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Channel Surfing: Allison Janney Heads to Lost, Damon Lindelof Speaks, Chuck Fans Plan Flash Mob, Veronica Mars Update, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

SPOILER! "Presence," huh? TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck attempts to get to the bottom of just who Allison Janney (The West Wing) will be playing on the May 11th episode of Lost by going right to the source: Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who are being rather cagey about Janney's mystery role. "We were so happy that she was able to do this," said Cuse. "It was really hard for her because she was getting ready to shoot a pilot, but she squeezed us in. Then once we saw her in this part we were like, 'How could anyone else have done this but Allison Janney?'" Lindelof wasn't giving Keck anything either: "We’ve been talking about this character for awhile and how nervous we were that we wouldn’t find the right actress," he said. "When we first started talking about this character in the writers room we called her 'Allison Janney' under the assumption that we wouldn’t be able to get her." [Editor: so who is Janney playing? My first instinct said that she'd be playing the mother of the Man in Black (or Penny's never-before-seen mother), though whether that will turn out to be true remains to be seen. Regardless, the role calls for someone with "incredible presence" and Janney has that in spades.] (TV Guide Magazine)

Elsewhere, The Hollywood Reporter's Matt Belloni has a video interview with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof in which the two discuss the series finale, the flash-sideways, and the fact that Desmond wasn't in the series' final cast photo ("A cast photo that includes some characters but not others is beyond our area of involvement," he said). Most intriguing is the fact that producers had brand new sets built for the final moments of Lost's series ender. "We did not shoot the final scene of the series on the final day ... for reasons of maintaining the secrecy of the show, and we had to build some sets for the finale -- the construction of the new sets took awhile so that's the work that we did last," Lindelof said, who went on to say that there will be a definitive ending to the series, even if some questions are left for the viewers to answer on their own. "The Sopranos ending only worked on The Sopranos," said Lindelof. "The series finale has to fit the show. We're trying to end lost in a way that feels Lost-ian and fair and will generate a tremendous amount of theorizing. We're going to be as definitive as we can be and say this is our ending, but there's no way to end the show where the fans aren't going to say, 'What did they mean by this?' Which is why we're not going to explain it."(Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Chuck fans are headed to Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, and Philadelphia (and possibly other cities as well) to initiate flash mob publicity stunts in support of a Chuck renewal. The idea, the brainchild of chucktv.net, will have fans congregate wearing the series' trademark Buy More uniforms. "Chuck fans are the most loyal, dedicated, imaginative and passionate fans any show could ever hope for," Chuck co-creator Josh Schwartz told The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd. "Every season they offer more proof they should be licensed and professional fans teaching other fans how it's done. This is yet another example of their awesomeness. We are, as always, grateful and inspired to deliver a show as good to them as they are to us." (Hollywood Reporter)

E! Online's Breanne L. Heldman caught up with Kristen Bell to ask her about the status of the potential Veronica Mars feature film that's been rumored for quite some time (and which someone asked creator Rob Thomas about at last week's Party Down panel at the Paley Center). "I wish I had news," said Bell. "Still in the process of campaigning to tell Warner Bros. that people would actually see it. I think that as long as you guys keep asking those questions and I keep answering them, Warner Bros. will one day get the picture that everybody does want it and that it will make its money back. I think, truthfully, they're a company and they want to know that they'll make their return back. We just have to convince them that they will." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

ABC Family has decided not to move forward with its comedy series 10 Things I Hate About You, which will wrap its second season in a few week. News of the cancellation was made originally by executive producer Carter Covington via Twitter."Sad news... ABC Family canceled the show," wrote Covington. "Thanks to our amazing fans. You are the reason I do this." (Variety)

SPOILER! Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has a first look at Rob Lowe on NBC's Parks and Recreation, where he is set to join the comedy series next month along with Party Down's Adam Scott. According to co-creator/executive producer Mike Schur, Lowe's character, state auditor Chris Traeger, "very quickly falls into a romantic entanglement" with a resident of Pawnee. "I don’t want to spoil who it is because it’s kind of a surprise," said Schur. [Editor: having already seen a sizable chunk of Lowe and Scott's first Parks and Rec episode a few weeks back, I can honestly say that fans are in for a treat with these new characters.] (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Well, that makes one NCIS cast member who definitely will be returning next season: Deadline.com's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that David McCallum yesterday closed a deal to return to the CBS procedural drama next season. Negotiations continue for the three other actors--Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, and Sean Murray--whose deals have expired. (Deadline.com)

USA Today's Gary Strauss has a profile of Breaking Bad's Dean Norris, who plays DEA Agent Hank Schrader on the AMC drama series. In its third season, Norris' Hank has quickly psychologically unraveled. "For an actor, playing one character and transitioning to a completely different one is a dream come true," Norris told Strauss. "Part of me misses the old Hank. But nothing could be better than to set up a character, dismiss him and then bring a whole different side to him." (USA Today)

Warner Bros. Television is said to be about to close a multi-year overall deal with Sex and the City multi-hypenate Michael Patrick King that will have him launch his own shingle at the studio, according to Deadline.com's Nellie Andreeva. (Deadline.com)

Futon Critic is reporting that NBC will keep struggling freshman medical drama Mercy in the 9 pm timeslot on Wednesdays for the remainder of its season. (Futon Critic)

VH1 has ordered eight episodes of The OCD Project, in which an anxiety expert will attempt to rehabilitate six individuals with several obsessive-compulsive issues who will live together in a house and participate in "exposure and response prevention" therapy. Project, launching May 27th at 10 pm ET/PT, is executive produced by JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, Adam Greener, Matt Assmus, Jeff Olde, Jill Holmes, and Noah Pollack. (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

UK satellite network Sky1 has commissioned a musical competition series, Must Be the Music, in an effort to compete with ITV's X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. Rather than dangle a recording contract, the series will award the winner a cash prize and the opportunity to perform live in a music arena. (Hollywood Reporter)

Elsewhere in UK television news, Kevin Lygo will quit Channel 4, where he served as director of television and content, in order to head up ITV Studios as managing director. (Broadcast)

Disney Channel has ordered a telepic based on Mark Peter Hughes' novel "Lemonade Mouth," about five high school freshmen who meet in detention and launch a band centered around unusual musical instruments. Project will be written by April Blair and executive produced by Debra Martin Chase. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Alexis said…
Chuck has continued to succeed (and entertain!) against all odds and I hope that the network will listen to the fans and renew the show for another season.

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