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Channel Surfing: Chuck Renewal Prognosis Improved, Sarah Wayne Callies Hunts The Walking Dead, Conan, Castle, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

Could it be that things are looking up for Chuck?'s Nellie Andreeva breaks down the current on the bubble series at the broadcast networks, including NBC's Chuck. "Last year, NBC’s Chuck got an 11th hour reprieve, clinching a partial 3rd-season order on Sunday afternoon before upfront week," writes Andreeva. "This time around, its fate will be decided earlier if the show’s producers get their way. Several days ago, creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak pitched NBC their vision for Season 4 and producing studio Warner Bros asked the network for a quick resolution so the series could keep its writing staff. Even with NBC brass happy with their drama development, the spy dramedy’s chances of renewal are considered very good -- and certainly a lot better than last year when a sponsorship deal with Subway sealed the renewal. With the show rising in the ratings this week and fans staging rallies tomorrow, Chuck may be one solid ratings performance... away from an early renewal." [Editor: in other words, tune in tonight in huge numbers and LIVE.] (

Meanwhile, today marks the day for the multi-city Chuck flash mobs, but if you're not in one of the cities participating, don't fret: you can still show your support for a fourth season of Chuck by participating in the Twitter mob scheduled for today between noon and 1 pm Pacific Time. Sample tweets include: "@NBC – We want more #CHUCK! Give us another season of flashes and fun. The world’s safety depends on it! #FlashChuck" or "#CHUCK rules! @NBC show your love for CHUCK and the fans will show their love back. We want a 4th season! #FlashChuck" (

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that former Prison Break star Sarah Wayne Callies has been cast as the female lead in AMC's upcoming drama series The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman's comicbook series. Callies has been cast as Lori Grimes, described as "the slowly-unraveling wife of the show’s hero, Rick (Andrew Lincoln)." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

The New York Times's Bill Carter talks to Jeff Gaspin's efforts to pull NBC's schedule "out of a long, precipitous slide," the network's development slate, and the C-word: Conan. "Late night’s not my problem anymore," said Gaspin, referring to Conan O'Brien's move to TBS. "I don’t have to worry about Conan anymore. Whereas if he was on Fox we’d all be, you know, what’s it going to do? That’s all over. The Conan story is gone for me." (New York Times)

Meanwhie, did you miss last night's Conan O'Brien interview on CBS' 60 Minutes? You can watch the full video of O'Brien's chat below.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos talks to Nathan Fillion about the upcoming season finale of his ABC procedural drama Castle. "Beckett has set her eyes on another man, and it's really getting to Castle," Fillion told her. "He's really not having an easy time with it, so we're getting to a point in time where she's gotta make a choice. And he's gotta make a choice! There's gonna be a choice made. An emotional choice. It's an emotional cliffhanger." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

In other Castle-related news, co-showrunner/executive producer Rene Echevarria has left the series after he was unable to reach a new deal with studio ABC Studios. Creator Andrew Marlowe, who shared showrunning responsibilities with Echevarria, will now serve as the series' sole showrunner when it returns for a third season this fall. (

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has a brand new interview with "A Song of Fire and Ice" novelist George R.R. Martin, whose fantasy novel series is the basis for HBO's upcoming series Game of Thrones. (The series itself is undergoing some cast changes at the moment: Jennifer Ehle was replaced by Michelle Fairley and Tamzin Merchant--who played Daenerys Targaryen--will be replaced as well.) "I knew that the limitations of budgets and the censorship limitations," said Martin about possible television homes for "A Song of Fire and Ice," ruling out the broadcast networks. "I know it’s loosened up some since I was active in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, but I can still remember the fights with Standards and Practices and censors about the sex and violence. And the books are full of sex and violence. I didn’t want some watered-down, bowdlerized version of this... [HBO] had done shows like Deadwood and Rome and The Sopranos and that was the kind of thing I saw this as." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Showtime has announced its summer launch dates, which includes Season Eight of Penn & Teller: Bullshit and new series The Green Room with Paul Provenza on Thursday, June 10th from 10-11 pm ET/PT, The Real L Word on Sunday, June 20th at 10 pm ET/PT, and Season Six of Weeds and the launch of The Big C on Monday, August 16th at 10:30 pm ET/PT. (via press release)

Zoe Kravitz--the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet--has been cast in a six-episode story arc on the upcoming season of Showtime's Californication, where she will play Zoe, a "wild child" musician who looks to recruit Becca (Madeleine Martin) for her all-girl band. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

E! Online's Megan Masters has an interview with Vampire Diaries star Matt Davis, in which the former Damages co-star talks about why his Alaric is in need of some steamy sex scenes on the CW supernatural drama series. "We decided that the best way to reconcile them is a ménage à trois," Davis said, joking, about the return of Alaric's wife Isobel. "No, it's shocking. To see this missing wife of his after so long. Not only is it shocking, but those moments never go the way you expect them to. His whole life changed when she vanished, and he's been searching for her ever since. [To] finally confront the thing he's been looking for? That would turn your life upside down, and it will definitely be a big moment for Alaric." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Barry Sonnenfeld is heading overseas. The Pushing Daisies director/executive producer has teamed up with Fluent Media Group and Resonant TV to develop a supernatural drama series Beat the Devil that will be pitched to foreign networks ahead of the US. "Five years ago, it was unthinkable of a U.S. studio acquiring a scripted format from another country," Gonzalo Cilley, head of Resonant TV, told Hollywood Reporter. "We want to have Barry involved from Day 1 so he can use all of that experience and information when he pitches the American version." (Hollywood Reporter)

Nascent pay cabler Epix is said to have signed a deal with Oliver Stone and author Bruce Wagner to develop Los Angeles-based drama series Still Holding, based on Wagner's novel, which revolves around three people living in the City of Angels. (Variety)

20th Century Fox Television has signed an two-year overall deal with Bones writer Karyn Usher, under which she will develop new projects for the studio and remain aboard Bones as a co-executive producer. (Variety)

Sony Pictures Television has signed a new two-year deal with producer Jamie Tarses. (

Britt Robertson (Life Unexpected) has been cast in Disney Channel original telepic Avalon High, where she will play a high school transfer student who discovers that her fellow classmates are actually the reincarnations of King Arthur and his round table. Project is based on a Meg Cabot novel. (Variety)

Megan Park (Secret Life of the American Teenager), David Charvet (Melrose Place), and Boti Bliss (CSI: Miami) will star in Lifetime original telepic The Perfect Teacher. Elsewhere, Michael Badalucco (The Practice) will be recurring on HBO's upcoming period drama series Boardwalk Empire. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


perrypalla said…
SUCH good news about Chuck! Fingers crossed!
Anonymous said…
Ehle wasn't replaced, she left for personal reasons (she has a young family to tend.) However her twitter account suggests that she has great hopes for the series and is a fan of the books.

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