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Channel Surfing: Heigl Talks "Grey's" Departure, Carbonell On Eternal Life and "Lost" Love, Balfour Finds "Haven" at Syfy, "Warehouse 13," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

Ahead of its publication, Entertainment Weekly has released some excerpts from Michael Ausiello's in-print Q&A with former Grey's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl, in which she dishes about why she left the ABC medical drama, Emmygate, Isiahgate, and, well, a heap of controversies. "Yeah, I think so," said Heigl when asked if the parting was amicable. "I think it was a little bit shocking for everybody, and a little bit like, 'Can’t we find a way to work it out?' And I really wanted to, but at the same time I just felt like I couldn’t sacrifice my relationship with my child. Naleigh and I will always be a little bit complicated. I really had to work on bonding with her because I was obsessed with her, but she could really do without me. [Laughs] It was really hard because she loved Josh so much but she just kind of tolerated me. And I want this child to know that she will forever have me in her corner and I don’t want to disappoint her. [Fighting back tears] And even though I know I’m disappointing the fans, and I know I’m disappointing the writers and my fellow cast members and the crew, I just had to make a choice. I hope I made the right one. It sucks. You wish you could have it all exactly the way you want it. But that’s not life. I had to try to find the courage to move on. And I am sad. And I’m scared. But I felt it was the right thing to do; we just didn’t quite know how to do it appropriately, gracefully, and respectfully to the audience. And I think we all felt it wasn’t respectful to the audience to bring [Izzie] back again and then have her [leave] again. We did it twice this season. It starts to feel a little manipulative." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Los Angeles Times' Maria Elena Fernandez has a fantastic interview with Lost star Nestor Carbonell about this week's Richard Alpert-centric episode of Lost, in which we learned about Richard's backstory and his tortured past. "He knows them pretty intimately," said Carbonell about Richard's relationship with Jacob and the Man in Black. "It’s an interesting dichotomy because on the one hand he has a sense of history of the island and the forces at play in the island but he’s been dumbfounded by other elements he wasn’t aware of -- like time travel and, obviously, he didn’t know about the loophole with the Smoke Monster becoming Locke. He was really blown away by that. So much of what is happening to him and around him is new to him. This season, his world has been rocked by Jacob’s death and everything he’s lived for in the last 100 years ago or so has been taken away from him or turned down upside down for him. He attempted suicide. He’s gone a little crazy. But we’ll see how he settles down now that he has a mission from his wife." (Los Angeles Times' Show Tracker)

The Wrap's Josef Adalian is reporting that Eric Balfour (24) Lucas Bryant (Queer as Folk) have been cast in Syfy's upcoming supernatural drama series Haven (based on a novella by Stephen King). Balfour will play Duke Crocker, described as a "charming yet mysterious jack of all trades" whose "mellow demeanor may conceal a much darker agenda." Bryant will play Nathan Wuornos, a local cop who becomes the partner to Emily Rose's FBI Agent Audrey Parker. Meanwhile, Gina Torres (Firefly) will guest star on Season Two of the cabler's drama series Warehouse 13, where she will play a new love interest for Eddie McClintock's Pete. [Editor: Warehouse 13 seems to be on a bit of a Firefly tear of late: Torres will join fellow former Browncoats Jewel Staite and Sean Maher this season.] (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Carrie Fisher (30 Rock) will star opposite Debra Messing and Patrick Fugit in ABC single-camera comedy pilot Wright vs. Wrong, which revolves around Messing's Evelyn Wright, a political pundit whose life is decidedly less together than it appears on television. (Hollywood Reporter)

HBO has announced a premiere date for its telepic The Special Relationship, which recounts the alliance between President Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid) and Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen): May 29th. Project, written by Peter Morgan (The Queen) and directed by Richard Loncraine, also stars Hope Davis. (Variety)

CBS has ordered an undisclosed number of episodes for a US format of UK reality dance competition series Got to Dance, which will be produced by Reveille. Project--executive produced by Elisabeth Murdoch, Howard T. Owens, Mark Koops, and Robin Ashbrook--features dancers of all ages and all genres competing in front of a panel of judges, with the audience weighing in on later rounds. This being another as-yet-uncast reality series, the network is courting Paula Abdul to serve as one of the judges. (Hollywood Reporter)

TLC has won the bidding for the worldwide rights to eight-episode reality series Sarah Palin's Alaska, from executive producer Mark Burnett, which it will launch later this year. It's thought that the Discovery Communications-owned channel paid more than $1 million per episode. (Variety)

Pilot casting update: Lindsay Sloane (She's Out of My League) will star opposite Kyle Bornheimer on the untitled Bays/Thomas project (also known as Livin' on a Prayer); Melissa McCarthy (Samantha Who?) has scored one of the titular roles in Chuck Lorre's CBS comedy pilot Mike and Molly; Marisol Nichols (24) and Rhona Mitra (Stargate Universe) have been cast in ABC summer drama series The Gates, while Victoria Platt, Justin Miles, Travis Caldwell, Colton Haynes, and Skyler Samuels have also been cast. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer) has been cast as a guest star in NBC romantic dramedy pilot Love Bites, from writer/executive producer Cindy Chupack. "Details about her cameo are being kept under wraps, but a Peacock insider tells me that Hewitt will play herself," writes Ausiello. "My guess? One of the show’s lovelorn leads — portrayed by Ugly Betty’s Becki Newton and My Boys‘ Jordana Spiro — will meet Hewitt at a signing for her new memoir-slash-advice book, 'The Day I Shot Cupid.' But I’m just spitballing." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Elsewhere, Hewitt has been cast in Lifetime telepic The List, written by Suzanne Martin. She'll play a housewife and mother whose life is thrown into chaos after her husband becomes sidelined from his job due to an injury and she ends up taking a job at a massage parlor that's secretly a knocking shop. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sad but true: it's the end of the road for At the Movies, which will wrap its run on August 14th. Most recent iteration of the movie review series had been hosted by A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips, who took over the reins late last year from Ben Mankiewicz and Ben Lyons. (Variety)

Change is afoot behind the scenes at ABC's Private Practice following the departure of executive producers/showrunners Robert Rovner and Jon Cowan. The duo will not be immediately replaced as the remainder of this season's stories have already been broken. Shonda Rhimes, meanwhile, will continue to oversee creative and production on the spinoff series. While Private Practice has yet to be renewed for the 2010-11 season, it is expected to return next season. (Hollywood Reporter)

Nickelodeon has announced that it will air a telepic based on Internet series Fred, entitled Fred: The Movie, written by David Goodman and directed by Clay Weiner. The kids cabler also acquired the rights to ABC comedy My Wife and Kids, which it will air as part of its Nick at Nite programming block. (Variety)

NBC Entertainment has promoted Cathy Goldman to VP, brand strategy and Ken Grayson to VP, media. (Hollywood Reporter)

Chris Coelen, late of RDF USA, has launched his own shingle, Kinetic Content, and hired several executives, including Jennifer Danska, Gerald Massimei, Katie Griffin, and Matilda Zoltowski. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Lauren9to5 said…
Not the biggest fan of Debra Messing but, with the addition of Patrick Fugit, Carrie Fisher, and Cheryl Hines to the cast, I'll definitely check out Wright vs Wrong (even with that horrible title).
The CineManiac said…
So with the addition of Eric Balfour to SyFy's Haven, does this mean the show is over before it begins?

He is kind of a show killer. With the exceptions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (probably because he was killed off in the pilot) and 24.

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