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Channel Surfing: "Parks" and Procreation for Poehler, Diane Farr to "Desperate Housewives," "FlashForward," Gordon Finds "Prisoners of War," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

The mystery behind Parks and Recreation's early renewal, said to be due to a production-related issue, has been revealed: star Amy Poehler is pregnant again and the Universal Media Studios-produced comedy will film its third season early in order to accommodate Poehler's pregnancy. "We'll continue production of Season Three as soon as production of season two concludes," an NBC spokesperson told E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos. "And we'll be back next season with new episodes." Which means: Season Three will launch this fall and the cast and crew will likely take a hiatus later than usual... and it means that Poehler's Leslie Knope will not be pregnant on the series. (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that Diane Farr (Rescue Me) has been cast in an upcoming episode of ABC's Desperate Housewives "as a character who interacts with the ladies of Wisteria Lane." Farr's episode is slated to air in late April but her details about her character, who will be the focal point of this episode, are being kept under wraps. Keck cites an unnamed source who indicated that Farr's character "is part of a special episode (involving) things that happen in the suburbs... evil kind of things." Read into that however you will. (TV Guide Magazine)

E! Online's Jenna Mullins has a look at what to expect from the return of ABC sci-fi drama FlashForward, which returns tonight with twelve new episodes, and she gets the cast to tease some details about upcoming storylines, which involve answers. "How and why did this happen? Who's the dude in the stadium? Is John Cho gonna live? And who's that shirtless dude on the couch?" teased Jack Davenport. "All of those things will obviously be answered. They have to be or people would be pissed. I would be!" (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

24 executive producer Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (also of 24) have teamed up with Gideon Raff developing a US adaptation for Israeli drama series Prisoners of War for 20th Century Fox Television; no network is currently attached to the project. According to Variety's Michael Schneider, the US version will "center on two soldiers who were captured soon after the war on terror began in the wake of 9/11; they're finally released a decade later from their captors. But a third POW died -- and his demise becomes a mystery. The show will also center on suspicions that one of the returning soldiers may have turned rogue -- and could be a terrorist threat himself." Gordon and Gansa will executive produce with Raff (who created the original) and Avi Nir of Israeli television network Keshet. (Variety)

NBC, Donald Trump, and Mark Burnett are resurrecting the original Apprentice format, bringing The Apprentice back to the airwaves, albeit with a slight twist. This iteration, set to air during the 2010-11 season, will feature 14 candidates who have all been affected by the economic turndown in the country. They'll range in ages and could be those who lost their jobs, those who are working jobs that they hate, and recent college graduates who are unable to land their first job... and the eliminated candidates will all receive some form of career coaching from Trump himself. "I am very excited to return to the original premise of The Apprentice," said Trump in a statement. "We've got to do something about the economy and this is a terrific way to provide jobs as well as business lessons along the way. NBC, Mark Burnett and I hope this economic downturn can begin a turnaround, and we'll do our best with The Apprentice to see that it starts happening. I'm proud to be putting people back to work, and to positively changing the psychology of America." (via press release)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that The Wire's Robert Wisdom--most recently seen on Supernatural--as been cast in at least six episodes of Burn Notice next season. He'll play Vaughn, described as "a veteran spy handler who works for the group that burned Michael" and who possesses "an impressive combination of high-end book smarts and real-world experience; he’s smart, world-weary, and ruthless." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Jason Clarke (Brotherhood) has been cast as the lead in Shawn Ryan's FOX cop drama pilot Ride-Along. Clarke will play Detective Jarek Wysocki, described as "one of the city's toughest cops... a local legend and outsized character with a wicked sense of humor who struggles to clean up the town's violence and corruption." Move marks the second casting of a Brotherhood lead this pilot season; Jason Isaacs will star in FOX drama pilot Pleading Guilty. (Hollywood Reporter)

In other pilot casting news, Josh Cooke (Big Day) has been cast as the male lead in ABC's untitled Shanna Goldberg-Meehan comedy pilot, where hew will play Ben, half of an unmarried couple whose seemingly perfect life together is thrown into chaos when Maddie (Jennifer Finnigan) discovers that her younger sister (Joanna Garcia) is pregnant and engaged. Elsewhere, Skyler Stone (Con) has been cast in Greg Garcia's FOX comedy pilot Keep Hope Alive, which is in the process of recasting several roles. Stone will play Mike, the messy cousin of Jimmy (Lucas Neff); role was played by Kate Micucci in the original pilot, though it was initially written for a man. (Hollywood Reporter)

Congratulations to FX, which saw huge opening numbers for its scripted drama series Justified, which launched with 4.1 million viewers, the highest-rated FX premiere since The Shield in 2002. (Variety)

Showtime has unveiled its summer schedule, which includes programming on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday evenings. Penn & Teller: Bullshit! returns on Thursday, June 10th at 10 pm ET/PT, where it will lead into new comedy series The Green Room with Paul Provenza. The pay cabler's new reality series The Real L Word will launch on Sunday, June 20th at 10 pm ET//PT. And Monday, August 16th sees the return of Weeds at 10 pm ET/PT and the launch of the Laura Linney-led comedy series The Big C at 10:30 pm ET/PT. (via press release)

CBS has ordered a pilot for culinary competition series Beat the Chefs from RelativityReal and executive producer Tom Forman (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition). Format will feature amateur chefs and their friends and families competing against professional chefs as they each attempt to make their version of a particular dish, which will then be judged by a panel of judges for a cash prize. (Hollywood Reporter)

Private Practice's Amy Brenneman is slated to return to the ABC drama series on April 1st, after she missed filming three episodes due to a "planned surgery to fix a chronic health issue," according to Brenneman's rep Stephen Huvane. She's already back at work, according to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello, and the last episode to be shot sans Brenneman's Violet will air next week. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove has signed a new deal with Nickelodeon that's said to be in the low- to mid-seven-figure range under which she will film an additional 26 episodes of the comedy series, which was renewed late last year. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Unknown said…
Didn't Josh Cooke and Jennifer Finnegan play a couple on the failed sitcom "Committed"? None of the trades seem to mention that tidbit, although I wouldn't necessarily call it a selling point.
Lauren9to5 said…
So that's how you get your series an early pickup...just get pregnant! Whatever the reason, I can't be more thrilled that Parks & Rec is coming back for a third season. It's seriously one of the best comedies on TV and, lately, I've been enjoying it even more than 30 Rock (gasp)!
Mimi C said…
I was done with Burn Notice but I've got to watch next season if Vaughn is going to be played by Bunny.

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