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Channel Surfing: Future of "Chuck" Hinges on "Trauma," "Southland" May Land at TNT, FOX Committed to Airing All 13 Episodes of "Dollhouse," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

Following last week's Chuck-related rumor of an October launch, The Wrap's Josef Adalian is reporting that NBC's plans for action-comedy series Chuck will hinge on last night's ratings performance for medical drama Trauma, which has been tanking since its launch and is said to be on cancellation watch. Adalian cites unnamed NBC insiders who say that there's a "very small chance" that Chuck could return as early as the end of the month but goes on to say that there's one scenario in discussion at the Peacock that has Chuck returning to its Monday nights at 8 pm timeslot, with Heroes shifting back to 9 pm, should Trauma need to be pulled from the lineup. "If Trauma goes down, however, it's very likely Chuck will be back before year's end. And if Trauma really tanks, Ausiello's October surprise scenario could well transpire," writes Adalian. "But NBC insiders know rushing Chuck on too quickly doesn't make sense, either. The network needs time to mount a marketing and PR campaign to let viewers know the show is back on the air, and a late October premiere would make that all but impossible. More likely is an early to mid-November premiere. And a post-Olympics bow, as originally planned, is still under discussion as well." (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

As I predicted last week, Warner Bros. Television is said to be in talks with cabler TNT about moving their axed NBC drama series Southland to the cable network. "We continually look at all programming opportunities that fit our portfolio of brands," said TNT in a statement. James Hibberd is quick to point out that it's still unknown, if TNT picks up the series, whether they would order additional episodes or simply air the six installments that have already been produced. (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX executives have indicated that they are committed to airing all thirteen ordered episodes of Joss Whedon-created drama series Dollhouse this season. "We're going to run all the episodes," FOX scheduling chief Preston Beckman told Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd. "We're not saying we're happy with those numbers, or accept them, but we don't have to overreact. During [November] sweeps we might have to jack up the numbers a little [with other programming], but we plan on completing the order for this show." The network hasn't however decided whether or not to order additional episodes or renew the series for a third season, a choice they'll make after Dollhouse wraps its current run. Viewers, meanwhile, can look for some closure, with Whedon writing the thirteenth episode with that express purpose. "We'll definitely have closure, but will leave some doors open," Whedon told Hibberd. "When we got our first numbers, which were bad, the first thing [Fox president of entertainment] Kevin Reilly said was, 'You'll have all 13,' which was great. They're not going to pull the rug out from under us." (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

ABC has given a full season pickup to sci-fi drama series FlashForward, ordering twelve additional episodes to bring this season's total to 25 installments. (Televisionary)

A&E has given a pilot order to cop drama The Quickening, about a female LAPD detective who suffers from bipolar disorder. Said cop will be played by Surrogates star Radha Mitchell. Project, from Fox Television Studios, is written and executive produced by Jennifer Salt (Nip/Tuck). (Variety)

NBC has given a pilot order with penalty to an untitled multi-camera comedy from writer/executive producer Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!). The project, from Universal Media Studios, will star Lennon, with Garant performing in a supporting role, and will be executive produced by Peter Principato and Paul Young. Details of the concept are being kept firmly under wraps. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Rachael Harris (In the Motherhood) has been cast in a "potentially recurring role" on ABC comedy Cougar Town, where she will play Shanna, the "judgmental nemesis" of Courteney Cox's Jules. Additionally, Alan Ruck (Drive) will recur as well as Frank, Shanna's husband. "Look for Frank to develop a bit of a crush on Cox’s character," writes Ausiello, "further inflaming the Jules-Shanna rivalry." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Former Friends star Matthew Perry will co-write, star, and executive produce an untitled single-camera comedy pilot about a "self-involved manager of a second-rate sports arena who begins to re-evaluate his life on his 40th birthday." Project, which hails from Sony Pictures Television, will be co-written with Alex Barnow and Mark Firek, who will executive produce with Thomas Schlamme and Jamie Tarses. Project is being pitched to networks this week. (Hollywood Reporter)

Glee will wrap up the first half of its season on Wednesday, December 9th. It timeslot will be filled by new action series Human Target in January and Glee is expected to return for its back nine sometime in the spring. (Futon Critic)

In other Glee-related news, the stars of the FOX musical dramedy will NOT be performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will air on NBC, after the Peacock rescinded their invitation after weeks of contract negotiation. "No contract had been signed; however, according to insiders on set, wardrobe and choreography was in the works and the cast had been informed they'd be performing," writes E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos. "According to a source at NBC, Macy's made the offer to the Glee cast without consulting NBC first. Fox network and studio reps had no comment. Neither did reps at NBC." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Jake Kasdan (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) will direct the pilot for FOX drama Worthy, about an Arizona politician who finds himself being blackmailed by a mob boss after a hit-and-run accident. Project, from 20th Century Fox Television, is written by Davey Holmes and executive produced by Holmes and Gavin Polone. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS is slating a CSI mega-crossover for November sweeps, during which time Lauren Fishburne's Dr. Raymond Langston will appear in all three series in the CSI franchise, beginning November 9th with CSI: Miami and wrapping up in November 12th on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Carrie Underwood will host a FOX variety special, currently entitled Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special, on December 7th. The special, written by Carol Leifer, Jeffrey Richman, and Seth Morris, will feature sketches, classic holiday songs, and tracks from Underwood's upcoming album. Joining her on stage: Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley, and David Cook. (Hollywood Reporter)

Epix, the pay cable joint venture between Lionsgate, Viacom, and MGM, has announced that it will launch on October 30th with the pay television premiere of Iron Man, the world premiere of Madonna concert special Sticky and Sweet: Live From Buenos Aires, and comedy special Eddie Izzard: Live From Wembley. (Variety)

Comedy Central development chief Lauren Corrao will step down from her post to segue back into a producer role once her contract ends in December. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

Stay tuned.


Razorback said…
There is a reason #WeHeartChuck trended to first place today and it is not because Norris or Bass are dreamy.

Professor Beej said…
That's excellent news for those of us working to try and show Fox how much Dollhouse means to us. I worry about the narrative not being completed or tied up by the end of S2, but you take what you can get, I suppose.

I'm very happy they're committed to not overreacting. It's almost like they are learning to listen to the people who watch their network as opposed to seeing completely through callous, corporate eyes all the time.
Anonymous said…
Chuck fans are dismayed at the way Southland was cancelled so suddenly, but happy to see the opening. 10 months is a very long time to wait. Leno's show takes up so much air.

We also wonder why we haven't seen Zac or Yvonne on Leno or Conan.

Chuck fans are no cult; There's too many for that. We are engaged, however (Proof available!). And unlike most shows we do support the sponsors.
Tempest said…
Much happy news here! The Southland news is both encouraging and slightly depressing. I'm happy for the fans of the show; I just wish something similar had been done for both Life and The Unusuals.
Unknown said…
I'm very glad to see the networks acknowledging that their ratings are worse when viewers don't know if a show will air long enough for some sort of closure. Now I've got some reason to continue watching Dollhouse and Flash Forward.
Anonymous said…
The world demands Chuck Bartowski!

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