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Channel Surfing: "Chuck" and "Dollhouse" Still Bubbling Away, FOX and NBC Close to Locking Schedules, "Reaper" Not Dead Yet, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

Just what will happen with bubble series like Chuck and Dollhouse? It looks like the fate of many of this year's bubble series, including those and such series as Cold Case, The Unit, My Name is Earl, Scrubs, Gary Unmarried, and Old Christine, will come down to the wire. "Negotiations continue on fan favorites Chuck and Dollhouse, with the shows facing cost-cutting requests from their respective networks, NBC and Fox, and their pickup odds seeming to shift from moment to moment," writes Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd. "Both could go down to the wire." (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX and NBC are close to locking their fall schedules and will do so by tomorrow. FOX is said to be considering ordering a sixth season of reality series So You Think You Can Dance to air this fall, immediately after the fifth season runs this summer. Other possibilities include overweight dating series The Fatchelor, which was originally expected to air this summer, or another cycle of Hell's Kitchen. Lie to Me, which was renewed for 13 episodes, is expected to launch in midseason rather than fall and the network has series like Glee, Fringe, Sons of Tucson, Human Target, House, Bones, Cleveland, and others to play around with. (Dollhouse is still said to be in contention as well.) NBC, meanwhile, is mulling splitting The Biggest Loser's two-hour weekly run into two one-hour installments and it's thought likely that the Peacock will bring back Medium, Law & Order, and--yes--Chuck, which appeared on some leaked potential schedules yesterday. (Variety)

ABC Studios is reportedly shopping dramedy Reaper to CW affiliate stations as a syndicated series for Sunday evenings (which are now under control of the affiliates rather than the netlet) or on cable. Several problems, however, make either scenario a bit of a longshot. For one, series co-star Tyler Labine is set to star in FOX comedy series Sons of Tucson next season (though there are discussions about whether he might be contractually obligated to return to Reaper) and Reaper creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have been signed to an overall deal at rival studio 20th Century Fox Television. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly has confirmed that Kristin Cavallari will replace Lauren Conrad on MTV's The Hills next season. She'll first appear in the May 31st season finale and will appear in ten episodes of The Hills next season, which kicks off in the fall. "I’m a completely different person than Lauren," said Cavallari about how the series will be different with her. "I have a lot more energy. I’m more outgoing. I’m a little more spontaneous. And she has a boyfriend so she’s not dating on the show. I’m very open to dating and finding a guy." (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

Nikki Finke is reporting that FOX has passed on comedy pilots AbFab and Two Dollar Beer and drama pilot Eva Adams. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

Meanwhile in other pilot-related news, ABC is said to be high on dramas Happy Town, Eastwick, and The Forgotten, while Empire State and Inside the Box remain in contention and V could bow as a midseason series as well as being high on comedies Cougar Town, The Middle, Romantically Challenged, and The Law. FOX is said to be strongly favoring comedy Brothers and wavering on drama Past Life. Melrose Place and Vampire Diaries are considered locks for the CW's fall schedule, with the last remaining spot going to either Privileged, Life Unexpected (formerly known as Light Years), or The Beautiful Life. CBS is said to be strong on Accidentally on Purpose and Waiting to Die as well as Happiness Isn't Everything, which could launch in midseason. On the drama side, it's the untitled NCIS spin-off, Three Rivers, and The Good Wife looking the most certain for series orders. (Hollywood Reporter)

Say goodbye to Remote Free TV. Yes, FOX has decided to put the initiative, which saw the network air fewer ads during series Fringe and Dollhouse at a higher premium, out to pasture. Next season Fringe will decrease its content time and typically run a more normal batch of commercials. (Wall Street Journal)

Doctor Who's David Tennant has been hired as the new host of PBS' Masterpiece Contemporary. His first appearance on the revamped anthology series will take place this fall. (Televisionary)

