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Channel Surfing: More on Party Down Cancellation, NBC Dumps Persons Unknown on Sats, Weeds, Big Love, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

Following yesterday's brutal cancellation of Party Down, Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall talks to Party Down executive producer Rob Thomas about the cancellation of the Starz comedy. "No one on our side is particularly shocked by the news," Thomas told Sepinwall about the cancellation. "Frankly, the waiting has been excruciating, and there's a certain amount of relief in knowing and being able to move on." Thomas indicated that the series was heading towards a third season renewal before newly installed entertainment czar Chris Albrecht was brought in. "There's little to no doubt that we were going to get one until Chris came in," said Thomas. "But I do think if we had done better numbers, Chris would've kept us. I don't think Chris wanted to come in and clean house. I just don't think he had quite the emotional attachment that people who had been at Starz through the birth of the show had towards it." (Hitfix)

E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos also spoke briefly with Rob Thomas about the Party Down cancellation and learned that he's working on a new project. "I'm writing a drama pilot set in the world of corporate espionage for Showtime," Thomas told Dos Santos yesterday. [Editor: of course, that came out when Dos Santos asked Thomas about what was happening with a Veronica Mars feature film, so Neptune fans, I wouldn't keep holding our breaths on that one.] (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

If you're one of the few tuning in to NBC's serialized thriller, don't get too attached to watching Persons Unknown on Mondays. The Futon Critic is reporting that NBC is shifting Persons to Saturday evenings at 8 pm ET/PT beginning July 17th. Mondays will now how repeats of America's Got Talent at 8 pm, new episodes of Last Comic Standing at 9 pm, and Dateline at 10 pm. Persons Unknown will air its final Monday airing on July 5th. (Futon Critic)

SPOILER! Looking for some dirt on Showtime's Weeds, which returns August 16th? TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck talks to Weeds' Hunt Parrish about the sixth season, which finds the Botwins on the run. "Nancy would never leave her family behind so we're all on the run together. We pick up and move states. It's cool to see this family outside of their world," said Parrish. "We've only had one consistent set in the nine out of thirteen episodes we've shot so far [the Bowtin's RV]. We're filming on location a lot." Look for Nancy to move from pot into the hash business as well. (TV Guide Magazine)

ANOTHER SPOILER? Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has some dish on the fifth season of HBO's Big Love. "The new season starts shooting July 13, and based on some fresh casting intel, we’ll be seeing a lotta fallout from the Henricksons’ 'outing' as polygamists’, especially at the elementary school some of the kids attend," writes Ausiello. "Maybe Bill will find a sympathetic ear in Richard Dwyer, the Majority Leader of the Utah State Senate and a new recurring character? On second thought, not likely, eh?" (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

The CW has announced its plans for fall, unveiling its autumn launch dates for new and returning series. Up first: America's Next Top Model, kicking off on Wednesday, September 8th, along with new drama Hellcats. The Vampire Diaries and Nikita kick off on Thursday, September 9th. 90210 and Gossip Girl return September 13th, One Tree Hill and Life Unexpected launch on Tuesday, September 14th, and Smallville and Supernatural return to the schedule on Friday, September 24th. (Variety)

SPOILER! TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that Harriet Sansom Harris (Frasier) will reprise her role as Felicia Tilman on ABC's Desperate Housewives next season as part of the return of Mark Moses' character Paul to the series. "We are definitely going to show Harriet on the show," an unnamed source confirmed to Keck. "We will be using her to clarify how Paul got out of jail." Felicia, after all, had faked her own death in order to point the finger of suspicion on Paul as revenge for Paul's murder of her sister, Martha Huber. "I had lunch with (series creator) Mark Cherry who gave me an idea of some of the fun stuff he wants Paul to do," Moses told Keck. "It's going to be a great run and very interesting to see which of the housewives still think Paul's guilty and which won't. And just why is he coming back to Wisteria Lane?" (TV Guide Magazine)

Heidi Klum and reality shingle LMNO Productions have teamed up to produce family reality series Seriously Funny Kids, which will, per Variety's Michael Schneider, "go on location to where the kids are and document their reactions to various scenarios." Project will be pitched to networks very soon. (Variety)

E! Online's Megan Masters talks to Bristol Palin about her guest role on ABC Family's Secret Life of the American Teenager. "I was excited to work with the cast and just to contribute to this show's message," Palin told E! Online's Masters. "I feel obligated [to speak out] because I've lived through this experience...the more I talk about it and the more I can be hands on about it, the better I feel about myself...'m not an actress. I'll leave that up to the experts, but I had a great time here. I don't think I'll be doing any more acting in the future." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared are coming back to television. Well, sort of. IFC has acquired syndication rights for the series, from executive producer Judd Apatow, and will begin airing Freaks and Geeks this Friday at 11 pm ET/PT (along with repeats on Sundays at 10 pm and Mondays at 11 pm), while Undeclared will bow in the fall. (IFC will also air a never-been-aired episode of Undeclared.) (Variety)

Following a successful grassroots campaign waged on Facebook, Travel Channel has saved reality series Three Sheets. The travel series, which follows Zane Lamprey on a beer quest, will shift from the now defunct Fine Living (which morphed into Cooking Channel) to Travel, which has acquired all back episodes and will begin screening new episodes as well. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sundance Channel has hired former Travel Channel executive Michael Klein as SVP of original programming and development. He'll report to Sarah Barnett and be based out of New York. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


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