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Channel Surfing: "Melrose" Mayhem, Acevedo NOT Fired from "Fringe," "Smallville" and "Supernatural" Could Continue Past Next Season, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. (Following a week that included the 2009 network upfronts, I think we are all looking forward to a three-day weekend.)

SPOILER! Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has the dish on the actual set-up of the new Melrose Place series, kicking off this fall on the CW, and it will either make you squeal with delight or make you want to scream, well, bloody murder. "Sources confirm to me exclusively that the dead body found floating face down in Melrose's trademark pool in the opening minutes belongs to none other than Laura Leighton's bitchtastic ex-stripper," writes Ausiello of Melrose's seemingly resurrected Sydney. "I'm told her death will set in motion a season-long murder mystery that finds nearly all of the show's principal characters -- particularly Syd's ex, Michael (Thomas Calabro) -- a possible suspect." Leighton, meanwhile, will continue to appear on the series via flashbacks that will explore what happened to her and "what really happened after she became road kill more than a decade ago." (Editor's aside: Wasn't this the basic plot setup of short-lived Melrose Place spinoff Models Inc.?) (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

The strange story of Kirk Acevedo's firing from Fringe just got a hell of a lot weirder (much like the FOX drama itself) as executive producer Jeff Pinkner now claims that Acevedo isn't fired and will in fact be returning for Season Two of Fringe. Pinkner contends that Acevedo "was not fired" and will be playing two versions of Charlie Francis next season (remember the alternate universe Charlie with the facial scar?) “We have already seen two of him on the show,” Pinkner told TV Guide. “We have already met the second Charlie. He had a scar on his face.” Still not explained, however: why Acevedo believed he had been fired. Hmmm... (TV Guide)

The CW's entertainment president Dawn Ostroff has indicated that it's not certain that Smallville and Supernatural will in fact wrap their series runs at the end of the 2009-10 season. "No [....] It's not necessarily the last season," said Ostroff of whether Smallville will hang up its (metaphorical) tights next season. "I hope it's not." As for Supernatural, Ostroff said, "We'll see how the season goes. [...] [The Supernatural creative team] did a really good job this year and it really paid off in the ratings." (TVGuide.com)

As expected, Joel McHale has confirmed that he will not be giving up his hosting duties on E's The Soup, now that his comedy Community has been picked up to series at NBC. I'm going to do both Talk Soup and Community next fall," McHale told Entertainment Weekly. "People can tune in to E! and NBC anytime they want to see me. The series doesn’t take as much time as it does for us to do Talk Soup because we do that almost every day, like a real job." (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

ABC has ordered Prep and Landing, a half-hour animated holiday special from Walt Disney Animation that tells the story of an elite elven unit that ensures that homes are prepped for Santa's annual visit. Voices will be provided by Dave Foley, Sarah Chalke, and Derek Richardson. Project, expected to air this holiday season, is executive produced by John Lasseter. (Variety)

The CW entertainment president Dawn Ostroff is said to be "sad" to see One Tree Hill's Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton depart the series. "We tried to get them to stay; we would have been thrilled if they wanted to," said Ostroff. "A show going into its seventh year is very open to reinventing itself. And one thing I have to give [series creator] Mark Schwahn a lot of credit for is that he has kept the show so fresh all these years." (TVGuide.com)

20th Century Fox Television has signed a two-year overall deal with director/produced Dan Sackheim (House, Life), under which he will join drama series Lie to Me as an executive producer. (Variety)

Streaming VOD service Hulu is set to launch in the UK in September. The UK-based version of the site is said to contain more than 3,000 hours of US television content and has signed deals within Britain with ITV and Channel 4 as content partners and is also said to be in talks with BBC as well. It's thought that UK's Hulu will display content from the partner the night after broadcast and allow the material to be accessed for 30 days after transmission, following the established British VOD pattern. (Daily Telegraph)

BBC America has announced the launch of Season Four of Gordon Ramsay's F Word, which returns to primetime with a US premiere of the new season on Wednesday, June 17th. Series will air at 9 pm ET/PT through the summer, wrapping its twelve-episode season on September 2nd. This season will find Gordon traveling the world in search of the very best ingredients and challenging guests to make a three-course meal for 50 diners using recipes that they can make at home while Janet Street-Porter attempts to raise two calves in a cruelty-free environment. Guests include Meatloaf, Graham Norton, Dannii Minogue, Jessica Hynes, Erin O'Connor, and Ricky Hatton. (via press release)

Patti Blagojevich, the wife of disgraced former Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich, will be participating as a contestant on NBC's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! "I don't feel I'm a celebrity. NBC wanted my husband on the show, and when he was unable to go, they expressed interest in me," said Blagojevich in an interview on NBC's Today. "In this terrible economic time, I feel it's necessary to go to work to support my family." (New York Daily News)

BSkyB's Sky Movies has signed a deal to bring the ten-part Steven Spielberg- and Tom Hanks-produced HBO series The Pacific to the U.K. Sky Movies will debut The Pacific, which follows three U.S. Marines in the WWII battle with Japan, next spring. Elsewhere at the company, Sky1 has confirmed that it has canceled reality series Gladiators. (Variety)

BBC Worldwide has renewed its deal with YouTube and, in a first, will allow a "limited number" of full-length episodes of natural history program The Life of Birds to be available for US viewers. It's the first time that long-form BBC content has appeared on the platform, both in the US or the UK. Short-form content from BBC Worldwide will be available on a number of YouTube channels later this year, including BBC America, BBC Explore, and BBC Earth, which feature such series as Doctor Who, Primeval, and Hotel Babylon. (Hollywood Reporter)

USA has promoted Ryan Sharkey to VP of program acquisitions and administration, where he will oversee theatrical and series acquisitions and inventory for USA and sister cablers Sleuth and Universal HD. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Yes, the murder mystery is what kicked off Models, Inc. It also isn't the first time someone will have drowned in the pool--Brooke did on the original.

I was really excited for this spin-off, but the more I'm hearing about it the less and less enthusiastic I've become. It was one thing to bring Sydney back from the dead (it IS Melrose Place afterall) but it seems stupid to rewrite history if they're just gonna kill her again. And I thought it was clever to use Jake's son as a tie to the original, but now they're rewriting history there too and making him Michael's son? Huh?? If you want to hook fans of the original then at least respect what happened on the original.
Anonymous said…
Wow. Thank you for the link to tvguidemagazine.com. I knew the old website and magazine were no longer affiliated, but I had no idea the magazine had set up a new website!
Very happy that F Word is coming back and that they are airing it at a normal time and not in the middle of the day, which made no sense at all. The show is great and makes up for the horrible atrocity that is Hell's Kitchen.

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