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Channel Surfing: Rob Lowe Heads to Pawnee, Debra Messing is "Wright", Scott Porter is One of CW's "Nomads," Dana Delany Circling "Body," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. I had a fantastic time at the Community panel last night at the 2010 William S. Paley Television Festival (followed by some late-night carousing with some other TV types). But onto today's headlines, of which there are many.

Outbound Brothers & Sisters star Rob Lowe will be heading to Pawnee. Lowe has signed on to appear in multiple episodes of NBC comedy Parks and Recreation later this season and his contract, according to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello, calls for him to appear on the Universal Media Studios-produced series next season. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Meanwhile, Fancast's Matt Mitovich has details about just who Lowe will be playing this season, thanks to an interview with Parks and Recreation executive producer Mike Schur. While Schur--who likened Lowe's participation as "the perfect fit" for the series--was tight-lipped when it came to details about Lowe's character, he did say that Lowe will play a "powerful person entering our world form the outside." But don't rule out a possible romance with Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope. "Anytime Rob Lowe is anywhere, he’s a possible love interest for someone," Schur told Mitovich. Lowe's first appearance is set for this season's penultimate episode and he'll reprise his role next season. (Fancast)

Debra Messing (Will & Grace) is heading back to half-hour comedies, booking the lead in ABC comedy pilot Wright vs. Wrong, where she will also serve as an executive producer, alongside Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum, and Kim Tannenbaum. Messing will play Evelyn Wright, described as "a driven conservative pundit who tries to maintain her public persona despite facing her own vulnerabilities" in the Sony Pictures Television-produced project, written by Stephnie Weir. (Hollywood Reporter)

Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights) has been cast in the CW drama pilot presentation Nomads, where he will play John, described as " a magnetic and forceful college grad who is determined to find his missing brother." Project, from writer/executive producer Ken Sanzel (NUMB3RS)and executive producers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, revolves around a group of backpackers who work secret missions for the CIA. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files, Hollywood Reporter)

Desperate Housewives' Dana Delany has received an offer to star in ABC drama pilot Body of Evidence, which places her future on Wisteria Lane under question. Delany's participation in the ABC Studios-produced Body is said to be in second position to her role on Desperate Housewives. If a deal closes, Delany would play the lead, Dr. Megan Hunt, a former neurosurgeon turned medical examiner who solves crimes. Already cast: Geoffrey Arend, John Carroll Lynch, and Windell Middlebrooks. (Hollywood Reporter)

Blair Underwood (Dirty Sexy Money) has been cast in NBC drama pilot The Event, where he will play the US president in the Universal Media Studios-produced thriller. He joins Jason Ritter, Zeljko Ivanek, Ian Anthony Dale, Laura Innes, Scott Patterson, and Sarah Roemer in the project, which is written by Nick Wauters and will be executive produced by Steve Stark. (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Drea de Matteo will leave ABC's Desperate Housewives in May... but it's not related to any rumors of on-set friction between the former Sopranos star and the ladies of Wisteria Lane. "When I heard that stuff, I was stunned," creator Mark Cherry told Ausiello. "We adore her. She is the sweetest gal in the world... Part of the deal when we hired Drea was she was only interested in doing one season. She has a baby and is eager to get back to her life in New York." Look for John Barrowman's arrival in April to get de Matteo's Angie storyline in full swing. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Ryan Devlin (Cougar Town) has been cast in CBS comedy pilot Shit My Dad Says, where he will star opposite William Shatner and Nicole Sullivan. Project, written by Justin Halpern and Peter Schumacher and directed by James Burrows, will be executive produced by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. (Hollywood Reporter)

