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Channel Surfing: ABC Shaves Back Episodic Orders, Former "Mistresses" Star Lands "Fringe" Role, Kristin Bauer Promoted on "True Blood," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

ABC has reduced the episodic orders on several series, with both freshman dramas V and FlashForward getting cut down by an episode (to 12 and 24 total, respectively). V, which returns March 30th, will therefore have eight remaining episodes to air, while FlashForward will have 14 new installments when it returns on March 4th. Elsewhere at the network, ABC will launch seven episodes of legal dramedy The Deep End and comedy Romantically Challenged and eight hours of mystery series Happy Town. (Futon Critic)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Orla Brady (Mistresses) has landed a key role on FOX's Fringe, where she will play the wife of Walter Bishop (John Noble) and mother of Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), described in casting breakdowns as "strong, smart, and likeable." Brady will appear in early 2010. [Editor: given Brady's age, it's highly probable that she'll be appearing in flashbacks rather than in the present-day.] (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

More Pam! Kristin Bauer, who plays Eric's vampiric second-in-command Pam on HBO's True Blood, has been bumped to series regular for the drama series' third season. "Ball recently hinted that may have a meaty story line in store for Pam for Season Three," writes Hollywood Reporter's Nellie Andreeva, "when she may get into a lesbian relationship." (Hollywood Reporter)

The axe has fallen on CBS' longtime daytime soap As the World Turns, which has aired for 54 years. CBS has confirmed that that the soap will end its run next September, though Proctor and Gamble's TeleNext Media, the series' producers, have said that they are looking to find a new home for As the World Turns and are looking at innovative format deals in order to do so. (Hollywood Reporter)

Color me surprised: TNT has opted to renew Jerry Bruckheimer-produced crime drama Dark Blue for a second season. The cabler has ordered ten episodes, which will likely air next summer. (Variety)

UK satellite network Sky1 have commissioned eight hour-long episodes of travel series Karl Pilkington's Seven Wonders of the World, from executive producers Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, in which sidekick Karl Pilkington will travel to such notable wonders as the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, and the Great Pyramids. "It’s apt that the home of The Simpsons has made room for another bald-headed buffoon," said Gervais and Merchant in a statement. "The terrifying thing is this one’s real." (Broadcast)

TLC has announced that it will air hourlong special Brace for Impact, about Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger's heroic landing of a US Airways flight in the Hudson River, on January 10th. Special, executive produced by Daniel Birman, will be narrated by Harrison Ford. (Variety)

Reality producer Rob Lee (Millionaire Matchmaker) has signed a production deal with FremantleMedia North America, under which the distributor will get a first look at anything produced by Lee via his Bayonne Entertainment shingle. (Variety)

Richard Life has been promoted to head of acquisitions and co-productions at ITV Studios Global Entertainment; he will replace Emmanuelle Namiech, who is quitting the company after more than ten years at the distributor. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Harper said…
Pam rocks! I can't wait to see more of her on the next season of True Blood!

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