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Channel Surfing: Mindy Kaling Gets Universal Deal, Josh Schwartz Talks "Chuck," HBO Goes to New Orleans with "Treme," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

The Office co-star/writer Mindy Kaling has signed an overall deal with NBC and Universal Media Studios under which she will continue to write for and star in The Office as well as develop a new comedy project which will be a vehicle for the actress. "This is my first step in a Transformers-style way to take over the whole world," joked Kaling. "I've only ever worked for NBC, and I've felt an enormous amount of support from the executives there." Kaling says she is drawn to workplace comedies as well as buddy series such as HBO's Flight of the Conchords or projects focusing on women. (Variety)

There's still no news on the fate of NBC's Chuck, despite a massive fan-based initiative to create buzz for a third season of the action-comedy. The Hollywood Reporter's Matthew Belloni talks to Chuck co-creator/executive producer Josh Schwartz about the series' rabid fan base, Lily, the 1980's-set Gossip Girl spin-off, X-Men: First Class, Bright Lights, Big City, and more. (Hollywood Reporter)

HBO has given out a series order to New Orleans-set drama Treme, from The Wire creator David Simon and Eric Overmyer, which follows the residents of the Big Easy as they adjust to life post-Katrina. It's unclear yet how many episodes HBO has initially committed to as the pay cabler was still working out specifics of the pickup. "We don't intend to make The Wire twice," said Simon of Treme. "This is about people reconstituting their lives after their town was mostly, effectively destroyed... It's not entirely a political show. We're trying to be very intimate with people. And New Orleans is completely unique, there's nothing in the world like it." Treme, which stars Wendell Pierce, Khandi Alexander, Steven Zahn, Kim Dickens, Clarke Peters, Melissa Leo, and Rob Brown, is slated to begin production in the fall for a spring 2010 berth. (Variety)

Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent) will direct HBO fantasy pilot Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's novel series "Songs of Fire and Ice," which is slated to shoot later this year in Belfast. Joining the cast of Game of Thrones is Peter Dinklage (Nip/Tuck), who previously worked with McCarthy on The Station Agent. Dinklage will play Tyrion, the outcast brother of the queen who is shunned because of his small stature. (Hollywood Reporter)

Production has begun on three new feature-length installments of mystery series Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh as Swedish police officer Inspector Kurt Wallander, based on a series of best-selling novels by Henning Mankell. The three new installments will be shot this summer in Ystad, Sweden, and will air on BBC One in 2010. (Meanwhile, the first three will launch this Sunday on PBS' Masterpiece Mystery.) "I'm delighted to be back in Kurt Wallander's shoes for three further adaptations," said Branagh. "The character's story becomes ever more complex in these next films. Our entire team relishes the privilege of bringing them to the screen, and to an audience who proved so loyal last time out." (BBC)

Lifetime will launch the third season of drama series Army Wives on June 7th. (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello talks with How I Met Your Mother co-creator/executive producer Carter Bays about Monday night's shocking twist. "We freaked out a ton of people," said Bays. "We've never really kept a big secret from the audience. And what secrets we do have we usually tell people and there are usually spoilers floating around. And this kind of felt like, 'Let's try and do something that takes everyone by surprise and really blow people's minds.' And I think we did it." (
Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

CBS is said to be considering handing out pilot orders to revivals of classic game shows Let's Make a Deal and The Dating Game, which are being viewed as possible replacements for the daytime slot being vacated this fall by the cancellation of soap Guiding Light. (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX has cancelled Talkshow With Spike Feresten, which won't be returning for a fourth season this fall. The network is currently in the process of making over its Saturday late night lineup, having ordered a latenight series starring Wanda Sykes at 11 pm, which replaces the cancelled MadTV. (Variety)

Nickelodeon has renewed live-action comedy series True Jackson, VP, which stars Keke Palmer as the teenage exec at a fashion label, for a second season, with 20 episodes on tap for the sophomore season. (Hollywood Reporter)

Bravo has resigned its development deal with Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List producer Picture This Television, under which the shingle will produce unscripted series and specials for the cabler. (Variety)

NBC will air two-hour documentary Farrah's Story, depicting actress Farrah Fawcett's battle with cancer, on May 15th. "This film is very personal," said Fawcett. "At the time, I didn't know if anybody would ever see it. But at some point, the footage took on a life of its own and dictated that it be seen." (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


I would love to see Mindy Kaling in a female buddy comedy. There's really nothing like that on TV and I think she would be perfect to write and star in it. She's got an incredible sense of humor and smarts to boot!
Jo Allen said…
Great news about Treme! I hate the title but since it's from The Wire creators and has such an extraordinary cast, that can easily be forgiven.

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