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Channel Surfing: Gillian Anderson Tackling "Doctor Who," USA Books "White Collar," Kaley Cuoco Not Checking In to "Grey's Anatomy," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

Former X-Files star Gillian Anderson is said to be in talks to guest star in an episode of Doctor Who, set to air on BBC One next year, opposite the Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith. Anderson would play "the renegade Time Lady, The Rani, a glamorous but evil scientific genius previously played in the series by Kate O'Mara in the 80s," who is an archenemy of the Doctor. "Gillian obviously has a massive sci-fi following following and it's felt it would be a major coup to have her appear in Doctor Who," an anonymous source told The Daily Express. "The team behind the show are keen for the next Doctor to have lots of new enemies and Gillian would be a glamorous and impressive addition to the list. The Rani would be a perfect role for her as the character used to be regarded as one of the Doctor's most deadly opponents." (Daily Telegraph)

USA has ordered drama White Collar, starring Matthew Bomer (Chuck), Tim DeKay (Carnivale), Tiffani Thiessen (Fastlane), and Wille Garson (Sex and the City), to series, ordering 13 one-hour installments in addition to its 90-minute pilot. Bomer will play a professional thief who breaks out of prison and is forced to work with the FBI to track down criminals who have eluded capture. No official launch date has been announced but it's believed that White Collar will kick off this fall. (Variety)

The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco will now not be appearing on the season finale of ABC's Grey's Anatomy after all, due to a publicity commitment. A Big Bang Theory spokesperson announced yesterday that "due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts on behalf of The Big Bang Theory, Kaley Cuoco regrettably will be unable to guest star on the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy. Kaley is a big fan of Grey’s Anatomy and hopes to work with them in the future." Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello did some more digging and learned that it was CBS who axed Cuoco's guest turn on Grey's. "An Eye spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment, but as one insider explains, 'They didn't want one of their biggest stars appearing on one of ABC's biggest shows.'" Meanwhile, Shannon Lucio (The O.C.) will replace Cuoco on the May 14th season finale of Grey's Anatomy. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

NBC's untitled Justin Adler comedy pilot will now no longer have Justin Adler. The writer/executive producer of the untitled multi-camera pilot, produced by Tannenbaum Co. and Sony Pictures Television, has left the project ahead of next week's reshoots. Moses Port and David Guarascio have been tapped to replace Adler on the pilot, which is being directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC announced early pick-ups for the 2009-10 season of dramas Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Private Practice, and Ugly Betty, as well as reality series America's Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Supernanny, and Wife Swap. (Televisionary)

The Los Angeles Times' Maria Elena Fernandez takes a look at the promotional machine in place for the launch of FOX's Glee, which will air its pilot next month before officially bowing in the fall. FOX will make the pilot episode available for sale this summer on iTunes and will air a different version of the opening installment this fall. "From Day One, I've had so much support from the studio and network," said creator Ryan Murphy. "I think they are all wanting to break out of the box: What is network television? What can it be? Every once in a while, something comes along that's just different. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I think we're all on the same page that it's great to attempt it. The scripts are written as though the kids are underdogs and I tell the actors all the time, this show feels like an underdog." (
Los Angeles Times)

Casting updates: Jane Lynch (Party Down) has been promoted to a series regular on FOX's Glee, where she plays caustic cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester; Austin Nichols (The Informers) has been bumped up to series regular on the CW drama One Tree Hill; and Eddie Jemison (Waitress) has been made a series regular on HBO comedy Hung, which will also see the addition of Alanna Ubach (Eli Stone) to the cast as recurring. (Hollywood Reporter)

BBC America has announced the return of Primeval to its schedule, which will see the launch of Season Three on May 14th. Unfortunately, the network has also bumped Season Two of Life on Mars spin-off Ashes to Ashes, meant to launch next Saturday, off the schedule for the foreseeable future to make room for Primeval. Ashes to Ashes is now expected to return later this year. (Televisionary)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has a first look at the musical guest stars turning up on the May 14th season finale of NBC's 30 Rock, which will feature such guests as Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Mary J. Blige, Clay Aiken, Adam Levine, and Rhett Miller. And Alan Alda will also guest star in the episode, which sees the return of Chris Parnell's Dr. Leo Spaceman. (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Look for some last-minute scheduling changes next week as sweeps kicks off and President Obama has asked the networks for airtime on Wednesday. The broadcast networks have yet to agree to the request (though it's believed they all will) and will likely have to shift some programming around to accomodate President Obama's news conference. (TV Week)

Filmmaker Pedro Almodovar will oversee a television adaptation of his 1988 feature film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for Fox Television Studios. Almodovar will executive produce along with Mimi Schmir (Grey's Anatomy), who will write the pilot script, which she says will be "a suburban drama about a group of women who have known each other for a long time, perhaps from college, who are in the middle of their lives and looking at the second half of their lives." Project will be developed for the international market and could end up being a co-production a la the studio's own Mental, Defying Gravity, and Persons Unknown. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stephen Baldwin has joined the cast of NBC's upcoming reality competition series I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, along with Janice Dickinson, Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt, and Sanjaya Malakar, among others. Meanwhile, disgraced former Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich will also fly to Los Angeles to participate in today's NBC press day, saying "Perhaps I can play some other role in the show." (TV Week)

Meanwhile, the series' producers, Granada America, have signed a deal with MTV to repurpose episodes of NBC's
I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, in a second window on MTV, though the cabler will also play a role in determining creative for the series and will cross-promote the NBC broadcasts. NBC plans to air the episodes four nights a week beginning June 1st, while MTV will offer a marathon of the previous week's episodes on Sundays starting June 7th. (Variety)

HBO's Jada Miranda and Mike Garcia have left their development posts at the pay cabler. Miranda will remain at the network as a producer with a multiple-year development deal and will join the staff of upcoming comedy How to Make It in America as an executive producer, while Garcia will leave to pursue other opportunities. (Hollywood Reporter)

Former FOX business affairs/alternative production executive Donna Redier Link has been hired as the COO, a newly created position, at Fremantle North America, where she will report to Cecile Frot-Coutaz. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

I would LOVE to see Gillian Anderson on Doctor Who. She is such a versatile actor (from X-Files to Bleak House) and would really add something to the role. Fingers crossed that it will happen!
TxGowan said…
Makes me wonder if some of the remaining hours of Who will bring back the Time Lords somehow. The Rani should, by all accounts, be dead.
Ridolph said…
"The Rani would be a perfect role for her as the character used to be regarded as one of the Doctor's most deadly opponents."

In what parallel universe was this? She appeared in 2 shows... Not saying I wouldn't like to see her come back though, and Gillian Anderson sounds fine.

Not sure why the Rani would be dead though. And I'm still holding out hope for Romana (if the books are not canon).

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