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Channel Surfing: Fringe Musical, Conan Heads to TBS, Ryan Devlin Checks into Grey's, Fred Willard, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has an exclusive first-look at the upcoming musical episode of FOX's Fringe, set to air April 29th. "We didn’t set out to do a musical," Fringe's executive producer Jeff Pinkner told Ausiello. "We set out to do an episode that explored Walter’s state of mind — he’s dealing with some very upsetting news. When we realized that the way Walter would deal with such news would be to try to anesthetize himself with copious amounts of marijuana, well, singing and dancing became a natural outcome." [Editor: Hmmm, just what could that "very upsetting news" be?] (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

A rather big speed bump has emerged during the ongoing talks between Conan O'Brien at FOX. Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd and Matthew Belloni are reporting that while the negotiations between the former Tonight Show host and FOX have been smooth, O'Brien won't commit to a late night talk show with FOX unless the network "can guarantee that stations will air his show in all or nearly all of the country." Which is a significant problem as some affiliates are less than excited by the idea of Coco taking over their late night timeslots, currently home to syndicated programming. The issue has so far prevented O'Brien from entering into "exclusive negotiations" with FOX, with his team continuing to look at other options outside of FOX, which wants to air O'Brien's new series weeknights from 11 pm to midnight. (Hollywood Reporter)

UPDATE! Hold the presses: O'Brien's team has opted not to sign with FOX and has instead concluded a deal with cabler TBS. Yes, you read that correctly. O'Brien's team has signed with TBS for a latenight talk show that will air between 11 pm and midnight on the basic cabler, a move that will push George Lopez's eponymous talker to midnight. "In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable," said O'Brien in a statement released by TBS. "My plan is working perfectly." The move pushes the comedy-oriented TBS into a place of prominence. "Conan has been the comedic voice for a generation. TBS already has a huge audience of young comedy lovers, and Conan’s show will give these fans even more reasons to watch our network," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. (via press release)

Ryan Devlin (Cougar Town) will guest star in the May 20th season finale of ABC's Grey's Anatomy, according to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello, who reports that Devlin will play Bill, the husband of Mandy Moore's character Mary, who is a patient at Seattle Grace. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Entertainment Weekly's Mandi Bierly has an interview with the uber-talented Fred Willard, who will next been seen on Castle, Modern Family, and Chuck. Willard, set to reprise his role as Phil's dad on Modern Family, will guest star on Chuck as half of a super-spy couple. "That was an interesting one, because I play a part I’d always thought I was right for — a spy," said Willard about his upcoming turn on Chuck. "I’m with Swoosie Kurtz on that, we’re a bickering spy couple, kind of like Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers played [on Hart to Hart], and we’re showing the ropes to the young Chuck and his partner. And it’s like a real did we double-cross them or did we triple-cross them? That was a lot of fun." (Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch)

Delroy Lindo (Kidnapped) has been cast as one of the leads in Shawn Ryan's FOX cop drama pilot Ride-Along, opposite Jason Clarke and Jennifer Beals. Lindo will play "a longtime building magnate-turned-politician who is loved by his constituents, but there have always been whispers about possible ties to organized," according to Hollywood Reporter's Nellie Andreeva. (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC ordered a pilot for gameshow Secret Treasure, in which six contestants compete against one another as they answer trivia questions and try to steal one another's cash-laden "secret treasure boxes." Project, from ITV Studios, was created by Jeff Apploff. (Variety)

CBS, meanwhile, ordered a pilot for a revival of classic gameshow Pyramid, from Sony Pictures Television and Michael Davies (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire), which would replace As the World Turns in its daytime lineup. (Hollywood Reporter)

Starz is reportedly developing a series adaptation of culinary critic Gael Greene's 2006 autobiography "Insatiable: Tales From a Life of Delicious Excess," about her "gastronomic and erotic adventures" in 1970s and 1980s Manhattan. Starz will produce the potential one-hour drama series with Robert Lantos' Serendipity Point Films and Rob Lee's Bayonne Entertainment. (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Grey Damon (90210) has been cast in Season Five of Friday Night Lights as a series regular. He'll play Hastings Ruckle, described as a "sexy, laid back basketball player who ends up joining the Lions as a wide receiver." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Emily Ziff's production company Cooper's Town is developing an HBO drama series based on Samantha Peale's novel "The American Painter Emma Dial," about a woman coming to terms with her identity crisis as she works within the Manhattan art world. Sarah Treem (In Treatment) will adapt. It's unknown whether the potential drama series would air as a half-hour or one-hour. (Variety)

Warner Bros. Television has signed a two-script deal with Miss Guided creator Caroline Williams--currently a consulting producer on ABC's Modern Family--under which she will develop two comedy projects for the studio, including a single-camera comedy project with executive producer J.J. Abrams. (Hollywood Reporter)

Chris Gethard (The Other Guys) will replace Jon Heder in the Comedy Central comedy series Big Lake. Series, ordered for ten episodes by the cabler, has an option for an additional 90 episodes. (Variety)

Showtime's Marc Wootton comedy La La Land is heading across the pond to BBC Three. (Broadcast)

Law & Order's Sam Waterston will guest star on the April 28th episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, according to TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck. "For the first time in Law & Order: SVU’s eleven year history, Sam will show up in the SVU squad room," executive producer Neal Baer told Keck. (TV Guide Magazine)

SPOILER! Taylor Momsen will be MIA when Gossip Girl returns next season. At least at first, anyway. Citing a source close to Gossip Girl's production, Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Momsen will be absent from the CW drama series for an unknown number of episodes but her temporary departure is for creative reasons. "When you watch the finale," the unnamed insider told Ausiello, "you’ll see that we’re doing something very big with her character." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Sony Pictures Television, Scott Free Television, Tandem Communications, and Peace Out Prods. is developing a four-hour mini-series based on Robert Harris' historical novel "Pompei." (Variety)

ABC will flip Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice on April 22nd, swapping the timeslots for each medical drama for one week. According to the Fuon Critic, "The Grey's/Practice swap... is simply to avoid having original episodes of FlashForward and Practice bookend a second run Grey's." (Futon Critic)

Holly Marie Combs (Charmed) has been cast in ABC Family's upcoming drama series Pretty Little Liars, where she will play the mother of Aria (Lucy Hale), one of four teenage girls who are bound together by a dark secret. She'll be playing opposite Chad Lowe, recently cast as Aria's father, who replaces Alexis Denisof. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

MTV has renewed reality series The Buried Life for a second season. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Elsewhere, Spike has renewed reality series 1000 Ways to Die for its fourth and fifth seasons. Move comes before the third season of the Original Prods.-produced series has even debuted. (Variety)

And NBC has renewed The Sing-Off for a second season. The Sony Pictures Television-produced musical competition series will return for eight episodes next season. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Stay tuned.


Hamlin said…
Fred Willard and Swoosie Kurtz on Chuck? Brilliant. Can't wait for the Fringe musical episode too.
Anonymous said…
Who the heck does Conan think he is?

First he charges an arm and a leg for his comedy tour to rip off his fans, then he gets it in his head that he's the greatest thing to be in late night since Johnny Carson.

Can his ego get any bigger?
Annie said…
@Anonymous: You do realize that Conan didn't earn a penny from the comedy tour and that the proceeds went to his staff, all of whom were put out of work by the cancellation, right?


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