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Channel Surfing: NBC Renews "Parks and Recreation," John Barrowman to Wisteria Lane, "Being Human" Gets Third Season, "Chuck," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

Great news for fans of NBC's killer comedy Parks and Recreation: the Peacock has renewed the series for a third season, set to launch this fall. News of the renewal was broken by The Wrap's Josef Adalian, who reported that due to "certain production timing issues," an early renewal was required on the Universal Media Studios-produced comedy, which is executive produced by Greg Daniels and Mike Schur. (The Wrap)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Torchwood's John Barrowman is joining the cast of ABC's Desperate Housewives for at least five episodes this season. Barrowman, who is slated to appear beginning in April, will play "the Big Bad at the center of the Angie (Drea de Matteo) mystery," writes Ausiello. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

BBC Three has commissioned a third season of supernatural drama Being Human and announced that all three of the series' leads--Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, and Aidan Turner--will return for a third go-around. Currently airing its second season in the UK, Being Human's third season will see the flatmates move to new digs in Wales. "BBC Three continues to provide us with a great opportunity to make unusual, ambitious drama, and we are very excited to be able to take the new series of Being Human into fresh territory," said executive producer Rob Pursey in a statement. "With the new location in mind, we’ve already established some startling new storylines and characters. We’ll also aim to deliver plenty more exclusive online content in the gaps between series." (BBC)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Fred Willard and Swoosie Kurtz are set to guest star later this season on NBC's Chuck, where the duo will play "a Hart to Hart-esque spy couple now over-the-hill but still in the game." Look for Willard and Kurtz to appear towards the end of the season. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Digital Spy is reporting that Bill Nighy is set to guest star in the fifth season of Doctor Who. Nighy will play a Vincent Van Gogh exhibition curator in an upcoming episode written by Richard Curtis that is set in 19th century France and the present day. "It was a real coup to get Bill Nighy in Doctor Who, especially in Richard Curtis's amazing episode," an unnamed Who insider told Digital Spy. "Bill plays a van Gogh expert with some similar fashion choices to The Doctor himself." (Digital Spy)

ABC has given a pilot order to a single-camera comedy pilot How to Be a Better American, about a man who decides to become a better person and forces his family along for the ride. Pilot, from ABC Studios, is written and executive produced by Scrubs' Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley. ABC also gave a pilot order to an untitled multi-camera comedy from writer/executive producer Dana Gould, who will star as well. Pilot, from Warner Bros. Television and 3 Arts Entertainment, revolves around a high school guidance counselor who is "caught between his own father's old-school beliefs and his wife's progressive attitude toward parenting." (Variety)

Allison Janney (The West Wing) has been cast opposite Matthew Perry in ABC single-camera comedy pilot Mr. Sunshine, about a 40-year-old sports stadium manager suffering a mid-life crisis. Janney will play Crystal, his boss, on the Sony Pictures Television-produced pilot. Elsewhere, Janney has also been cast in Showtime's US adaptation of British drama series Shameless, where she is set to recur. (Hollywood Reporter)

MTV has officially renewed reality series Jersey Shore for a second season, following the successful renegotiation of contracts for the cast members of the New Jersey-set series. Production is set to get underway on the second season's twelve-episode order, which is set to air this summer on MTV, though the gang "could escape the cold Northeast and find themselves in a new destination," according to the network's press release. (Variety, though I reported the renewal earlier in the week on Twitter)

Elsewhere at MTV, the cabler has ordered twelve episodes of reality series If You Really Knew Me, described as a reality version of The Breakfast Club, in which five high school students are put through Challenge Day, "a one-day program designed to break down barriers between different social cliques." MTV also gave out a second season renewal to Teen Mom, with eight episodes set to air this summer. (Hollywood Reporter)

Another series order at ABC Family: the cabler announced that it had ordered ten episoes of dramedy Melissa & Joey, starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence. Series, which is expected to launch this summer, will follow a politician (Hart) who hires a manny (Lawrence) to help her deal with her family. Hart and Lawrence will executive produce with David Kendall, Bob Young, and Paula Hart. (Variety)

Pilot casting alert! Reno Wilson (Crank: High Voltage) and Katy Mixon (Eastbound & Down) have been cast in CBS comedy pilot Mike and Molly, from executive producer Chuck Lorre. Meanwhile, Megan Hilty (Eli Stone) has joined the cast of NBC's untitled Adam Carolla comedy pilot. (Hollywood Reporter)

Spike has ordered weekly half-hour latenight series Manformation, which will "showcase everyday guys who have had extraordinary experiences, such as the convenience store clerk who fought off a robbery attempt or a stock broker who left Wall Street for a hitch in the military." Series, from Thom Beers' Original Prods., will be produced by authors George "Maddox" Ouzounian and Dax Herrera. Additionally, the cabler ordered a third season of reality series 1000 Ways to Die. (Variety)

Syfy is set to air five telepics that will offer fresh takes on classic fairy tales, including Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood. The first, Beauty and the Beast, will air on February 27th. (Hollywood Reporter)

Daytime syndicated lifestyle series The Nate Berkus Show is on track to launch this fall, after it was cleared on NBC's top 10 O&O stations. Series is co-produced by Harpo Prods. and Sony Pictures Television. (Hollywood Reporter)

TLC has ordered a third season of reality series Cake Boss. 26 episodes are on tap for the third season, which will launch in May. (Variety)

OWN has acquired Sundance documentary Family Affair, about the unraveling of a family when a ten-year-old boy shoots his sister in the leg. Written by Chico David Colvard, the film marks the first selection of OWN's documentary film club, which will air once a month on the cabler, which is set to launch in January 2011. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Piper said…
Woo hoo for more Parks & Rec! Definitely one of the best comedies on TV right now!
AskRachel said…
Can't wait to see Fred Willard and Swoosie Kurtz on Chuck. Brilliant!
Page48 said…
How sad for John Barrowman.

Bill Nighy was great in "State of Play".
Unknown said…
Dear Melissa & Joey

Can you say "Who's the boss?"

I knew you could...

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