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Channel Surfing: CBS Renews "Good Wife" and "NCIS: LA," "Game of Thrones" Likely a Go, "Damages" Snares Uncle Junior, "Treme," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

CBS has given second season renewals to freshman dramas The Good Wife and NCIS: Los Angeles. "Two great new series, fronted by talented stars on one big night of television," said Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment in a statement. "We're proud of these shows and what they've accomplished on Tuesday night." The renewal news comes on the heels of pickups for fellow froshers Glee at FOX and Modern Family, The Middle, and Cougar Town at ABC. (via press release)

While still in the pilot stage, buzz continues to build for HBO's fantasy project Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's series of novels. HBO programming czar Michael Lombardo indicated at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour yesterday that Game looks very likely to get a pickup and that the dailies look "fantastic." "I would be surprised if it doesn't (get a green light)," Lombardo said following HBO's session. "It has everything going for it." [Editor: fingers crossed.] If ordered, the series could be on the air as early as March or April 2011. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that former Sopranos star Dominic Chianese has signed on to FX's legal drama Damages in a multiple-episode story arc this season. Chianese is set to play "a shady associate of the Tobin family, the clan at the center of Patty’s new case" and will make his first appearance in the third season's sixth episode. In other Damages casting news, Craig Bierko (Boston Legal) has also joined for a multiple-episode arc, where he will play Terry Brooke, described as "a character with ties to Frobisher (Ted Danson)." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

HBO has set a launch date for David Simon (The Wire) and Eric Overmyer's New Orleans drama series Treme, which will bow on April 11th. "This is a city essential in the American psyche," said Simon at yesterday's Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. "It's coming back on its own terms as best as it can." Treme stars Wendell Pierce, Clarke Peters, Khandi Alexander, Kim Dickens, Melissa Leo, John Goodman, and Steve Zahn and is set three months after Hurricane Katrina. (Variety)

While confirmation of a Conan exit agreement might come as early as today, The Wrap's Josef Adalian reports that his likely agreement may include a clause allowing him to begin a talk show at a rival network as early as this fall. "One scenario being floated would have O'Brien able to launch a new show as early as the fall," writes Adalian, "most likely late August or September -- a seven-month cooling-off period." (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

ABC has given a pilot order to an untitled multi-camera romantic comedy from writer Shana Goldberg-Meehan (Friends). Project, from Warner Bros. Television, revolves around two sisters, one of whom is in a long-term relationship and one who must marry her boyfriend when she gets pregnant. (Variety)

The Wrap's Josef Adalian is reporting that last night's Jamba Juice shout-out on NBC's 30 Rock wasn't a case of product placement. "Whenever 30 Rock has a product, people seem to think it’s automatically a deal, but tonight is a good example of the other way," executive producer David Miner told Adalian. "I'm sure our writers felt that to use a fake name in this context would have been distracting and ultimately just less funny." (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)'s Natalie Abrams spoke to Grey's Anatomy star Kevin McKidd about last night's shocking Cristina-Teddy-Owen plot twist on Grey's. (

Science Channel has unveiled six-part documentary Rebuilding Ground Zero, which will air in 2011. Project, from DreamWorks Television, is executive produced by Steven Spielberg and created by architect Danny Foster and director Jonathan Hock. It will focus on the reconstruction of the former World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. "Doc, shot in 3D and high def, will examine the partnership of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, politicians and various construction crews and engineers in putting the pieces together for a project of such a large magnitude," writes Variety's Stuart Levine. (Variety)

TNT has given dramedy Men of a Certain Age a second season renewal, with ten episodes on tap. (Hollywood Reporter)

BBC One has commissioned eight episodes of futuristic space drama Outcasts. From creator Ben Richards (Spooks) and Kudos Film & TV, Outcasts is follows the lives of a group of people who are survivors from Earth that are looking to start anew on another home planet. "Set in 2040, Outcasts begins on the day the last known transporter from Earth arrives, prompting great excitement on the new planet: Who is on board? Friends and loved ones? Important supplies and news from Earth? But also many questions: Will the new people bring the problems of Earth with them? Will the mistakes that destroyed Earth be repeated? Will the arrival of a new, would-be leader, rock the fragile and precarious equilibrium of our fresh, unified and courageous new world?" (BBC)

Los Angeles Times' Matea Gold has a fantastic interview with Golden Globe-nominated Nurse Jackie star Edie Falco. "I tried comedy," Falco told Gold, referring to her guest turns on 30 Rock and Will & Grace. "I have never been further out of my comfort zone. I fall to the ground in reverence to the people who do that stuff, because I can't. I couldn't find the muscles." (Los Angeles Times)

HBO has ordered an untitled documentary from filmmaker Spike Lee that will serve as a follow-up to the 2006 Emmy-winning documentary When the Levees Broke, which will debut this summer, the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. (Hollywood Reporter)

Discovery and Hasbro have announced the name for their joint-venture children's network: the Hub. "A hub is a place where great things come together," said president/CEO Margaret Loesch at yesterday's Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour of the joint venture cable channel, set to launch this fall. (Variety)

IFC's culinary-themed block of programming--which includes episodes of Dinner With the Band and new series Food Party--will air on Tuesday nights beginning April 27th at 10 pm ET/PT. (Variety)

Former New Line Cinema executive Kent Alterman is heading back to Comedy Central, where he will oversee the cabler's original programming and production. Alterman will be based in Los Angeles but will oversee the development teams on both coasts and will report to Michele Ganeless. (Hollywood Reporter)

E! has ordered eight episodes of docusoap Holly's World, which will follow Girls Next Door star Holly Madison as she heads to Las Vegas. Series, from Prometheus Entertainment, Alta Loma Entertainment, and Fox Television Studios, is expected to launch this summer. (Hollywood Reporter)

CKX has signed a deal with American Idol creator Simon Fuller under which he will remain on board Idol as executive producer (as well as So You Think You Can Dance and upcoming online series If I Can Dream), while also launching an production company and consulting for 19 Entertainment parent company CKX. (Variety)

Brooke Burke will host Season Three of TV Land's reality competition series She's Got the Look. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


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