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Channel Surfing: NBC Renews "Southland," Zachary Levi Teases Season Three of "Chuck," Rob Thomas Talks "Party Down," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. All eyes are on NBC today as the net plans to unveil to advertisers a slew of new and returning series at its "infront" in New York. Loads of rumors are flying around about the fate of several projects so please take any reports with a grain of salt until they are officially confirmed by NBC.

NBC has renewed freshman drama Southland for a second season of thirteen episodes, despite the fact that the series came in third place on Thursday. However, execs are said to be high on the John Wells-executive produced drama from Warner Bros. Television and believe it has the potential to become a hit... though it will have to do so in a timeslot other than the 10 pm hour as NBC will be handing over that timeslot to Jay Leno this fall. Freshman comedy Parks and Recreation is also expected to get a second season order today as well, though it's thought that NBC may delay decisions on such series as Chuck and such pilots as David E. Kelley's legal dramedy Legally Mad and Katee Sackhoff-led Lost & Found until after the infront. (Hollywood Reporter)

Chuck star Zachary Levi hinted at what a third season of the series might look like (should it get renewed, that is) after the game-changing reveal of last week's season finale, though Levi believes the "chances are good" that NBC will pick it up for a third season. "Chuck now has the new version of the Intersect in his head and not only does that one allow him to flash on information, it also allows him to get physical powers and techniques," Levi told Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello. "Like he might need kung fu for an assignment and then he uses it and it goes away. The powers are fleeting. That would be the third season." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan talks to Rob Thomas, co-creator of Starz's Party Down about the comedy series, its chances for a second season ("All signs are saying that we will get another year"), Kristen Bell turning up for the season finale, and the actors themselves. "All the actors had a really good time, and it's a pretty happy place to work. I'm hopeful we can sign them up for another year," Thomas told Ryan. "The chances are good." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Chuck star Zachary Levi also admitted over the weekend that it's possible NBC won't decide the fate of Chuck until several weeks after today's infront presentation. "I thought we were going to hear about it this Monday because NBC's announcing a bunch of its schedule, but I just got an email from [Chuck executive producer] Josh Schwartz, and he said stay positive, [but] we're not going to find out on Monday," Levi told E! Online. It could be another week or two. They're making their final tallies and decisions." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Among the announcements NBC is expected to make today are several series orders on both the drama and comedy sides. Looking likely for pickup are dramas Parenthood and Trauma (with Legally Mad and Lost & Found still in the mix) and comedies 100 Questions for Charlotte Payne and Community, while Off Duty is also looking like a strong contender as well. (Variety)

The Peacock also reportedly renewed Medium for a sixth season. While NBC hasn't officially announced the renewal, sources have indicated that NBC had signed a deal with CBS Paramount for somewhere between thirteen and eighteen episodes of Medium next season. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello talks to Dollhouse's Alan Tudyk about Alpha, muscle, and his character's relationship with Eliza Dushku's Echo. "I've always been a raving lunatic in front of Joss," said Tudyk about the darkness in his role. "He saw that side of me the time I trashed his house because I was crazy that day. [Laughs] I was really happy he saw me as that. It's quite a compliment to offer me a role like this, because it's not easy." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Despite the fact that it hasn't even launched yet, FOX has gone ahead and ordered a second season of Family Guy spin-off series Cleveland, ordering thirteen additional episodes that will bring the pre-launch total to 35 installments for the series. Cleveland is set to launch this fall with 22 episodes and the additional 13 episodes are set for fall 2010; move was made to ensure continuous production on the animated comedy. (Hollywood Reporter)

Jeffrey Dean Morgan has confirmed to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello that he will reprise his role as Denny on ABC's Grey's Anatomy one last time before the end of the season... but that's it. "I can confirm that I will be coming back one more time," said Morgan. "I think it will be done after that. I think I have been on the Grey's Anatomy set for the last time." (
Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Joseph Morgan (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), Emily VanCamp (Brothers & Sisters), and Stephen Campbell Moore (Ashes to Ashes) have joined the cast of Alchemy's four-hour mini-series Ben-Hur, joining the previously cast Ray Winstone, Kristen Kruek, Hugh Bonneville, Alex Kingston, Lucia Jimenez, Miguel Angel Munoz, Marc Warren, Art Malik, and James Faulkner. (Hollywood Reporter)

June Whitfield (Absolutely Fabulous) and David Harewood (Robin Hood) are set to appear in this year's Doctor Who Christmas special, part of David Tennant's two-part swan song on the series. "This is another classic piece of casting from Andy Pyor and his team," said Doctor Who producer Tracie Simpson. "June is practically television royalty! The entire crew's been having so much fun filming with her, and her presence gives the whole story that extra sparkle, just in time for Christmas." (Digital Spy)

Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Prods. has signed a multi-year overall deal with
Jenny McCarthy to develop projects on various platforms, including a syndicated talk show that McCarthy would host and a blog featured on Oprah.com, the latter of which launched on Friday. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Anelise said…
I'm glad to hear that Chuck's new Intersect abilities will only be temporary, depending on the situation. That allows him to still be a nerd the rest of the time! I can't wait to see him in action (finger crossed!) next season!

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