Pilot casting alert: Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty) has been cast as one of the leads in ABC cop drama pilot True Blue; Alicia Witt (Friday Night Lights) has landed the female lead in ABC drama pilot Edgar Floats (also cast: Derek Webster); Will Yun Lee (Bionic Woman) has booked one of the leads opposite Katee Sackhoff in Richard Hatem's untitled ABC drama pilot (as well as a guest spot on CBS pilot Hawaii Five-O); Richard T. Jones (Judging Amy) has also joined the cast of the untitled Hatem drama; Nicole Steinwedell (The Unit) and Brooke Nevin (Worst Week) have come aboard FOX drama pilot Breakout Kings; Oswaldo Castillo has joined the cast of NBC's untitled Adam Carolla comedy pilot; and Carmen Ejogo (Kidnapped) has signed on to CBS drama pilot Chaos. (Hollywood Reporter)

Zap2It's Hanh Nguyen has a story about the recent press call with James Marsters, to discuss his upcoming role on Syfy's Caprica as revolutionary Barnabus Greely. Marsters went on to discuss Twilight, the current vampire craze, and whether he'd be willing to reprise his role as Buffy and Angel's Spike. (Zap2It)

Universal Media Studios has signed an overall deal with Jeffrey Reiner (Friday Night Lights, Caprica), under which he will direct the pilot for NBC's thriller The Event (and will retain an executive producer credit if it goes to series) and will develop new projects for the studio. He's said to be already generating some ideas with Trauma creator Dario Scardapane and wants to work with Jason Katims again. (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Lynette Rice is reporting that Sarah Palin and Mark Burnett are shopping a TV docudrama about life in Alaska, allegedly a "Planet Earth-type look" at America's northernmost state. "The former candidate for the vice presidency was seen leaving ABC today with Burnett, and an insider confirmed that she met with reality topper Mike Darnell yesterday at Fox (where she and her family ended the day by visiting American Idol. Palin stayed in the green room)," wrote Rice. "She also stopped by CBS today and plans to meet with NBC Universal TV Chairman Jeff Gaspin tomorrow." (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

Meanwhile, The Wrap's Josef Adalian is reporting that "at least one broadcaster is already likely to pass on the project" from Palin and Burnett. According to Adalian, "ABC has decided the project isn't a right fit and won't be pursuing it," citing an unnamed source who is familiar with ABC's reaction to the pitch. (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that the March 25th episode of ABC's Grey's Anatomy will feature flashbacks scenes depicting Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Teddy (Kim Raver) in Iraq and will reveal, according to Raver, "this really fun, lighthearted bond, but also how loyalty is so important out there under very intense circumstances." (TV Guide Magazine)

BBC One has commissioned two additional seasons of Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures, with twelve episodes on deck for both the fourth and fifth seasons, expected to air in Autumn 2010 and Autumn 2011. Russell T. Davies, who had departed Doctor Who late last year, will remain on board as executive producer of The Sarah Jane Adventures and will be joined by newly minuted executive producer Nikki Wilson and producer Brian Minchin. (Broadcast)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that many of the former cast members from ABC's Ugly Betty will reprise their roles before the series takes a final bow next month. Ashley Jensen, Freddy Rodriguez, and likely Chris Gorham will return to Ugly Betty before its April 14th series finale. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Disney Channel has ordered two-hour telepic Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension, spun off from its Phineas and Ferb animated series, which it will air in summer 2011. Also on deck at Disney Channel and Disney XD: animated comedy Fish Hooks, live action comedy Pair of Kings, and animated superhero series The Avengers: Earth's Mighiest Heroes. (Variety)

ABC has announced launch dates for Season Two of True Beauty and Season Three of Wipeout, with the series set to return to the schedule on Monday, May 31st and Tuesday, June 22nd respectively. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Sony Entertainment Television has signed a deal with BT Vision in the UK for a branded channel that will offer British audiences such US series as Damages, The Shield, and The Tudors. (Variety)

Discovery is looking to rollout its TLC network to international viewers, with Norway the first network to receive the lifestyle-oriented network. (Hollywood Reporter)

Meredith Viera's contract with The Today Show is likely to be extended until fall 2011; her current contract was due to expire in September. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

BNaiman said…
Rob Lowe on Parks and Rec? Excellent!

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