The CW has confirmed that Paulina Porizkova is no longer a judge on reality staple America's Next Top Model. Porizkova broke the news herself during an appearance on CBS' Late Late Show, in which she said that the network had fired her. "Do you know why I'm in Los Angeles?" she asked Ferguson. "... Because I'm looking for a job, because I was fired by America's Next Top Model -- on my birthday." The CW gave no explanation for her dismissal but Porizkova contends that it was a financial decision and that the series had to reduce its budget, dismissing any claims of friction between her and Tyra Banks. (Zap2it)

Los Angeles Times' Joe Flint takes a look at the scaleback facing this year's upfront presentations, with many networks scaling back on lavish parties and overt signs of excess. CBS has moved its post-upfront party from Tavern on the Green to the more sedate Terminal Five, William Morris Agency has cancelled its annual upfront shindig after 25 years, and ABC's party is at an undisclosed location and only open to media buyers. (Los Angeles Times)

Nickelodeon has ordered an animated series from Dreamworks Animation based on the feature film Kung Fu Panda, following the success of the studio's The Penguins of Madagascar on the channel. The series, which is expected to launch in 2010, will follows the adventures of Po, the martial arts master panda. Just don't expect Jack Black to reprise his role as Po here (though he will in a feature-based Kung Fu Panda sequel to be released in 2011); sound-a-likes will be used in the animated series. (New York Times)

Susan Levison, the head of comedy development at FOX, is expected to announce her departure from the network soon. Following her departure, the department will be overseed by VPs of comedy development Suzanna Makkos and Marcus Wiley, who will serve as co-heads and report to Matt Cherniss. (Variety)

The Wire's Clarke Peters will appear in an upcoming storyline on BBC One drama Holby City, where he will play Derek Newman, the father of Donna Jackson (Jaye Jacobs), who is admitted to the hospital and learns that he has "cancer of the splenic flexure, pancreas and abdominal wall." It soon falls to Ric Griffin (Hugh Quarshie) to save his life. Peters' first appearance on Holby City is scheduled to air July 14th. (BBC)

Teri Weinberg has hired former NBC manager of comedy programming Rachel Israel to be her VP of programming at Weinberg's new production company Yellow Brick Road. The two have worked together since 2004, when they were both at Reveille, where Israel worked as an intern and Weinberg's assistant. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

J.P. said…
That's too bad that they're getting rid of Remote Free TV. I thought it was a good idea and liked having the extra few minutes of story since TV programs keep getting cut shorter and shorter by commercials.
LeilaM said…
The Fatchelor? Seriously?

I would be very surprised if Dollhouse got picked up but I'm really, really hoping that we get another season of Chuck!
foodie2d said…
Thank god the Ab Fab remake didn't get picked up. I don't know why you would mess with such a perfect show. I watched some old episodes the other day and it's still hilarious!
Mazza said…
The Fatchelor might just be the stupidest reality show title ever. And one of the most offensive.
Nikky said…
Really, I thought the remote free tv was a genious idea. I don't think there is another show I actually saw more commercials during than Fringe. No time to get away without missing something potentially important! Particularly a good idea for shows with a lot of mythology. Too bad advertisers aren't buying into it. They'd be getting the better deal even at oremium prices.
Unknown said…
Reaper Fans! Write your CW affiliate and say there's a fanbase in your area and it would be a ratings boost for them on Sunday nights! Look up your CW affiliate here: http://www.cwtv.com/stations. Also write to ABC Studios: http://abc.go.com/site/contactus.html?lid=ABCCOMGlobalFooter&lpos=CONTACT -- encouraging them to keep promoting the syndication of Reaper! International viewers, write your affiliates/networks too. Draft emails and other ideas at http://community.livejournal.com/reaperdmv/44208.html.

If you’re thinking that Tyler’s new show and Michele/Tara’s new contract at Fox mean the show isn’t coming back: Tyler says that Reaper has contractural priority, and Tara told us that she and Michele would still be consultants if Reaper gets a third season. So, write!

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