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Channel Surfing: NBC Detects US "Prime Suspect," Kristin Kreuk Flies to "Chuck," Katherine Heigl Takes Break from "Grey's," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

NBC is developing a US version of British crime drama series Prime Suspect, which starred Helen Mirren as the dogged and damaged Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison. The US version, which will be developed and written by Without a Trace's Hank Steinberg, will be shot as a two-hour presentation and is the first effort of a multi-year deal between NBC and ITV Studios, the production arm of British terrestrial network ITV. "We want to carefully choose a couple of iconic titles this year to reinvent, and our intention is to create another classic television show from this brilliant original format," said NBC Primetime Entertainment president Angela Bromstad. "Hank Steinberg was key in helping us secure this project, and we are incredibly excited about this modern vision for the show." (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that former Smallville star Kristin Kreuk has been cast in a recurring role on NBC's Chuck, where she will appear in multiple episodes as Hannah, a new potential love interest for Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) whom he meets on a plane to Paris and who ends up working at the Buy More after she's laid off from her job in publishing. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

SPOILER ALERT! Katherine Heigl is taking a five-episode leave of absence from ABC drama series Grey's Anatomy in order to shoot a new feature film role opposite Josh Duhamel in Life as We Know It. E! Online's Watch with Kristin, meanwhile, was able to learn just how producers would write Izzie Stevens out of the show to explain Heigl's absence. According to information gleaned from unnamed insiders, Jennifer Godwin is reporting that the major plotline this season on Grey's is the merger between Seattle Grace and rival hospital Mercy West. "Yep, Seattle Grace is about to double in size, bringing in a slate of new doctors and paving the way for major shake-ups in the season to come," writes Godwin. "What does this mega medical merger mean for our favorites? Well, Dr. Izzie Stevens is getting fired." The introduction of several new characters--played by Robert Baker, Jesse Williams, and Nora Zehetner, will allow Heigl to take a break from the series and will also act as a smokescreen for Ellen Pompeo's maternity leave. (E! Online's Watch with Kristin, Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

FOX has ordered thirteen episodes of procedural cop dramedy Jack & Dan from writer/executive producer Matt Nix (Burn Notice) and Fox Television Studios using the the low-cost production model the studio has established with Mental and Persons Unknown. However, this time round the studio has teamed with a US broadcaster first before taking the project internationally. Project, written by Nix and executive produced by Nix and Mikkel Bondesen, is about a procedure-minded cop who is teamed with "a drunken, lecherous, wild-card cop who hangs onto his job only because of a heroic act years before." Burn Notice fans, however, shouldn't be worried about Nix leaving the USA series: Burn will continue to be his priority and production on the series will be staggered in order to accommodate his schedule. (Hollywood Reporter)

Elsewhere at FOX, the network is also developing an untitled ensemble medical drama in Kuwait with Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah (Freaks and Geeks, 90210) and 20th Century Fox Television, a drama entitled Daylight Robbery about a group of women on a crime spree from writer/executive producer Karen Usher (Prison Break) and 20th Century Fox Television, and an untitled actioner from writer/executive producer Michael Duggan (Millennium) and Sony Pictures Television about a government agent and his older handler. (The Wrap's TV MoJoe)

HBO has given a pilot order to single-camera comedy Enlightened, starring Laura Dern as a "self-destructive woman who has a spiritual awakening and becomes determined to live an enlightened life, creating havoc at home and work." The pilot, written by Mike White, will shoot in December. (Hollywood Reporter)

Mehcad Brooks (True Blood) has been cast as a series regular on ABC's midseason legal dramedy series The Deep End, where he will play Malcolm Bennet, an associate at the high-powered Los Angeles legal firm which the series revolves around. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has a fantastic interview with Diablo Cody and Jill Soloway about Season Two of Showtime comedy The United States of Tara, set to return early next year. Soloway has assumed the mantle of showrunner following the departure of Alexa Junge as head writer. "The show was getting a little bit too dark in terms of delving into her past and what happened” to Tara to cause her dissociative identity disorder, said Showtime president Robert Greenblatt. "While we ultimately want to unpeel the onion and reveal what she went through, we had to rethink how we were doing that. It’s a comedy at the end of the day. It’s not a one-hour, serious drama about this affliction." So what can fans expect? For one, Cody said that they intend to "open up the series and take it out of the house a little bit and show all these different facets of Tara’s life and her alters’ lives." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

CBS has ordered a script for an untitled multi-camera comedy project co-created by and starring Bret Harrison (Reaper) about two district attorneys, one of whom is in his twenties (to be played by Harrison) and the other in his forties, and the woman who comes between them. Project, which will be written by Robert Borden, will be produced by Universal Media Studios, Stuber Prods., and executive producer Scott Stuber. (Hollywood Reporter)

MTV has ordered eight episodes of Teen Mom, a spinoff of the cabler's 16 and Pregnant that will catch up with four of the teenagers featured on 16 and Pregnant and see how they are coping with their first year of motherhood. No premiere date has been set. (Variety)

Rick Fox (Dirt) has been cast in a recurring role on the CW's Melrose Place, where he will play the owner of the restaurant where many of the aspiring actor characters work. (Hollywood Reporter)

Hallmark has promoted Susanne Smith to SVP of marketing for both the Hallmark Channel and the Hallmark Movie Channel. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


SusClare said…
Why do they do this? Prime Suspect? The iconic, freakin' good Prime Suspect? Have they learned nothing from past remakes that didn't work or translate? (Life on Mars anyone?) Why not just air the original Prime Suspcet series for those haven't seen it instead of ruining it with another American remake.
susie que said…
Yes, the Prime Suspect remake is a horrible idea.

"We want to carefully choose a couple of iconic titles this year to reinvent." Reinvent or ripoff?
Samantha said…
Ugh, Lana on Chuck? That is sad news Jace, sad news indeed. Let's hope her acting has gotten better.

My favorite comment from the EW article -

Chuck, you’re not being honest with me. You seem to keep so many secrets from me. Why can’t you tell me, Chuck? Why?

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