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Channel Surfing: NBC Delays "Southland," "Chuck" Co-Creator Josh Schwartz to Pen CBS Comedy Script, "Heathers" Resurrected at FOX, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

NBC has announced that it is delaying the second season launch of Southland by a month. The Warner Bros. Television-produced series, which premiered last spring, was slated to launch its sophomore season on Friday, September 25th but will now instead debut on Friday, October 23rd. The reason behind the late change? According to Variety's Michael Schneider, "insiders said the Peacock hopes to use the extra month to further promote the show, which they worried was getting lost in the fall marketing shuffle." Southland was meant to launch on the same evening as Medium and Dollhouse. (Variety)

Chuck co-creator Josh Schwartz and Chuck producer Matt Miller will write an untitled multi-camera comedy pilot script for CBS about a twenty-something couple who have just gotten married and return home after their honeymoon and must learn how to navigate life together. (The premise was inspired by Schwartz and Miller's own recent weddings.) Project hails from Warner Bros. Television, where Schwartz has a deal. (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX is said to be developing a contemporary update of 1989 feature film Heathers (one of my personal faves) with Mark Rizzo (Zip) on board to adapt the dark comedy as an ongoing series. Additionally, Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City) has come on board the project as a non-writing executive producer. Project, from Sony Pictures Television and Lakeshore Entertainment, will reset the film's storyline--about a group of loathsome mean girls who begin dying when one of their members, Veronica, meets J.D., a dangerous new guy at school, and the bodies start to pile up. (Variety)

TNT has ordered a third season of heist drama Leverage, with fifteen episodes of the series expected to air in Summer 2010. (via press release)

Supernatural fans have to head over to The Chicago Tribune where Maureen Ryan has a fantastic and lengthy interview with Supernatural creator/executive producer Eric Kripke, in which he teases that the next season of Supernatural will offer "the fun Apocalypse." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Melissa McCarthy (Samantha Who, Gilmore Girls) has signed on to appear in a recurring role on ABC's fall comedy series Hank, starring Kelsey Grammer. According to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello, McCarthy will play Dawn, the wife of David Koechner's Grady, which would make her Hank's sister-in-law. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Sony Pictures Television has signed a two-year first-look deal with Sam Raimi and Josh Donen's shingle Stars Road Entertainment, under which they will develop network and cable drama series projects for the studio while staying away from the horror genre. The duo have hired former CBS executive Robert Zotnowski to oversee the push into television. Meanwhile, Robert Tapert will continue to remain involved as Raimi's producing partner. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has some scoop on what's coming up for Jane Krakwoski’s Jenna on 30 Rock, revealing that Jenna lands the lead role in a Twilight rip-off. "For tax reasons, they shoot it in Iceland and then they realize the sun doesn’t set," executive producer Robert Carlock told Ausiello. "So they’re shooting a vampire movie without having night." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

ITV1 has commissioned a seven-part period drama series Downton Abbey from writer Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) that is set at an Edwardian-era country manor house. Series, which will consist of a 90-minute opener and then six one-hour installments, "will focus on the relationship between the Crawley family, who own the Downton estate, and their staff, who live and work at the house. While some are loyal and committed to the family, others try to improve their status, find love and follow adventure." (Broadcast)

Lennie James (Jericho) has been cast in FOX's Lie to Me, where he will play Ray Marsh, the nemesis to Tim Roth's Cal Lightman. Marsh, writes Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello, is described as "a charming Brit who ran scams with Lightman way back when and who is now on the FBI and Scotland Yard watch lists. Ray once took the fall for Lightman and spent time in prison as a result. Now, after a 20-year estrangement, Ray is back to collect what he believes he is owed." James will make his first appearance in the second season's fifth episode. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Just three weeks after its launch, Style has renewed docusoap Guiliana and Bill for a second season. (Variety)

MTV has ordered horror telepic My Super Psycho Sweet 16, in which a serial killer hunts down teens at a high-end birthday bash at a roller rink. Telepic, executive produced by Maggie Malina, has already been shot. The cabler also ordered musical/dance telepic Turn the Beat Around from executive producers Tony Krantz and Steve Levitan and a scripted telepic version of the channel's Made. (Hollywood Reporter)

Lewis Black will star in an original comedy special Stark Raving Black for the nascent pay cable channel Epix, a joint venture between Lionsgate, MGM, and Viacom, which will air the special, filmed in Detroit, in December as well as playing in select theatres in 20 markets. (Variety)

Former Hat Trick co-founder Denise O'Donoghue has been hired as president of international television productions at NBC Universal International, where she will spearhead the studio's local production business, expand their international format licensing initiatives, and "[shorten] the format pipeline" between the US and the UK. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Heatherette said…
A Josh Schwartz comedy about newlyweds? Sounds fun!
"Jenna lands the lead role in a Twilight rip-off."

Oh, how I've missed 30 Rock!
Tempest said…
More Leverage! Woo Hoo!

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