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Channel Surfing: Julianne Moore in Demand, Whedon Talks "Dr. Horrible," Flockhart to Cut Back on "Brothers," "House" Spinoff Possible, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

Could Julianne Moore become the lead of the US adaptation of crime series Prime Suspect? If NBC gets their way, she very well could be. Moore is being pursued by NBC for the remake of the Helen Mirren-starring British series as well as ABC to star in another remake: this time Scoundrels, based on Kiwi series Outrageous Fortune. Moore has some competition for the Prime Suspect gig as Maria Bello has also been approached about starring in the remake as well as starring in Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama pilot Chase, which has offers out to Bello, Tea Leoni, and Christina Applegate. Other in-demand stars this pilot season: Matt Dillon, Jason Isaacs, Michael Chiklis, and Josh Lucas. (Hollywood Reporter)

E! Online's Megan Masters has an interview with Joss Whedon, in which the Dr. Horrible creator talks about the possibility of a sequel, directing FOX's Glee, Neil Patrick Harris, and more. "We very much want to do it," Whedon told Masters about Dr. Horrible 2. "We meet, we hammer out stuff, we have songs, we have ideas, we're really working it, but it's a slow-moving train. We're very passionate about it, and Neil's been great... He's always checking in before he takes a gig." As for whether Harris will turn up on Whedon's episode of Glee, nothing has been settled yet, according to Whedon. ("That's something that's trying to be worked out, but I haven't heard whether or not that's going to take place," he admitted. "I hope so, that'd be great, [but] I don't know anything about it. I'm just a director on hire for that.") (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Brothers & Sisters star Calista Flockhart will scale back her workload next season on the ABC drama series but will remain a series regular. News comes on the heels of an announcement that co-star Rob Lowe will depart the series at the end of the season. "A Brothers & Sisters insider confirms that Flockhart’s lighter workload was a contributing factor in Lowe’s decision to flee," writes Ausiello. "The West Wing alum already felt his role on the show had become diminished. The prospect of his TV spouse appearing in fewer episodes would’ve only increased his sense of marginalization." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

While the Michael Weston-centered House spinoff is definitely NOT happening, FOX president Kevin Reilly has indicated to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello that executive producers David Shore and Katie Jacobs have a "standing offer" to develop another House spin-off. "They have really high standards," Reilly told Ausiello. "These are not guys who commercially are going to chase something just to announce they have a spinoff and then figure out the show later on. They’re probably the most thorough producers... I’ve ever worked with." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

CBS has given a pilot order to hybrid comedy Livin' on a Prayer, from executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas (How I Met Your Mother) and writers Kourtney Kang and Joe Kelly. Project, from 20th Century Fox Television, will follow a Pittsburgh couple who are debating whether to take their relationship to the next level. (Variety)

Elsewhere at CBS, the network ordered three additional pilots: Chaos, about "rogue CIA operatives who combat bureaucratic gridlock, rampant incompetence and political infighting," from executive producer Brett Ratner, Tom Spezialy (Desperate Housewives), and 20th Century Fox Television; an untitled police procedural, from executive producers Ed Redlich (Without a Trace) and John Bellucci, CBS Television Studios and Sony Pictures Television, about a female NYPD detective who has total recall; and legal drama Defenders, from writers Niels Mueller and Kevin Kennedy and CBS Television Studios, about "two charismatic and fiery Las Vegas defense attorneys who go to the mat for their clients." (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC ordered a pilot for an untitled crime drama from writer Richard Hatem (Miracles) and director Gary Fleder, who will executive produce with Bert Salke and Chris Brancato. Project, from ABC Studios, revolves around a female detective who joins forces with a tarnished former cop to solve crimes "and untangle the conspiracy that sent him underground." (Hollywood Reporter)

Over at NBC, the Peacock has given a greenlight to an untitled Conan O'Brien-executive produced drama pilot (formerly known as Justice) about a ex-Supreme Court justice who starts his own legal practice. Project, from writer/executive producer John Eisendrath, hails from Universal Media Studios, where O'Brien's shingle Conaco has a year and a half left on its overall deal. (Variety)

Stan Lee will guest star as himself on the March 1st episode of CBS' The Big Bang Theory. According to TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck, Lee will "pop up in [the boys'] favorite comic book shop hangout." (TV Guide Magazine)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has an interview with NCIS: LA executive producer Shane Brennan about the departure of one of the series' lead actors, which will spark an overarching storyline that will play out through the season. "To my mind, particularly in the first season of a show, there is no main cast," Brennan told Ausiello. "The audience is meeting a whole bunch of characters and you get the opportunity to play around with them. I’m a great believer in playing with the audience’s expectations. It’s about making it as different and fresh as often as you can. And I certainly took that approach with this first season… I want them to know that nothing is sacred. And the cast is aware that this is the game I play. No one’s safe." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Not such good news for FX, sadly, as the Season Three launch of serialized drama Damages lured only 1.4 million viewers, down a staggering 17 percent from its second season premiere. However, once DVR numbers are factored in, the series is expected to receive a boost in the ratings and FX has been quick to point out in the past that many viewers often DVR and save multiple episodes to then watch in a marathon-style viewing pattern. Those viewers who watch more than seven days after the broadcast are not included in any ratings reports. (Variety)

Looks like the cast of MTV's Jersey Shore will be returning for a second season, after all. While MTV refused to comment on the contract negotiations, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that MTV has doubled its episodic offer to the stars of the reality series, offering $10,000 an episode. A deal is thought likely to materialize by the end of the week, a relief for the cabler which wishes to get a new season of Jersey Shore on the air this summer. (Hollywood Reporter)

Martha Stewart is moving her eponymous daytime talk show from first-run syndication to cable, echoing the steps that Oprah Winfrey herself is making over the next year. The Martha Stewart Show will move this fall to Hallmark Channel as part of a programming strategy overhaul that will see telepics shift to Hallmark Movie Channel and Hallmark become a destination for lifestyle shows, series acquisitions, and holiday-themed programming. The Martha Stewart Show will air at 10 am Monday through Friday and then be followed by a 90-minute block of other Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia programming. (Variety)

FOX has promoted Shana Waterman and James Oh to VPs of current programming and promoted David Sleven to director. (via press release)

Stay tuned.


Brighton said…
As a Prime Suspect fan I was not happy to learn that they were doing a US version. That said, Julianne Moore is amazing and, if they could get her as the lead, I might be persuaded to change my mind!
Brighton said…
I'm a fan of Prime Suspect and was annoyed to learn that they were trying to do a US version. That said, if they were able to cast Julianne Moore as the lead, I just might be persuaded to change my mind.

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