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Channel Surfing: James Van Der Beek Finds "Mercy," Elizabeth Banks on "30 Rock" Stint, ABC Nabs Detroit Crime Drama, "Doctor Who," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that James Van Der Beek has landed a recurring role on NBC medical drama Mercy, where he will play Liam West, the new head of the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. "Cocky, womanizing, and manipulative, Dr. West will frequently clash with Sands, Harris, and the nurses," writes Ausiello. "But beneath the alpha-male swagger lies a brilliant MD whose primary goal is to make Mercy Hospital money. The new doc is also hiding a deep, dark secret." Should Van Der Beek's character mesh well with the series, it's thought to be possible that he could be bumped to series regular. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Mssr. Ausiello also chats with Elizabeth Banks about her upcoming four-episode stint on NBC's 30 Rock, which kicks off in February. "She’s basically Sean Hannity in a skirt," Banks tells Ausiello about her character, a financial expert who falls for Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) when he is a guest on her CNBC show. "What’s great about her relationship with Jack is they’re equals. She’s not some [pretty] young thing that he has a fling with. She really challenges him." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Look for Doctor Who to potentially get an update of its iconic opening theme, according to the series' composer Murray Gold. Gold also indicated that former Doctor Who writers Mark Gatiss and Gareth Roberts have written scripts for Season Five of Doctor Who, which features Matt Smith taking on the mantle of the Doctor and Steven Moffat stepping in as the new head writer. (via Digital Spy)

ABC has given a pilot order to cop drama 187 Detroit from ABC Studios and Mandeville. Project, from writer/executive producer Jason Richman (Swing Vote) and executive producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, follow Detroit police officers on the homicide beat, as seen through the lens of a documentary film crew. Project is said to mix comedy and drama. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

In other pilot news, NBC has ordered a pilot for an untitled Adam Carolla comedy vehicle in which he'll play a contractor and father whose wife abruptly leaves him. Project, from Universal Media Studios, Jackhole Industries, and BermanBraun, is written by Kevin Hench, who will executive produce with Carolla, Jon Pollack, Jimmy Kimmel, Daniel Kellison, James Dixon, Gail Berman, and Lloyd Braun. [Editor: if you think that the above logline sounds exactly like that of CBS' Gary Unmarried, you're not the only one.] (Variety)

Pablo Schreiber (The Wire) has been cast as a series regular on FX drama Lights Out. He'll play the brother of former boxer Patrick "Lights" Leary (Holt McCallany) and his boxing manager; Schreiber replaces Elias Koteas, who appeared in the original pilot episode. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV One has acquired rights to four-episode sitcom Love That Girl, from writer Bentley Kyle Evans (Martin) and executive producer Martin Lawrence. Project, which stars Tatyana Ali (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air), Phil Morris, Alphonso McAuley, and Kendyl Joi, will air over three nights beginning January 19th. (Variety)

NBC yesterday announced the cast for the latest installment of Celebrity Apprentice, which will see Darryl Strawberry, Cyndi Lauper, Bret Michaels, Sharon Osbourne, Michael Johnson, Holly Robinson Peete, Goldberg, Carol Leifer, Sinbad, Summer Sanders, Rod Blagojevich, Maria Kanellis, Curtis Stone, and Selita Ebanks compete for charity. Season Three is set to launch on March 14th. (via press release)

MTV has scheduled 90-minute documentary Summit on the Summit, about a group of actors and activists--among them Jessica Biel and Emile Hirsch--who scale Mount Kilimanjaro in order to raise awareness of the clean water crisis--on March 14th at 9 pm ET/PT. (Variety)

Grant Mansfield has taken over as CEO of RDF USA, replacing Chris Coelen, who left the reality shingle last month. Mansfield, who currently serves as director of factual, entertainment, and comedy for RDF USA's parent company RDF Media in the UK, will report to David Frank. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Sully said…
Elizabeth Banks was great on Modern Family and I look forward to seeing her take on Jack Donaghy!

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