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Channel Surfing: Maria Bello Finds "Emergency Sex" for HBO, NBC Gets "The Cape" and "Outsourced," Leno on Oprah, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

Maria Bello, Simon Beaufoy, and Russell Crowe have teamed up to develop HBO drama project Emergency Sex, based on Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson's nonfiction book "Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story From Hell on Earth," about "the larger-than-life exploits of expatriate nongovernment-organization workers who find their sanity tested in the face of atrocities, loneliness and primal desires." Bello (A History of Violence) will star in the project, which is being adapted by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), who will executive produce with Bellow, Russell Crowe, and John Carrabino. (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC has handed out pilot orders to two projects, both hailing from Universal Media Studios. One-hour drama The Cape, from writer Thomas Wheeler (Empire) and BermanBraun, revolves around an ex-cop in Los Angeles who is framed and sets out to become a masked vigilante in order to clear his name and reunite with his son. NBC also picked up single-camera comedy Outsourced, based on the indie film about about a demoted middle manager who is sent to India to manage a call center. Robert Borden (The Drew Carey Show) will write the pilot script and Ken Kwapis (The Office) is still attached to direct and executive produce alongside Tom Gorai and David Skinner. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has a fantastic feature on Jay Leno's appearance yesterday on The Oprah Winfrey Show. "How can you do the right thing and just have it go so wrong? 'Maybe I'm not doing the right thing,' I would think," Leno told Winfrey. "Maybe I'm doing something wrong. This many people are angry and upset over a television show. ...My show got canceled. They weren't happy with the other guy's show. They said, 'We want you to go back,' and I said, 'OK.' And this seemed to make a lot of people really upset. And I go, 'Well, who wouldn't take that job though? Who wouldn't do that?'" (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Score yet another job for Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother). The Wrap's Josef Adalian is reporting that Harris will travel to London later this year to tape a pilot for a US adaptation of British game show The Cube for CBS. Once executives view the pilot, CBS will decide whether to order the project to series. News comes after FOX abandoned its plans to adapt the unscripted format for US broadcast audiences in December. (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Leonard Roberts (Heroes) has been cast in the two-part episode of ABC's Castle that will feature Desperate Housewives' Dana Delany. Roberts will play Delany's federal agent partner on the two-parter, the first half of which is scheduled to air March 21st on a special night. In other Castle-related news, ABC ordered two additional episodes of the crime procedural, bumping its episodic total this season to 24 installments. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

FX has ordered a pilot presentation for comedy Sweat Shop, about a pair of step-siblings who run a gym in a Scottsdale, Arizona strip mall. Project, from creator/star Pell James, director Jonas Pate, and fellow executive producers Thomas Moffett and Braxton Pope, hails from FX Prods. and Lionsgate Television. (Variety)

Pilot casting alert!Tony Hale (Chuck) Matt Letscher (Eli Stone) will star opposite Danny Wallace in ABC hybrid comedy pilot Awkward Situations for Men, about an Englishman who moves to the US with his wife and discovers that his "everyday behavior clashes with American values and gets him into trouble." Hale will play Will, Danny's first American friend, while Letscher will play the boss at a Jamba Juice-type eatery. Elsewhere, John Michael Hill has landed a role on ABC drama pilot 187 Detroit, where he'll play a rookie homicide cop whose wife is expecting a child. British actor Matt Ryan (The Tudors) is said to be in talks about joining the cast of CBS' untitled Criminal Minds spinoff. (Hollywood Reporter)

In other casting news, many actors of cancelled or on-the-bubble series are said to be in particular demand this pilot season. The cast of Ugly Betty--including Eric Mabius, Becki Newton, Vanessa Williams, Michael Urie, and Ana Ortiz--have been inundated with pilot offers. Additionally, the casts of Lost, Nip/Tuck, Better Off Ted, Scrubs, Dollhouse, 24, and Three Rivers are said to be in demand. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that an upcoming episode of ABC comedy Modern Family will focus on the real-life fears of the child actors that portray the extended Pritchett clan's kids. (TV Guide Magazine)

Variety's Stuart Levine is reporting that NBC will offer a two-hour episode of The Biggest Loser on Tuesday which will go head-to-head with the sixth season premiere of ABC's Lost. "Move pits one of NBC's highest-rated shows against a Lost premiere that has been anticipated for months," writes Levine. "By having the second half of Biggest Loser from 10-11 p.m., net is extending an olive branch to the affiliates who have taken a beating since The Jay Leno Show has been on the air and were instrumental in having scripted programming return at 10 o'clock." (Variety)

TVGuide.com's Natalie Abrams talks to Smallville's Justin Hartley about a potential relationship between his Oliver and Allison Mack's Chloe. "Yeah, I think that's in the works," said Hartley about a Oliver-Chloe romance. "I don't know how long it will last or how far they're going to go with it because we haven't shot that much yet, but that's what's going on right now." But don't count out Cassidy Freeman's Tess, either. "She threw a knife at me the other day, so yeah, we're going to be working together," said Hartley. "I think I pissed her off again, so that's always fun. I don't know if they're going to be involved anymore. I would say no, but then at the same time who knows what Oliver's going to do? He's a dirty bird." (TVGuide.com)

SPOILER!Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has some details about what the series finale of ABC's Ugly Betty, slated to air in May, will contain. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

VH1 has ordered several series that represent an expansion of their brand. Net ordered eight episodes of reality makeover series Transform Me, in which four transgender women help a woman remake herself from her clothes to her outlook on life. Series, from Left/Right Inc., will launch on March 15th. VH1 ordered seven episodes of Famous Crime Scenes, which will delve into the well-publicized deaths of celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Selena beginning February 12th. The cabler also ordered a week-long strip of primetime specials entitled Undateable, which will explore what guys shouldn't do when dating, from the woman's perspective. It's set to air the week of April 19th. Finally, the cabler acquired MTV Canada reality series Peak Season: Vancouver, following the lives of Whistler ski resort bunnies and workers, which it will debut on February 14th. (Variety)

TBS has given a cast-contingent pilot order to one-hour comedy Glory Daze, about the the 1980s pledges at a Wisconsin college fraternity. Project, from executive producer Walt Becker (Wild Hogs), is written by Becker and Michael LeSieur (You, Me and Dupree); Becker is also attached to direct, should the project officially go ahead to pilot. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.

Comments

The CineManiac said…
I also noticed that Fox had rearranged their schedule next Tuesday so that Human Target airs first with American Idol up against the first new hour of Lost.
Brodie said…
"Additionally, the casts of Lost, Nip/Tuck, Better Off Ted, Scrubs, Dollhouse, 24, and Three Rivers are said to be in demand."

Does that mean that Better Off Ted is officially canceled? So sad. I loved that show and they didn't even give it a chance to succeed.
Jace Lacob said…
Brodie,

Any of those offers for the Ted cast would be in second position, dependent on whether Ted is (miraculously) renewed for another season.

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