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Channel Surfing: Lost Alum Heads to SVU, David Strathairn Signs on to Alphas, Outlaw Nation Lands Its Cast, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that former Lost co-star Henry Ian Cusick has signed on for a multiple-episode story arc on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, where he will play Erik Weber, a graphic artist. Cusick is expected to appear in at least two episodes of the procedural drama and will cross paths with Mariska Hargitay's Detective Olivia Benson. "There might be some flirtation," executive producer Neal Baer told Keck. "Erik meets Olivia when he comes to someone's aid. And then we'll see how it goes. Olivia is devoted to her job and knows that comes first." (TV Guide Magazine)

It's official: Academy Award nominee David Strathairn will star in Syfy's 90-minute action pilot Alphas, according to a network press release. In the pilot, written by Zak Penn and Michael Karnow and directed by Jack Bender, Strathairn will play the "unconventional, eccentric Alphas team leader" Dr. Leigh Rosen. Here's what the press release had to say about his character: "Though he comes across as somewhat of an absent-minded professor at times, he is also a cunning and manipulative power-player willing to bend the rules in pursuit of his objectives and in support of his team." Production begins next month in Toronto. (via press release)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Luke Grimes (Brothers & Sisters) and Haley Bennett (Marley & Me) have been cast opposite Mary Steenburgen in FX's Nashville-set crime drama pilot Outlaw Country, which will be directed by Michael Dinner. Grimes will play Eli Larkin, described as "a half-cowboy, half-modern guy who tries to get out of the crime ridden life he has grown accustom to in order to help his siblings, however he finds out that it is much harder than he expected." Bennett will play Annabel Lee, described as "a gorgeous country singer who is living in the shadow of her overprotective mother (Steenburgen)." (Deadline)

SPOILER! Some Bones scoop for those of you deprived of the FOX procedural this summer, courtest of's Mickey O'Connor and Adam Bryant. Asked about whether Booth and Brennan will be apart when Bones returns this fall, this is what the editors had to say: "It's looking that way, particularly now that we know that Booth will meet his new love interest, a journalist, when she's embedded with his unit in Afghanistan. In a seemingly Grey's Anatomy-inspired Teddy-Owen-like twist, she'll follow Booth back to Washington, where they'll attempt to be together in the real world. And we all know how that goes. But don't blame Bones — she'll be nothing but supportive of the born-under-fire union." (

E! is getting into the dance business. The cabler has teamed up with Ryan Seacrest Productions to develop a pilot that will feature Lady Gaga choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson, along with a group of other choreographers and dancers, in Los Angeles. (Hollywood Reporter)

Torchwood fans, make sure you pick up a copy of the new Torchwood comic, which will make its debut at San Diego Comic-Con later this month. The first issue of the monthly will feature a story written by John Barrowman and will be available at the convention exclusively until it hits shelves on August 10th. (Digital Spy)

E1 has signed on to co-produce AMC drama pilot Hell on Wheels, which revolves around the "post-Civil War construction of the Transcontinental Railroad," with Endemol USA. Production on the pilot, written by Joe and Tony Gayton and directed by David Von Ancken, will begin in August in Alberta, Canada It's widely believed to be a lock for a series order. (Variety)

Recasting going on behind the scenes at NBC's upcoming comedy series Outsourced, where Aussie actress Pippa Black has stepped into the role of Tonya. Elsewhere, Maria Thayer has been upgraded to series regular on Cartoon Network's Eagleheart. (Hollywood Reporter)

Jane Kaczmarek (Raising the Bar) and Kim Dickens (Treme) have been cast in Lifetime telepic Reviving Ophelia, based on the nonfiction book by Mary Pipher, in which they'll play sisters who must help one another raise their teenage daughters. Project, written by Teena Booth and directed by Bobby Roth, will air later this year. (Variety)

Reveille is dipping its toes into the television animation business, signing a deal with Mechem Media to "create animated fare in the signature style of Hanna-Barbera." (Company is comprised of several former Hanna-Barbera executives.) First up is comedy The Gloomers, which will be pitched to networks in the next few weeks. (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX's animated comedy The Cleveland Show is heading into syndication and has locked up deals at Turner's TBS and Adult Swim, where the series will launch in fall 2013. (Broadcasting & Cable)

20th Century Fox Television has signed a talent holding deal with Wilmer Valderrama, under which he will star in and executive produce a new series project for the studio, reports Deadline's Nellie Andreeva. (Deadline)

More changes afoot at ITV Studios, where Lee Bartlett and Remy Blumenthal are stepping down from their posts following a reorganization that will see former Channel 4 director Kevin Lygo assume oversight of the studio. (Variety)

Elsewhere, former Universal Networks International executive Jon Farrar has been hired by BBC Worldwide Channels as VP, programming for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


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