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Channel Surfing: BubbleWatch for "Chuck," Potter Replaces Farr on "Parenthood," Sci Fi Tackles "Unfinished Business," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

With May Upfronts only a few weeks away, there are an awful lot of series that are on the bubble for renewal next season. Chuck, which airs its penultimate episode of the season tonight, is definitely on the bubble, with its return hindered by the lack of real estate now that NBC will use the 10 pm hour next fall for a nightly Jay Leno talk show and by the numbers for midseason replacement Southland. There's a slightly better chance for Medium to return, however. (Life is expected to be cancelled, as is Kath & Kim.) FOX's Dollhouse is said to have a 50/50 shot at coming back. CBS' Without a Trace and Cold Case are said to have a 50/50 shot at a renewal, things are looking brighter for The Unit after the network asked Shawn Ryan for a fifth season bible, while Eleventh Hour is thought unlikely to return. At ABC, Better Off Ted, Castle, and The Unusuals could get a second go-around as the network is said to be happy with all three series, while Cupid is dead in the water. Privileged could return to the CW in midseason, now that Reaper has been axed. (Hollywood Reporter)

Monica Potter (Trust Me) will replace Diane Farr (Rescue Me) on NBC drama pilot Parenthood after Farr had to drop out of the project due to to scheduling conflicts with her upcoming role on Showtime's Californication. Potter will now play the wife of Peter Krause on the Universal Media Studios pilot. Sam Jaeger (Eli Stone) has also been cast in Parenthood, where he will play the stay-at-home husband of Erika Christensen's character, while Bonnia Bedelia is in talks to play the family matriarch. Elsewhere, Josh Lawson (Chandon Pictures) has been cast in CBS comedy pilot Waiting to Die. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sci Fi has ordered a pilot for supernatural police drama Unfinished Business, about a former police officer who sees "flashes of memories from the recently deceased," which propel him to help restless souls resolve the titular unfinished business. Project, from writer Sally Robinson, director Mikael Salomon (Band of Brothers), and executive producers Will Smith, James Lassiter, and Ken Stovitz, will air as a two-hour backdoor pilot. (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX has now announced that new series Mental will launch on Tuesday, May 26th before it moves to Fridays on July 3rd, while the network will be bringing back reality series The Moment of Truth on Wednesday, July 29th. (Futon Critic)

Hollywood Reporter has taken a look at the pilot projects gathering steam at the networks, offering a rundown of which projects have the best buzz so far at each individual network:

ABC: Flash Forward is a lock for a series pickup, while Happy Town, Inside the Box, Limelight, V, and the untitled Dave Hemingson dramedy are also looking good and last year's Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas is in contention again; chances for comedies An American Family, untitled Ricky Blitt, Cedric, and Cougar Town are all high.
FOX: High on dramas Human Target and Maggie Hill, as well as comedies Cop House and Sons of Tucson.
NBC: Slate could be joined by dramas Trauma, Parenthood, Legally Mad, or Lost & Found or comedies Community, Off Duty, or 100 Questions for Charlotte Payne, all of which the network is said to be strong on.
CBS: Likely going ahead with the untitled NCIS spin-off, while pilots Three Rivers, The Good Wife, Washington Field, US Attorney, Happiness Isn't Everything, and Accidentally on Purpose are all gathering steam.
CW: Melrose Place looks to be certain and the network is said to be happy with the Gossip Girl backdoor pilot, while Light Years, Vampire Diaries, A Beautiful Life, and Body Politic are all in contention as well. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC is giving a chance to new drama series The Unusuals this Tuesday, replacing this week's planned installment of Cupid with a new episode of The Unusuals at 10 pm ET/PT. (The Unusuals, meanwhile, will also air a new episode on Wednesday as well, while Cupid will be back next week.) "Alphabet net has high hopes for The Unusuals, which hasn't made much noise behind Lost," writes Variety's Michael Schneider. "ABC execs would like to see how it does with an entirely different lead-in, the results edition of Dancing with the Stars." (Variety)

The New York Times' Alessandra Stanley takes a look at why FOX's 24 continues to lure audiences in and couples it with that ubiquitous sign of the times: the YouTube video of Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent. "That’s why 24 still works after so many seasons (or days, in the now slightly tiresome real-time conceit) and so many repetitive and preposterous red herrings," writes Stanley. "Viewers cannot be fooled the same way twice, but they can be sucked in all over again if the formula is tweaked a little. If nothing else, Britain’s Got Talent and 24, now in its seventh season, prove how quickly memory fades and how willingly audiences suspend disbelief. [...] the whole point of 24 is that we kind of know what’s coming but watch because we want to be surprised all over again." (New York Times)

Michaela McManus, who plays Assistant District Attorney Kim Greylek on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, will not be returning to the series next season. Stephanie March, who reprised her role as ADA Alexandra Cabot, is slated to appear in four additional episodes this season. (TV

Variety's Michael Schneider takes a look at the way the networks are rewriting previously sacrosanct scheduling rules this year: offering 90-minute or two-hour reality series, lowering their ratings expectations, giving up on programming certain difficult nights like Fridays, offering edgier fare on NBC in an earlier timeslot, and exploring low-cost programming, such as international co-productions. (Variety)

Nielsen has some new competition: from TiVo itself, which is launching Stop Watch, a local TV ratings service, this summer. "We'll launch in no more than 10 markets and build it from there," said TiVo VP/general manager of audience research Todd Juenger. "We're in discussions with all sorts of people [...] I would say that our product addresses a whole bunch of deficiencies in the current system." Those deficiencies include being able to offer a larger sample size than Nielsen and offering second-by-second ratings, which would allow for commercial measurements on a local market level, as well as live and time-shifted measurements. Still, TiVo isn't looking to replace Nielsen outright. "This will work well side-by-side with Nielsen," said Juenger. "We'll produce a much more stable, reliable household rating number. If you have a data source from Nielsen, there's no reason you can't overlay the two." (Variety)

Stay tuned.


AskRachel said…
I'm really keeping my fingers crossed for Chuck and I'd like to see Better Off Ted return too. And I think The Unusuals also has potential. Hopefully, it will do better in the Tuesday time slot.
Unknown said…
Although the Hollywood Reporter is saying Reaper is dead, early reports declared a premature death for the show last year too. There has been no official word from the CW yet, and they will never know you want the show to stay if you don't tell them. Thank you.

All info here:
Jeff C. said…
The admonition to stay civil is difficult to observe here (although my uncivil feelings aren't directed at you, Jace, or at any of the commenters). NBC has a jewel, and a one-of-a-kind show, in Chuck. And to think it might lose out so that we can have five helpings of Leno inflicted on us!

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