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Channel Surfing: David Tennant Talks End of "Doctor Who" Run, Jeri Ryan Finds "Leverage," Noah Wylie to Battle Aliens for Spielberg and TNT, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has an absolutely fantastic interview with Doctor Who star David Tennant on the eve of BBC America's airing of last Christmas' Doctor Who special "The Next Doctor." Among the topics of discussion: the end of his run on the legendary British sci-fi series, the truth behind the all-Doctors reunion rumors (false, says Tennant), and what's next for the actor (Poliakoff's Glorious 39), among other things. "I'm all finished," said Tenannt of his run on Doctor Who. "Three or four weeks ago, I filmed my last scene. So it's over. Still a long time to go before they're all broadcast, though, so I'm still clinging on for a bit. But yeah, it's done. It was very emotional, very exciting. We managed to go out with some of the best scripts I had in four years. So it was a real treat." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Jeri Ryan (Shark) has been cast in a recurring role on Season Two of TNT's drama series Leverage, where she will play "Tara, a smart-ass, street-wise con woman whom Sophie (Gina Bellman) calls on for help and who gets sucked into the Leverage family." (Hollywood Reporter)

It's official: Noah Wylie has signed on as the lead in TNT's untitled sci-fi pilot from executive producer Steven Spielberg and writer Robert Rodat. Project is set in a future where most of humanity has been wiped out by an alien incursion; Wylie will play the leader of a small human resistance force who are attempting to overthrow the occupying aliens. (Hollywood Reporter)

Former Privileged star Joanna Garcia has joined the cast of CW's Gossip Girl for a four-episode story arc next season, where she will play Bree Buckley, "an irreverent, slightly evil Miss America-type who hails from a conservative Southern family" who becomes romantically entangled with Chace Crawford's Nate Archibald. Garcia's first appearance on the series is set to air on September 14th. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Flashpoint returns to CBS will new episodes on Friday, July 17th at 9 pm. The network ordered a third season of the Canadian co-production last month. (Futon Critic)

Meanwhile, CBS has teamed up with its affiliate stations to launch a marketing plan tied around the crucial 10 pm timeslot, which has been named Project LENO (that's, ahem, Late prime Enhanced News Opportunity). The network is offering affiliates at 10 pm "tool kit" including "sponsorable broadcast spots, Web banners and radio spots, as well as behind-the-scenes vignettes" and CBS is also offering "an affiliate swap spot to promote the 10 pm hour." (Variety)

NBC announced their fall premiere dates yesterday, with most series--except 30 Rock--launching in the two week period between September 14th and September 26th. The Peacock will roll out its comedies Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday, Parks and Recreation, The Office, and Community on September 17th (30 Rock, which returns October 15th); The Biggest Loser will launch on September 15th; Heroes returns with a two-hour premiere on September 21st; Trauma kicks off on September 28th; Parenthood and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit debut on September 23rd; Southland and Law & Order will launch on September 25th, followed the next night by Saturday Night Live. (via press release)

BBC Worldwide and WGBH will co-produce a new Emma mini-series starring Atonement's Romola Garai, Michael Gambon, and Jonny Lee Miller and a sequel to Cranford that will star Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Eileen Atkins, Jonathan Pryce, Tim Curry, and Tom Hiddleston, both of which will air stateside on Masterpiece Classic next year. (More info on Cranford 2 can be found here.) Additionally, WGBH has partnerned with BBC on Framed, an adaptation of Frank Cottrell Boyce's children's book, and two-parter Small Island, based on Andrea Levy's novel about an ambitious Jamaican woman (Naomi Harris) in London after WWII. And the PBS affiliate also acquired three BBC productions: a remake of The 39 Steps starring Rupert Penry-Jones and Sharpe's Peril and Sharpe's Challenge, which star Sean Bean. (Variety)

The N will launch thirteen-episode original comedy series The Assistants, about four Hollywood assistants working for a high-profile producer, on July 10th at 8:30 pm. Series was ordered in November 2007 but the cable network hadn't been able to find a spot for the series on the schedule. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


wildhoney said…
Ugh. Why do we have to wait so long for more 30 Rock?!
Very happy about the Cranford sequel and intrigued by the Emma mini-series. Excellent cast but it will be tough to surpass the brilliance and wit of Douglas McGrath's film adaptation which is one of my all time favorites!

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