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Channel Surfing: IFC Stakes Claim to "Anita Blake," Bryan Fuller Talks "Heroes" Return, "Life on Mars" Series Finale, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. I promise no April Fool's Day jokes here, just real TV-related headlines this morning.

IFC and Lionsgate Television are developing telepic Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter, based on Hamilton's best-selling Anita Blake novels about the female vampire hunter who also works as a police consultant on supernatural crimes. The movie, which will be produced by Lionsgate and After Dark Films, was written/executive produced by Glen Morgan (The X-Files) and will be shot this summer. (Variety)

SCI FI Wire has an exclusive interview with Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller about his return to NBC's Heroes, what went wrong with the series, and how he intends to fix it. "After I finished watching [the "Villains" episodes the producers sent over], I wasn't sure I could do this," said Fuller. "I didn't recognize the show anymore. It had become something else entirely. My favorite characters had become my least favorite, and there was a second I thought I had to get out of this. Then I started reading the 'Fugitives' scripts, and I thought it was picking up again. There were some stumbles along the way, where it started to get muddy, but I was more inspired." (SCI FI Wire)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello talks to Life on Mars executive producers Josh Appelbaum and Scott Rosenberg about the series finale of the US adaptation of the British series, which wraps its run tonight on ABC. "There is a very clear and definitive answer as to what his journey has been about and how all the pieces over the past 17 hours play into that journey," said Appelbaum about the resolution to Sam Tyler's story. "At the same time, we hope, like all great finales, it still leaves things open to interpretation. But if there's one thing we feel pretty good about it's that in the afterlife of Life on Mars on DVD or wherever, it will exist as a cohesive, complete thought that will all make sense." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Pilot casting alert: Kevin Rahm (Desperate Housewives) and Jeff Davis will star in ABC comedy pilot presentation This Little Piggy; Dash Mihok (Punisher: War Zone) has joined the cast of CBS comedy pilot The Fish Tank; Rob Huebel (Human Giant) and Julio Oscar Mechoso (Cane) will star in FOX comedy pilot The Station, directed by Ben Stiller; and Alison Brie (Mad Men) has joined the cast of NBC comedy pilot Community. (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX has found their replacement for the axed MADtv. The network is launching an untitled latenight series starring Wanda Sykes in the 11 pm timeslot on Saturday evenings. Series, which will largely resemble the format of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, will launch either this fall or January 2010. Meanwhile, Spike Feresten's latenight FOX talkshow is said to be on the bubble. (Broadcasting & Cable)

AMC is developing reality docuseries True West, that will "follow a group of modern cowboys as they pursue a trade that's quickly vanishing." Project, executive produced by Brett Morgen, is still in its early stages. "We had been putting the word out very quietly but sort of consciously that we were looking at unscripted series, with the mandate being that we were looking for an unscripted series that plays like a drama series," said SVP of original programming Joel Stillerman. "We're not looking to do a competition show or one that's heavily formatted." (Variety)

BBC Worldwide has offered episodes of cult British comedy The Mighty Boosh on iTunes. Episodes from the series' third season will be available at the iTunes store for $1.99 each after they air on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim every Sunday night. The first episode is currently being offered at the reduced price of $.99, so act now! (via press release)

Discovery has renewed five unscripted series including American Loggers, Destroyed in Seconds, How Stuff Works, Time Warp, and Treasure Quest, each of which has been picked up for a seconf season. (Variety)

FOX's The Simpsons are being memorialized on a 44-cent first-class stamp designed by series creator Matt Groening, which celebrates the animated series' twentieth anniversary. The stamp, which features the Simpson clan, will be unveiled on April 9th. (Hollywood Reporter)

Fine Living has ordered a second season of 26 episodes of Whatever, Martha!, the unscripted series that showcases Alexis Stewart and friend Jennifer Koppelman Hutt commenting on old episodes of Martha Stewart Living. (Variety)

SAG and AFTRA have jointly reached a tentative new three-year commercials contract, which is subject to the approval of the SAG/AFTRA Joint National Board and sees an increase of more then $36 million in wage hikes and other payments. AFTRA national president Roberta Reardon called the new contract "a major victory for our unions -- and a victory for organized labor as a whole." (Hollywood Reporter)

USA Today's Gary Levin looks at the belt-tightening going on at the networks and how rough economic times are forcing the networks to get smarter with their money during development season. Still, there are a few big-budget pilots on the horizon (like ABC's $7 million Flash Forward) even as the nets look to trim costs by shooting in less expensive locales (hello, Atlanta!), using digital video rather than 35 mm film, and going back to multi-camera on more comedies rather than go for the more expensive single-camera style. (USA Today)

Heroes creator/executive producer Tim Kring has signed a deal to create interactive entertainment applications for Nokia's Ovi Store, launching this summer. (Variety)

BBC One has confirmed that heisty dramedy The Invisibles will not be returning for a second season. The series, which starred Anthony Stewart Head and Warren Clark, did not find an audience when it aired last summer. "In spite of a great cast and production team, The Invisibles didn't find its audience," said a BBC spokesperson. "We remain very proud of it but it won't be returning." (The Daily Mirror)

Nikki Reed has been named VP of current and development for Universal Cable Prods., where she will be tasked with developing scripted series for non-NBC Universal-owned cable networks. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.

Comments

joy said…
I kind of fear an Anita Blake TV dramatization. Mostly, because if I remember correctly, some of those scenes were pretty darn graphic...and though I don't mind a Buffy/Angel or Willow/Oz scene, I don't think I'd ever want to see a Buffy/Angel/Oz scene. Eeep.
geekchick said…
OMG! Anita Blake on TV? I am so there.
CL said…
Noooooooooo!
Renee said…
Ohhhh wonderful Jean claude , Asher ,Micha... I soooooo can't wait...
Unknown said…
Omg. Well i hope they don't ruin it like they did with the twilight movie... though the first anita blake novels are way better than twilight. No matter what i say though i will def. watch!!! Can't wait.

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