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Channel Surfing: Helfer, Hogan, Sheppard in "Warehouse 13," "Mad Men" Clashes with AMC Over Ad Break, "Cranford" Returns this Christmas, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer, Michael Hogan, and Mark Sheppard have signed on to guest star in Syfy's upcoming series Warehouse 13, which launches July 7th. Helfer will play a Chicago-based FBI agent on the drama series, while Hogan has been cast as the father of Joanne Kelly's Myka, with her mother played by Hogan's real-life wife Susan Hogan. Finally, Sheppard will appear as an "enigmatic figure who represents the organization that controls the Warehouse." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Nikki Finke is reporting that cabler AMC has told producers of drama series Mad Men that they will have to shave off roughly two additional minutes of content per episode next season in order to insert more commercial ads, a decision which has angered some staffers on the drama series. "That might not sound like such a big deal, but it's galling given how well the show has done, how carefully it's put together, and how much money it's already making AMC," writes Finke, "and parent company Cablevision which recently announced a $20M 1st-quarter profit, while subsidiary Rainbow Media cited a 7.6% increase in ad sales." AMC executives, meanwhile, blamed the stumbling economy and said that Mad Men doesn't bring in enough revenue. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

Award-winning period drama Cranford will return to BBC One this Christmas with a two-part special that will feature Dame Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Julia McKenzie, Deborah Findlay, Francesca Annis, and Barbara Flynn reprising their roles in a story set one year after the events of the original mini-series. Also set to appear in Cranford's Christmas specials are Jonathan Pryce, Celia Imrie, Lesley Sharp, Nicholas Le Prevost, Jodie Whittaker, Tom Hiddleston, Michelle Dockery, Matthew McNulty, and Rory Kinnear. Filming is set to begin in June. (BBC)

ABC's plans to burn off the remaining episodes of canceled comedy In the Motherhood beginning next week have changed, with the network now shifting the three-week run from Fridays at 9:30 pm ET/PT to Thursdays at 8:30 pm ET/PT starting June 25th. (Futon Critic)

TLC has given a series order to unscripted series Wedded to Perfection and give the series a sneak peek tonight. The series, from Peacock Productions, follows the professional lives of married couple Jung Lee and Josh Brooks, professional wedding planners who launch elaborate nuptials in Manhatan. (Hollywood Reporter)

Cabler TBS has ordered ten half-hour episodes of unscripted latenight series The Very Funny Show, which will feature host Tim Meadows overseeing a series of standup performances at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago. The series, which will feature such comedians as Bob Marey, Dwight Slade, and Steve Byrne, is set to launch in November. (Variety)

Universal Media Studios has signed a two-year overall deal with writer/executive producer Liz Heldens (Mercy), under which she will remain on board NBC's midseason medical drama Mercy as showrunner and develop new projects for the studio. She was previously a co-executive producer on Friday Night Lights. (Variety)

ABC will launch seven-episode reality series Crash Course this summer, likely in August. Series, from executive producers Arthur Smith and Kent Weed, features five teams as they undertake four extreme driving challenges ranging from driving on two wheels to driving under intense weather conditions, with a team eliminated after each round. Commentary will be provided by Orlando Jones and Dan Cortese. (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC has partnered with reality production company Shed Media to produce the network's upcoming six-episode unscripted series The Marriage Ref with Jerry Seinfeld, slated to debut in midseason on Sunday nights. (Variety)

Showrunner Kevin Abbott (Surviving Suburbia, Roseanne) has sued 20th Century Fox Television, asserting that the studio owes him $1.38 million for "improperly withholding payments and suspending his overall deal during the 2007-08 WGA strike," according to the Hollywood Reporter. Abbot was released from his studio deal during the writers strike but claims that his deal "was markedly different from the contracts of many of his peers" and "specifically protected him from suspension or termination based solely upon a strike." The studio had no comment on the litigation. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Jennifer said…
So happy to hear about the Cranford Christmas special! Of course who knows when we'll be getting it here in the States =(
Sianne said…
I loved Cranford and am happy to hear that there will be a Christmas special with Judi Dench and the rest of the wonderful cast!
par3182 said…
i hope lisa dillon (mary smith) and selena griffiths (caroline tomkinson) are also returning to cranford; the village wouldn't be complete without them

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