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Channel Surfing: CBS Mulling "Criminal Minds" Spin-off, John Simm Talks "Doctor Who" Send-Off for Tennant, Kevin Zegers Hears "Gossip" Call, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

CBS is said to be developing a potential spin-off from its crime drama series Criminal Minds that will be created by showrunner/executive producer Ed Bernero and executive producer Chris Mundy, the latter of which will write the script for the potential spin-off which will air as an episode of Criminal Minds later this season. No concrete details are available but the series is thought to revolve around a new team of FBI agents, rather than focusing on any of the existing Criminal Minds characters. (Hollywood Reporter)

John Simm (Life on Mars), who returns to Doctor Who to reprise his role as The Master this winter, has said that David Tennant's swan song on the British sci-fi series is a "brilliant send-off" for Tennant and the Tenth Doctor. "It'll be a brilliant send-off for Mr Tennant," said Simm. "Last time I did it it was such fun to do. It was wonderful to be asked back and to be in the very, very last one. To go head-to-head with him was a really honour. It was lovely to be asked. It was a great, great experience. We had such fun doing it. Hopefully it'll come across." (BBC News)

Kevin Zegers (The Jane Austen Book Club) has been cast in a multiple-episode story arc on the CW's Gossip Girl as the potential love interest for Taylor Momsen's Jenny. Zegers will play Damien, "an international bad boy who somehow gets tied up with the likes of little Jenny Humphrey—-who is, in fact, the new Queen Bee." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Diane Ruggiero (Veronica Mars) will write the pilot script for an untitled FOX supernatural dramedy, said to be in the style of Shaun of the Dead, about "a group of dysfunctional siblings who are forced to live together in the family's haunted house after their father dies." Project, from executive producers Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope, and Ruggiero and studio 20th Century Fox Television, has received a script order from the network. (Variety)'s Natalie Abrams talks to Pushing Daisies' Kristin Chenoweth who guest stars on tonight's episode of FOX's Glee as April Rhodes, a former classmate of Will's who has a certain thing for younger men. "This part is like nothing I've had the chance to do on TV," said Chenoweth of April. "She's very happy when drinking to ease her pain. I also sing in three very different styles, which is always fun and challenging." (

FOX has given a pilot presentation order to an untitled animated project from Robot Chicken creators Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, and Tom Root that will revolve around various characters at home and at high school and will feature traditional, rather than stop-motion, animation. Project hails from 20th Century Fox Television. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan is reporting that the two-hour pilot for Syfy's Caprica, which launches in January, is hitting the film festival circuit, with airings planned for the San Diego Film Festival as well as the Woodstock Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival in October. (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

TLC will relaunch its brand-defining reality series Jon & Kate Plus Eight as just... Kate Plus Eight. The newly retitled series will be relaunched on November 2nd and will focus on Kate Gosselin as the single mother of eight children. But don't count Jon Gosselin out just yet; he's set to continue to make appearances on the series, albeit "on a less regular basis." The cabler is also said to be developing a new series for Kate Gosselin for 2010. (Variety)

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Drop Dead Diva) have received script commitments for two projects at FOX and NBC. The FOX project, a legal drama entitled Laney Sparrow, will be written by Dana Calvo (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) and hail from 20th Century Fox Television. The NBC project, dramedy Inside Mary Baxter, is set in a women's prison; that script will be written by Maria Maggenti (Without a Trace), who will executive produce with Zadan and Meron. (Hollywood Reporter)

Billie Piper (Doctor Who), Theo James (Untitled Woody Allen Film), Andrew Lee Potts (Primeval), Sue Johnston (Waking the Dead), and Alun Armstrong (New Tricks) have been cast in BBC One drama Kay Mellor's A Passionate Woman, based on Mellor's stageplay about a young mother who calls in love with a Polish neighbor and its dangerous consequences over a thirty-year period. Project, from Rollem Productions, will air next year. (BBC)

Warner Bros. Television has signed a two-year overall deal with Cold Case executive producer Greg Plageman, under which he will continue to oversee the CBS drama series with Jennifer Johnson and develop new projects for the studio. (Hollywood Reporter)

UK viewers will get a chance to watch Warner Bros. Television's new sci-fi series V (which is airing Stateside on ABC), following a deal between the studio and NBC Universal Global Networks that will see the Scott Peters-executive produced series air on the UK's Sci Fi, as well as the midseason drama series Human Target. (Broadcast)

History Channel has ordered several new reality series, including Extreme Trucking, a spin-off of its Ice Road Truckers, American Pickers, Madhouse, and Sliced. (Hollywood Reporter)

Camryn Manheim (The Practice) has been cast in Lifetime telepic Pregnancy Pact, opposite Thora Birch and Nancy Travis. She'll play a local nurse who alerts the school to the rising rate of teen pregnancies. Telepic is slated to air in early 2010. (Variety)

Jason Priestley will star in Canadian pay TV comedy Meet Phil Fitz, about a "morally bankrupt" used car salesman who "walks a fine line of acceptable behavior on the lot." Project, from writer/executive producer Sheri Elwood (Defying Gravity). E1 Entertainment, Amaze Film and Television, and Big Motion Pictures, will air on Movie Central and the Movie Network in 2010. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Lucy Boo said…
Thanks for the link to the Kristin Chenoweth interview. I am so excited to see her on Glee tonight. It's a perfect fit. I just wish she could be a regular on the show!
Tamara said…
I SO can't wait for the final Doctor Who (even though I'm sure I'll be crying my eyes out). Love Tennant and John Simm too.
Page48 said…
Loved John Simm (not to mention a brilliant Bill Nighy and "Alias" alum, Kelly Macdonald) in the BBC version of "State of Play".

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