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Channel Surfing: Emilie de Ravin to Return to "Lost." Jeff Bell Joins "V" as Showrunner, Knepper Lends Hand to "Heroes," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

Emilie de Ravin is set to return to ABC's Lost next season as a series regular after her character Claire Littleton was absent for most of Season Five, leaving her character's fate tantalizingly ambiguous. (It's still not clear, in fact, whether Claire is dead or alive after disappearing and then being spotted in Jacob's cabin with Christian.) "Damon and I are very excited to bring Claire back to the show," said showrunner Carlton Cuse, "and even more excited for people to experience just how she will return." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

WBTV has signed an two-year overall deal with writer/producer Jeff Bell (Angel), under which he will come on board ABC's midseason sci-fi series V as showrunner/executive producer. He'll also develop new series projects for the studio later on as well. "Like many people, I have fond memories of whatching the original miniseries, And to see how they did it now, it's epic. (Exec producer/scribe) Scott Peters did a fantastic job relaunching it. It seems like there are so many ways that you could go with this story," said Bell. "Especially when you look at our current times, with the economy, wars and social strife, it's the perfect time for a force like this to come along. In many ways this is a very American show, about the individual vs. society. It's about how America can appreciate and question things that seem to be too good to be true." (Variety)

Prison Break's Robert Knepper has joined the cast of NBC's Heroes next season, where he will appear in at least six episodes of the series as the season's putative villain Samuel, described as "a Jim Jones type -- charismatic but evil, with a twisted sense of humor -- who will veer into the lives of all heroes." The character had previously been referred to as Carnival Barker in casting breakdowns. Production on Season Four of Heroes is set to begin this week. (Hollywood Reporter)

Disney, NBC Universal, and Hearst Corporation are said to be in talks about creating a joint venture that would encompass cable channels A&E, History, and Lifetime. "The partnership would appear to fit well with NBC U's strategy of targeting female consumers via a cross-the-board corporate effort dubbed Women@NBCU," writes Variety's Clarie Atkinson. "Owning a piece of Lifetime could also help the Peacock goose traffic for its femme-centric iVillage website." (Variety, Hollywood Reporter)

Bravo has announced its summer plans, which include the launch of Season Three of docusoap Flipping Out on Monday, August 17th at 10 pm ET/PT and the return of The Real Housewives of Atlanta on Thursday, July 30th at 10 pm ET/PT. The two series will replace Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List and The Fashion Show, which will wrap their runs in August and July respectively. Additionally, the cabler will air a Top Chef special on August 26th at 10 pm, a week after Top Chef: Masters wraps its run. (Futon Critic)

Variety is reporting that A&E has canceled drama series The Beast, starring Patrick Swayze and Travis Fimmel, and will not bring the series back for a second season. (Variety)

Former Dawson's Creek showrunner and current Californication writer/executive producer Tom Kapinos lashed out at the stars of the WB hit series. "The experience was miserable," said Kapinos. "But it was a four-year boot camp. It was like going to TV grad school and learning how to run a television show. Anybody on that show who could make a decision was allowed to run it at some point. I inherited the very awkward college years, and I almost ran the show into the ground. But I learned everything that I needed to know about how to run a show." When asked what made his experiences so difficult on Dawson's Creek, he replied: "It was the four monstrous actors at the core of it." Ouch. (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Entertainment Weekly's Kate Ward checks in with Top Chef contestants Fabio Viviani, Carla Hall, and Jeff McInnis to find out what they're up to a few months after the end of the fifth season of the Bravo culinary competition series. Viviani is opening two more restaurants, has a cookbook coming out in the next month or so, and is embarking on a 16-city book tour... and possibly a television series. McInnis has completed a memoir of sorts and is shopping it to publishers. (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

Stay tuned.

Comments

I knew that Claire would be in the final season of Lost but I'm happy to hear that she'll be back as a series regular and will, again, be an integral part of the show. Can't wait to see what sort of shenanigans she's been up to with Christian!
Brodie said…
Very cool about Jeff Bell running V. I'm really excited about the show and think that he'll lead it in the right direction.
kallie said…
FINALLY Flipping Out is coming back. I am totally (and strangely) addicted to that show!

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