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Channel Surfing: Thomas Hayden Church Lands "Episodes," Starz Builds "Camelot," Recasting at "Game of Thrones," Conan and FOX, "Torchwood," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

Thomas Haden Church (All About Steve) will star opposite Matt LeBlanc, Claire Forlani, Kathleen Rose Perkins, and Stephen Mangan in Showtime's upcoming single-camera comedy series Episodes, where he will play Merc Lapidus, the network president who purchases the format for a British comedy series and then ruins it when he attempts to adapt it for American audiences. Church is slated to appear in six out of seven of Episodes', er, episodes. Series will air on BBC Two in the UK. (Variety)

Starz is heading to Camelot. The pay cabler has ordered ten episodes of romantic adventure series Camelot, a contemporary retelling of the Arthurian legends of Thomas Malory's "Morte d'Arthur" that will be written by Chris Chibnall (Torchwood) and executive produced by Graham King and The Tudors' Morgan O'Sullivan and Michael Hirst. Production on the series, originally developed at Showtime, is set to begin in June in Ireland, with Ecosse Films producing, for a 2011 debut. (Hollywood Reporter, via press release)

Michelle Fairley (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) will replace Jennifer Ehle as Catelyn Stark in HBO's upcoming fantasy drama series Game of Thrones, according to the Hollywood Reporter's Nellie Andreeva. "The blogsphere rumored that HBO had reservations about the way the Thrones pilot turned out -- though the network obviously liked the pilot enough to order a series," writes James Hibberd. "Sources say this change was more a behind-the-scenes issue and not a performance issue." (Hollywood Reporter, Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

FOX and Conan O'Brien have once again begun talks that could bring the former Tonight Show host to FOX's latenight. But there's a fly in the ointment as NBC has barred O'Brien from participating in FOX's upcoming Idol Gives Back special, slated to air April 21st. (O'Brien's contract does not allow for any television appearances prior to May 1st.) While no deal is in place for O'Brien to make a new home at FOX, should they be able to, O'Brien's upcoming comedy tour schedule would allow for him to be available for FOX's upfront presentation on May 17th and he would be able to meet with local affiliates in nine major markets, thanks to his tour route. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello talks with Torchwood star John Barrowman--currently appearing on ABC's Desperate Housewives--about the potential US version of Torchwood, which Barrowman hopes won't make Captain Jack Harkness straight. "I hope wherever [the franchise] goes that the show stays the same," Barrowman told Ausiello. "The last thing I would want would be for Jack to become this heterosexual, straight hero. He’s an omnisexual guy. He likes men, women, aliens, whatever. I think we should continue going down that route." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Christian Slater (The Forgotten) and Trevor Moore (The Whitest Kids U'Know) have been cast as two of the leads in FOX's untitled Adam Goldberg comedy pilot (a.k.a. Security), about a group of geniuses who crack top-notch security systems. Slater will play Oz, described as "the charismatic renegade who runs the Titan Team, a gruff ex-military misanthrope with a checkered past." Moore will play Josh Armstrong, described as "the team's womanizing intelligence and reconnaissance head." (Hollywood Reporter)

Pilot casting news: Tate Donovan (Damages) has been cast in ABC superhero drama pilot No Ordinary Family; Caitlin Fitzgerald (It's Complicated) has been cast as the female lead in FOX comedy pilot Most Likely to Succeed, replacing Kaitlin Doubleday; Jennifer Ferrin (Life in Mars) has come aboard NBC vigilante drama pilot The Cape opposite David Lyons and Summer Glau; Sean Patrick Thomas (Lie to Me) and Lorraine Toussaint have joined the cast of CBS drama pilot The Line (also known as ATF), Billy Lush (Generation Kill) has been cast in Shawn Ryan's FOX cop drama pilot Ride-Along; and Flex Alexander (One on One) and Dylan Moore have been added to the cast of CBS' untitled Burgess/Green drama pilot (a.k.a. Reagan's Law) opposite Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Len Cariou. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan offers an update on the long-gestating live-action Star Wars television series. "They are working with writers on scripts," a Lucasfilm representative told Ryan about executive producers George Lucas and Rick McCallum. "They won't set a production date [for Season 1] until the scripts are done." Ryan goes on to indicate that the writing of those scripts has been going on for two years now and that the series could--and that's a massive could--debut on a network as early as 2011. As of right now, however, there is no network attached to the project and Lucasfilm is keeping mum about when or where the Star Wars series will launch. (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

NBC has renewed daytime soap Days of Our Lives for the 2010-11 season, guaranteeing the series' 45th anniversary. Series has recently posted a 9 percent ratings increase, landing the soap with its best ratings in three years. (Variety)

The New York Times' Brian Stelter has an article about how Nurse Jackie's Dr. Fitch Cooper (Peter Facinelli) will be tweeting under the name @DoctorCoop, the latest in a series of Twitter appearances on scripted programming in the last few weeks. (New York Times)

Looks like Rosie O'Donnell could be heading back to daytime syndication... or cable. O'Donnell has teamed up with former Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution executives Rick Robertson, and Scott Carlin to form a new company and launch a new daytime talk show with O'Donnell hosting to arrive on the air in fall of 2011, the same time that Oprah Winfrey wraps her own series. O'Donnell's latest offering, however, wouldn't mimic her daytime talk show, which ran from 1996 to 2002; instead, it would focus on "the host's charitable and political pet causes." (Hollywood Reporter)

The Wrap's Josef Adalian takes a look at why Rosie O'Donnell's return to daytime could work and offers "three new rules for the new Rosie." (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Spike has pulled its comedy series Players from its schedule, effective immediately. series, which had aired three episodes, will be replaced with repeats of Blue Mountain State and repeats of Deadliest Warriors beginning April 6th. (Futon Critic)

TV Guide Network has teamed up with Curb Your Enthusiasm creator/star Larry David to offer never-before-seen extras that will air on the cabler in connection with its syndicated run of Curb. Hosted by Susie Essman, the extras, entitled Curb Your Enthusiam: The Discussion, will "feature a panel of high-profile guest stars, pundits and prominent social figures who will debate the moral implications of the behavior in each episode." (via press release)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Any news on casting for Camelot??
Matthew said…
Interestingly, Chris Chibnall was the original writer, for the BBC, on what became Merlin - after they decided against using his scripts.

It looks like he's managed to resurrect it.
Anonymous said…
Will "Camelot" push the boundaries like "Spartacus"?
Jace Lacob said…
lizjp,

Was just ordered to series, so there's no casting on it as of yet. Likely will have to ramp up pre-production ASAP if they hope to make their production start date in June. As always, I'll be keeping everyone up to date on all series and pilot casting.

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