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Channel Surfing: Whedon Talks "Dollhouse" Season Two, J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Lands FOX Comedy, Amaury Nolasco Leaves "Southland," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker has an interview with Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon about Season Two of the FOX drama series, which returns on Friday. Asked about how malleable the future depicted in the unaired thirteen episode "Epitaph One" is, Whedon said, "We talked about whether it was malleable or not, and right now we pretty much take it as gospel. But then we have a lot of different opinions about how it gets there and who does what. We're fascinated by the implications of this future, and a lot of this season has been guided by it without being so beholden to it that people who didn't see it won't understand. We were incited by the idea that the abuse of power is more widespread than just this one house." (Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker)

J.J. Abrams' production shingle Bad Robot has landed a pilot presentation order from FOX for a half-hour comedy series that's being described as a "medical comedy." Details on the project are being kept firmly under wraps, though it's known that Mike Markowitz (Becker) is writing the script and will executive produce the pilot along with Abrams and Bryan Burk. (Variety)

Major casting change for NBC's police drama Southland. Prison Break's Amaury Nolasco has departed the project after filming just three episodes; he played an aggressive new partner for Regina King's Detective Lydia Adams. No reason was given for his departure. Stepping in: Extract's Clifton Collins, who will play a new character named Ray Suarez who "is still being fleshed out." (Hollywood Reporter)

Showtime and DreamWorks Television are said to be developing a scripted series that will revolve around the mounting of a Broadway musical, which would then actually play on the Great White Way after the series airs. The network is said to be in talks with executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron as well as songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Meetings are underway to find a writer for the series, whose format--half-hour or hour--is under discussion. (Variety)

Campbell Scott, Lily Tomlin, Keith Carradine, and Martin Short have joined the cast of FX's Damages for the series' third season. (Televisionary)

Bill Condon (Kinsey) will direct Showtime dark comedy pilot The C Word, which stars Laura Linney as a suburbanite who is diagnosed with cancer. Project, from Sony Pictures Television and Original Film, is written and executive produced by Darlene Hunt and executive produced by Neal H. Moritz and Vivian Cannon. Production on the pilot starts this fall. (via press release)

E! Online's Jennifer Godwin has the scoop on the upcoming season of ABC's Private Practice (including news that Chris Lowell won't be appearing in all 22 episodes) and talks to Kate Walsh about Addison's backstory and what's coming up for the flame-haired doc this season. "There will be more Addison family members coming to the show this year," Walsh told E! Online. "I'm not sure who's going to come over from the East Coast, but I'm sure they're going to be good and WASP-y and awesome. When Grant Show came on last year as my brother, it was fun for me to see Addison in that lower-status position, as someone's daughter or little sister. It's really fun to play because she's such a fierce and agro personality at work, and then to see her smacked down at home is fun." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

NBC is getting back into the international co-production game with the acquisition of Canadian two-hour backdoor pilot The Mountain from Muse Entertainment. Project, written and directed by Doug Barr, will revolve around a woman who moves her family to the mountains, where they move into a cabin she inherited from her uncle, who may or may not be dead. (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has details about Heather Locklear's return to Melrose Place, where she will play Ella's boss at the PR firm where she works. He talks to Melrose Place star Katie Cassidy about Amanda Woodward and gets some additional hints at a workplace showdown between the two. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

MTV has announced that its new comedies Disaster Date and Popzilla will launch on Monday back-to-back in the 6 pm ET/PT timeslot. (Variety)

The Wrap's Joe Adalian is reporting that the CW has ordered eight episodes of half-hour docusoap Fly Girls, which will follow five flight attendants from Virgin America as they jet off to such locales as New York, Las Vegas, and South Beach looking for "good times, great parties, adventure and love." Project, from Collins Avenue, will be executive produced by Jeff Collins and Colin Nash and is expected to launch in early 2010. (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Shine International has acquired international distribution rights to FX's six-episode animated comedy Archer, which launches in January. (Variety)

Cookie Jar Entertainment has hired former UPN and Regency TV executive Maggie Murphy as SVP of development, where she will focus on developing content aimed at tweens and will report to Tom Mazza. Murphy was most recently president of Kiefer Sutherland's shingle Eastside Entertainment. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


perrypalla said…
Very cool that Bill Condon will direct the Showtime Laura Linney project. Sounds more like an indie feature than a TV show, which is a good thing!
Brad said…
The new character on Southland will be named Ray Suarez? Will he be a broadcast journalist? How about a Chicago alderman?
Not an especially creative name choice.
Beckacheck said…
Wasn't there already a Canadian show called "The Mountain" on the WB a few years ago? Starring, like, Oliver Hudson or something?
And wasn't that one also about returning to a family home in the Canadian mountains - a ski resort, maybe? I guess there are only so many ideas. But you'd think they'd get a little more creative with the name, at least.

I'm excited about "The C-Word," though.

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