three episodes of Pushing Daisies on Saturday evenings at 10 pm ET/PT beginning May 30th. (Sadly, still no news for when or if Dirty Sexy Money or Eli Stone will return to the lineup to burn off their remaining installments.)

Also on tap for May on ABC: four-hour mini-series Diamonds, starring Judy Davis and James Purefoy, on May 24th and 26th; the launch of The Bachelorette on May 18th; the return of reality competition series Opportunity Knocks on May 26th; Wipeout returns on May 27th; and comedy The Goode Family will kick off on May 27th. (Futon Critic)

Despite her character seemingly dying in the fifth season finale of Melrose Place (where she was run over on her wedding day), Laura Leighton will reprise her role as the manipulative Sydney Andrews in the CW's revival of soap Melrose Place. (Look for the series' writers to say that she managed to survive the near-fatal car accident.) Leighton's Sydney, who will be recurring, will be the landlord of the famed apartment complex, where a new crop of LA wannabes will be living. So far, Leighton's casting marks the first deal for a cast member from the original Melrose Place to reprise their role on the new project. (Hollywood Reporter)

Meanwhile, Shark's Shaun Sipos has also been cast in Melrose Place, where he will play David Patterson, the son of original series' Jake Hansen (Grant Show), described as a "bad boy with smoldering good looks who grew up as a rich kid but has been cut off from his family money." (Hollywood Reporter)

Confirming an earlier story that John Simm would reprise his role as The Master in the series of David Tennant's farewell specials of Doctor Who, Simm has been spotted on the set of the series' Christmas special, which--along with another installment slated to air a week later on New Year's Day--mark the end of Tennant's tenure on the series as the time-traveling Doctor. Matt Smith will take over the role with Season Five of Doctor Who, slated to air next year. (Wired)

Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights) has been hired by NBC as a non-writing executive producer on drama pilot Dorothy Gale, a modern-day retelling of "The Wizard of Oz," about Kansas native Dorothy who moves to Manhattan and deals with her wickedly witchy boss in the art world. Project, written by Bridget Carpenter (Bionic Woman), will be executive produced by Carpenter, Katims, and Meryl Poster. Katims, meanwhile, is attached this season to NBC drama pilot Parenthood, in addition to duties on Friday Night Lights. (Variety)

NBC has renewed Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for an eleventh season but while the deal covers the majority of the cast, it doesn't cover series leads Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni. The network is said to have already begun contract negotiations with both actors. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Doctor Who's Freema Agyeman, who played Martha Jones on the series, has offered her support for inbound series lead Matt Smith taking over as the Doctor. "He's great. I can imagine there must have been a fair few people up for that role and for the producers to have such confidence in him, he must clearly have blown them away," Agyeman told Digital Spy. "He looks absolutely fantastic. He's a really good actor in all the other things he's done. I think he's going to be outstanding." (Digital Spy)

Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) has joined the day of FOX's 24, where he will play a Middle Eastern leader who arrives in the US on a peacekeeping mission in Day Eight of the series, which is expected to bow in January 2010 on the network. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sky One has acquired UK rights to Sci Fi's new Stargate series SGU: Stargate Universe, which it plans to launch this fall. (Variety)

Reaper creators/executive producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have signed a two-year overall deal with studio 20th Century Fox Television, under which they will develop series for the studio and join the writing staff of a 20th Century Fox Television series. Their exclusive deal all but makes a cancellation for CW's Reaper, produced by ABC Studios, a certainty. (Hollywood Reporter)

Creator/showrunner Mara Brock Akil is hoping to save her single-camera half-hour comedy series The Game from cancellation at the the CW by pitching the series to network executives as a reformatted one-hour dramedy. (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX has announced that it will launch overweight dating series More to Love on Tuesday, July 28th at 9 pm and delay the launch of scripted drama Mental by a week; the latter series will now debut on May 29th. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

SAG and the AMPTP are said to be moving towards a tentative agreement on the feature-primetime contract, which would expire in 2011, and the SAG netotiating committee is set to meet on Tuesday following several recent informal talks between the two sides, brokered by Peter Chernin and Bob Iger. But there's no deal just yet. "Any report of a tentative agreement on any aspect of our TV/Theatrical negotiations is premature," said SAG spokesperson Pamela Greenwalt. "SAG's leadership remains engaged in ongoing efforts to secure a fair deal for SAG members." (Variety)

Stay tuned.


cabri said…
For the FOX para, you have July 18th and May 19th. The Live Feed post shows July 28th and May 29th.
Claire said…
Yay! So happy to hear that they're FINALLY going to be showing the last (sniff) episodes of Pushing Daisies. It's about time!!!
Maggie said…
Thank God ABC finally woke up and realized that we want to see the end of Pushing Daisies. Even tho it's five months late I will be there every Sat night for three weeks to see what happens to Chuck and Ned. Not sure why ABC couldn't air these sooner as most of what they are showing exc. Lost is crappy.
ted23 said…
About effing time all ready that ABC shows the last 3 PD eps. Ridiculous it took so long.
Mazza said…
Yay!!!!! Beyond thrilled that we'll get to see these last few eps. I miss sharing my Wednesday nights with Ned, Olive, Chuck and Emerson but I'm happy that we'll get some closure after all.
Alison said…
So Syd didn't die in the car crash on wedding day? How on earth are the writers going to talk their way out of that one????
ReaperDMV said…
While this doesn't look good for our show, you can still let the CW know you want Reaper to continue even without them.

Please don't stay silent. They'll never know how much you'd like Reaper to stay if you never tell them. Tom Spezialy's still around, and lots of shows do just fine even after a change in the guards.

Since snail mail campaigns work best, here's the address for Dawn Ostroff at the CW:

Attn: Dawn Ostroff
CW Network
3300 W. Olive Avenue
Burbank, CA 91505

Please consider taking a moment to send in a letter or postcard.
fogfan said…
I'm both ecstatic and bitter about ABC's decision to air the remaining "Pushing Daisies" episode. I'm ecstatic that the series gets to finish its run but I'm still SOOOOOO bitter at the way ABC has handled this show. It was the only show in quite some time that I eagerly looked forward to watching every week.
Anonymous said…
ABC-you suck. How dare you take shows off the air before they are allowed to have their endings. Shows, mind you, that are not at all as bad as the crap you are replacing them with. Let's see, what's on the roster lately: boring moms, weirdo cops, and cupid? No one wants to watch that crap. At least Eli Stone, DSM, and Pushing Daisies were entertaining. Now you are forcing us to go to NBC and dare I say CBS as well. Goodbye ABC.

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