Skip to main content

Channel Surfing: TNT Orders Three Series, Rob Lowe to Leave "Brothers & Sisters," Conan Courted by Cable, "Questor," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

TNT yesterday gave series orders to all three of its drama pilots: Rizzoli & Isles, the George Clooney-executive produced Delta Blues, and an untitled Steven Spielberg-executive produced alien invasion drama. Ten episodes are on tap for all three, with Delta Blues--starring Jason Lee (My Name is Earl)--and Rizzoli & Isles--starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander and based on Tess Gettitsen's novels--set to launch later this year. Meanwhile, the untitled Spielberg project, which stars Noah Wyle (ER, The Librarian) and is written by Robert Rodat, will launch in 2011. (Hollywood Reporter)

Confirmed: Rob Lowe has asked ABC to release him from his contract on drama series Brothers & Sisters, reportedly because he felt he was being underused by the producers. ABC has complied with his request and Lowe will depart the series at the end of the season. "We would like to keep Rob at ABC," said ABC in a statement, "we feel he should be anchoring his own franchise. We are in talks now." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files, E! Online's Watch with Kristin, Deadline Hollywood)

According to The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd, Conan O'Brien is currently being wooed by a number of networks besides FOX, including FX, USA, TNT, Comedy Central, HBO, and Showtime. "With his quirky, offbeat sensibility, O'Brien could be well suited for the cable world, but let's face it: Should a performer who's now proven he can draw 2.0 ratings really be content with a cable-sized audience?" writes Hibberd. "Not that anybody would blame O'Brien for wanting to escape the bare-knuckle broadcast late-night wars." (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

[Editor: Meanwhile, Hibberd also has an interview with NBC Universal TV entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin about the late-night situation at NBC, which you can read here.]

Hmmm, Tim Minear AND a Roddenberry project? Rod Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, has partnered with Imagine Television to develop a series based on his father's 1974 backdoor pilot The Questor Tapes, about an android whose missing memories propel him on a quest to discover his creator and his purpose. Former Dollhouse producer Tim Minear is said to be in discussions to join the project as a producer. "My father always felt that Questor was the one that got away," Roddenberry told the Hollywood Reporter. "He believed that the show had the potential to be bigger than Star Trek." (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC has given pilot orders to two drama projects: True Blue--from creators Jon Feldman, Chris Brancato, and Bert Salke and ABC Studios--about a group of homicide detectives in San Francisco who reunite in order to solve the murder of one of their friends; and Matadors--from writer/executive producer Jack Orman and Sony Pictures Television--about two rival families in Chicago, one of which works in the DA's office while the other runs a major law firm. (Variety)

UK satellite network Sky1 has announced Lost Reduced, a live Lost event on Thursday, January 28th at 7:30 pm GMT in Covent Garden, in which members of The Reduced Shakespeare Company will boil down the last five seasons of Lost into a ten-minute performance. (via Digital Spy)

BBC Three has unveiled three new drama pilot for 2010, including Dappers, Stanley Park, and Pulse. I'm especially intrigued by the latter project, a medical-horror drama from creator Paul Cornell (Doctor Who) and starring Claire Foy (Little Dorrit). Here's the description: "St Timothy's is one of the UK's top teaching hospitals, home to some of the country's most promising trainee doctors. But beneath its veneer of medical normality lies a secret network of dangerous experiments pushing back the boundaries of science with potentially horrifying consequences in this one-off 60-minute medical horror drama written by Paul Cornell. Hannah Carter's mother was a consultant at the hospital, but died suddenly a year ago. Grief left Hannah (Claire Foy) teetering on the edge, but following a year off, she's back to resume her training. But Hannah remains fragile, so when she starts glimpsing peculiar events in the hospital and unsettling behaviour from her ex-boyfriend and star surgeon Nick (Stephen Campbell Moore), she's unsure what to believe. Ignoring the pleas of those around her, Hannah puts her sanity on the line to uncover the truth about the hospital." (BBC)

Elsewhere in UK television, BBC has announced the cast for its upcoming season of daytime drama anthology series Moving On, which will include John Simm (Doctor Who, Life On Mars), Corin Redgrave (Turn Of The Screw, Four Weddings And A Funeral), Anna Massey (Hotel du Lac, Tess Of The D'Urbervilles), Robert Glenister (Hustle, Spooks), Gerard Kearns (Shameless, Mark Of Cain), Roy Marsden (The Green Green Grass, Adam Dalgleish in PD James adaptations) and Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting, Snatch). Meanwhile, actor Dominic West (The Wire) is set to direct one of the episodes. (BBC)

Showtime has acquired Robert Townsend-directed documentary Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy and will air the doc--which features interviews with Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Keenen Invory Wayans, and others--on February 4th. (Variety)

Zodiak Entertainment is reportedly in talks to purchase RDF Media Group. If a deal closes, the move "would create the third largest TV production company in the world." (Broadcast)

In a surprise twist UKTV head David Abraham has been named CEO of Channel 4, rather than Jane Root, who was thought to be the most likely candidate for the appointment. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Prez said…
The Questor Tapes could be an interesting project but "bigger than Star Trek?" Hmmm...I don't know about that.
I have three words for Rob Lowe: THE LION'S DEN.

There will never be another role for him as great as Samuel Norman Seaborn, and he wrecked that because of his ego. I don't care about Brothers and Sisters, but I have come to the conclusion that Rob Lowe is kind of an idiot.

Popular posts from this blog

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous seas

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Me Want Food: Jenna Gets Famously Fat on "30 Rock"

I don't know about you, but I've already ordered my "Me Want Food" t-shirt from the NBC store. Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Jack Gets in the Game") was, in my opinion, one of the strongest of the series and has officially pushed the zany comedy into the realm of Arrested Development : deftly plotted and intricately layered, with so many jokes piled atop of jokes that it requires several viewings in order to catch them all. While at its heart, 30 Rock is a workplace comedy, it's left that narrow pigeonhole behind to become a witty example of how intelligent and taut humor can work (and flourish) on television... and exist in harmony with hilarious throwaways like the Thriller -inspired Werewolf Bar Mitzvah music video that would have done the AD crew proud. I want Will Arnett to appear on this series whenever possible. His gay exec Devin is hilarious, manipulative, and has an inexplicable weakness for Kenneth the Page, but he claims to have