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Channel Surfing: Showtime Renews Secret Diary, Details on HBO's Blogger Drama Tilda, Parks and Recreation, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd is reporting that Showtime has renewed Billie Piper-led dark comedy Secret Diary of a Call Girl for a fourth season, which would be the series' last. The series, which airs on ITV2 in the UK, is expected to return in early 2011 and the final season would likely focus on the relationship between Piper's Belle/Hannah and her best friend Ben (Iddo Goldberg). (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

UPDATE: According to Showtime's press release, "Season Four, which will be comprised of eight, half-hour episodes, will follow Belle (Piper), an internationally successful author, torn between her career and her feelings for her best friend Ben (Iddo Goldberg). Additionally, Season Four will feature a storyline where the high-end London call girl visits New York City."

The Wrap's Hunter Walker has details on HBO's latest pilot, Tilda, the Diane Keaton-led comedy which may or may not be based on the life of notorious Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke. Walker cites one unnamed source, an executive, who describes the plot of the Bill Condon-scripted project as "a broken woman, alone in her apartment," while another maintains that the titular character doesn't have much of a resemblance to Finke. "A lawyer for the network said HBO's official stance on the show is that the Tilda character is a compilation of many Hollywood media personalities, rather than a straight-up caricature of Finke," writes Walker. "Right. And that guy Ari Gold on Entourage is a "compilation" of Hollywood agents." [Editor: I still need to read the pilot script, which is sitting on my hard drive here.] (The Wrap's The Box)

Missing NBC's Parks and Recreation and crushed that it won't be back on the air until midseason? You're not the only one. Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello recently visited the set of the NBC comedy series to talk about what's coming up for Season Three, their Emmy chances, and that decision to hold back the series rather than return it this fall. All this, delivered via three video interviews with the cast of the Universal Media Studios-produced comedy. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

ABC Family is developing espionage drama Shadows, about a secret Harvard-based program that recruits and trains young spies. Project, created by Jesse Peyronel and Rene Rigal, will follow the students and faculty of this shadowy program. Executive producers include Mal Young, George Tillman Jr., Matthew Pritzker, and Robert Teitel. (Hollywood Reporter)

E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos is reporting that Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Raising the Bar) will guest star on an upcoming episode of Showtime's Weeds, where he will play Jack, described as a "rough-around-the-edges local bar owner who serves Nancy more than just a drink (wink, wink)." Season Six of Weeds kicks off on August 16th on Showtime. Elsewhere at the pay cabler, Tommy Lee has signed on for a guest appearance on Californication, where he will play himself. (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)'s Michael Logan has details on James Franco's return to ABC daytime soap General Hospital, where his character, Franco (described as a "serial killer and performance artist") will launch an exhibition in an effort to win over Steve Burton's mobster Jason Morgan. The name of his new exhibit is 'Francophrenia: Dissolving the Boundary Between Illusion and Reality' — as, yes, that's Francophrenia as in schizophrenia," General Hospital head writer Bob Guza told Logan. "Franco will create this elaborate dog and pony show for Jason, and Jason's non-reaction to it will make Franco pull the ultimate trigger." (

Victor Nelli (Ugly Betty) has come aboard NBC's fall comedy Outsourced as a director and executive producer. (Variety)

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck has an interview with Gabrielle Union, in which she discusses FlashForward (including what was really meant to happen to Zoey and John Cho's Demetri Noh) and her upcoming role on the untitled Army Wives spinoff, where she will play "asexual" Atlanta cop Gina Holt. "All the butts I wanted to kick on FlashForward and all of the bad guys I wanted to bring to justice, I'll now get to do as this new character — but with a sense of humor," Union told Keck. "Gina views these Army wives as extra-terrestrials. She has no concept of breast-feeding, sore nipples or child care." (TV Guide Magazine)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Sean Hayes' Hazy Mills shingle has signed a two-year overall deal with NBC Universal, under which the company will develop projects for both broadcast and cable. "Hazy Mills already has a project in development at USA Network with writer Jeff Rake about a performer who enters into the world or organized crime," writes Andreeva. (Deadline)

Joe Earley has been promoted to President, Marketing & Communications for Fox Broadcasting Company, where he will continue to be oversee all FOX marketing functions, as well as entertainment publicity, corporate communications and talent relations, creative services, and internal corporate marketing, promotion and special projects. "Joe is the best marketing executive in the industry and richly deserves this promotion," said Peter Rice, Chairman of Entertainment for Fox Networks Group, in a statement. "His groundbreaking campaign for GLEE demonstrates Joe’s formidable combination of strategic, creative and leadership skills. We are all thrilled he will be here with us at FOX for many more years." [Editor: congratulations, Joe!] (via press release)

Elsewhere, CW publicity chief Paul McGuire has been named SVP of worldwide corporate communications at Warner Bros. Entertainment, where he will replace Scott Rowe (who himself is moving up to the top seat at the Warner Bros. Television Group). He'll report to Susan Fleishman and "will continue to serve as an adviser to the CW's communications team, working closely with his longtime lieutenants, such as Paul Hewitt and Pamela Morrison," according to Variety's Michael Schneider. (Variety)

The seventh season premiere of Bravo's Top Chef was 27 percent off from its 2009 season opener, luring 1.8 million viewers overall. [Editor: I would agree with The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd: the brand has definitely been diluted by the addition of spinoffs to the mix... and I don't think Bravo did the series any favors by rushing the flagship back on the air the week after Top Chef Masters wrapped.] (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Stay tuned.


SamSee said…
It's so sad that Parks & Rec isn't coming back for a full season as it's one of the best comedies on TV right now. Honestly, I enjoyed this past season of Parks & Rec more than 30 Rock, which used to be my favorite show.

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