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Channel Surfing: Jason O'Mara Signs on to Terra Nova, Marina Klaveno Talks True Blood, Happy Town Yanked Again, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

It's official: former Life on Mars star Jason O'Mara has signed on to topline FOX's new action-adventure series Terra Nova, following the successful close of his deal, according to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva. Series revolves around a family from the future who travels back in time to the Earth's prehistoric past in order to save mankind. O'Mara will play Jim Shannon, described as "a devoted father with a checkered past who guides his family through this new land of limitless beauty, mystery and terror." (The role was reportedly offered to Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler prior to O'Mara.) Alex Graves (Fringe will direct the pilot. (Deadline)

Back Stage's Jessica Jardine has an interview with True Blood's Mariana Klaveno, who plays Bill's maker, the devious vampire Lorena. "That's one of the really brilliant things about the show," said Klaveno. "[The writers] show how vampires relate to humans, and vice versa: What parts of humanity do they maintain, and what parts do they not? And obviously some do so more than others. Bill fights really hard to maintain some of his humanity, and someone like Lorena doesn't. There's parts of her that are just not there anymore, nor does she want them to be, because that's part of her human life, and that's dead and gone now. But it's interesting to me that love seems to be something that stays with them. Love and jealousy and greed and lust—-those all carry into your vampire life." (Back Stage)

Say goodbye to Happy Town... again. ABC has yet again yanked the low-rated mystery series from its schedule after the network began to burn off the remaining episodes on Wednesday evenings this summer. ABC will instead use the timeslot to house Castle repeats and a Jimmy Kimmel special, though the network does intend to air the final two installments of Happy Town this summer as it will burn them off on a Saturday night in July. Meanwhile, ABC will bring back the final two episodes of The Forgotten on Saturday, July 3rd and the last two installments of Eastwick on Saturday, July 10th. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed, Futon Critic)

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck has details on just who Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty) will be playing when she drops by Wisteria Lane this fall. Keck, citing unnamed sources, reports that Williams, who is set to join the cast of ABC's Desperate Housewives, will play Renee Filmore-Jones, described as "an old college chum of Lynette Scavo" (Felicity Huffman) and bitter rival of Lynette's back in the 1980s. "Renee has been married for years to a handsome, hunky man (likely an athlete) named Keith Jones (I'm so picturing NYPD Blue hunk Henry Simmons in this role, though it's yet to be cast)," writes Keck. "They have no kids, meaning Renee has spent all these years just being a housewife supporting her man. But she's reached a time in her life when she wants to do more. Oh, one last thing: she has a secret." (TV Guide Magazine)

SPOILER! Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has a spoilery image from the season premiere of House, one that depicts House and Cuddy getting, uh, cuddly on the beach. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous), Shanna Collins (Swingtown), and Caitlin Custer have joined the cast of HBO's telepic Cinema Verte, based on the groundbreaking 1970s reality series An American Family, which stars Tim Robbins, Diane Lane, James Gandolfini, and Thomas Dekker. Elsewhere, Alex Wolff (The Naked Brothers Band) has signed on for a multiple-episode story arc on HBO's In Treatment, where he will play the son of Gabriel Byrne's Paul. (Deadline)

Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate: SG-1) will appear in at least five episodes of USA's upcoming Sarah Shahi-led legal dramedy Facing Kate, where he will play David Smith, described as "a charismatic but secretive man who enters Kate’s life shortly after the death of her father." (Fancast)

HBO's Eastbound and Down is slated to return to the schedule on September 26th, with the launch of its second season. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Warner Bros. Entertainment is said to be in talks to purchase UK production entity Shed Media, which produces Supernanny and Who Do You Think You Are? and itself owns a number of shingle including Wall to Wall, Ricochet, and Twenty Twenty. No deal has been reached but the two sides were said to be in talks. (Variety)

Matthew Lillard (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and Gillian Vigman (Defenders) have landed the leads in CMT single-camera comedy pilot The Hard Life, from creator/executive producer Bill Diamond. Lillard and Vigman will play a married couple who attempt to be great parents and spouses but who find it difficult to juggle everything in their lives. (Deadline)

Paul Hewitt has been promoted to SVP of network communications at the CW, replacing Paul McGuire, who has been moved into Warner Bros. corporate communications. He'll report to Dawn Ostroff. [Editor: congratulations, Paul!] (Variety)

Stay tuned.


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