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Channel Surfing: NBC Pulls Love Bites From Fall Sked, Gervais Offers Carell Office Advice, Neil Gaiman on Doctor Who, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Just a few headlines to get through before the long Fourth of July weekend...

NBC has pulled romantic anthology Love Bites from the fall schedule, pushing it to midseason and using the Thursday at 10 pm timeslot to launch the latest iteration of Donald Trump's reality series The Apprentice. (The series will reportedly either be launched in January or November.) Allegedly the reasons behind the late-in-the-game move: creator Cindy Chupack's request to be relieved of showrunner duries (citing "personal issues"), the loss of Jordana Spiro (whose participation was in second position to TBS' My Boys), and the pregnancy of nominal series lead Becki Newton... who was playing a virgin on the series. (Which, you, know, was sort of a problem. The character will now be reimagined.) Production has been postponed by several weeks to iron out the above kinks. Meanwhile, NBC said that Chupack's decision was motivated by personal issues. "There was something going on with her privately, but it is not an illness, and definitely has to do with some personal stress she's dealing with," said an unnamed Peacock spokesperson. Chupack will remain on board the series as a writer and will work closely with Marc Buckland and Shelley McCrory. "Love Bites is incredibly important to me, and it's been gratifying that NBC feels the same," said Chupack in an official statement. "Launching an anthology series, which breaks the form in so many ways, is a huge undertaking, and I strongly feel that I can be most helpful not showrunning, but writing. … It's just become clear that for several reasons, some of them personal, this change (and a little more time) is what we need to launch this show properly." (Variety)

Elsewhere, NBC announced the return of The Apprentice to the lineup; longtime readers will recall that this iteration will focus on out of work candidates who are looking for a new lease on their careers. NBC was quick to point out that they still love Bites. "Everyone at the network loves Love Bites, but for a number of reasons, it now makes sense to showcase the comedic anthology series a little later in the new season," said Mitch Metcalf, Executive Vice President, Program Planning & Scheduling, NBC Entertainment. "We're extremely fortunate to have a potent show such as the new and contemporary version of Donald Trump's The Apprentice ready to step into the slot and keep our Thursday lineup moving forward from a position of strength." (via press release)

The Office creator Ricky Gervais has applauded Steve Carell's decision to leave The Office at the end of next season, according to a post on his personal blog. "It was expected of me, as executive producer, to persuade him to stay on," writes Gervais. "With syndication in full swing, the more successful the show remains, the more billions we all make. It was tempting, but the truth is, I believe he is doing the right thing. He’s fulfilled his contract and more, and is a huge film star now. (I knocked it on the head after 12 episodes and a Christmas special.) I’d be lying if I said he should do more. He shouldn’t. He should move on, continue to do great work, and buy a new house every time The Office is repeated somewhere." (via New York Times's Artbeat)

Neil Gaiman has confirmed that his upcoming episode of Doctor Who will air as the third episode of the new season, launching in 2011. While precious few details exist about the installment, entitled "The House Of Nothing," Gaiman did at least indicate that the episode, which is reportedly filming next month, will air early in the run. "I think I'll finish this draft of DR WHO (New season 6 episode 3) tonight," wrote Gaiman via Twitter. "A day ahead of schedule. Heavy lifting, but it's faster & better!" (via Digital Spy)

Variety's Michael Schneider takes a look at just what went wrong in the dealmaking between CBS and 20th Century Fox Television over Brett Ratner's drama pilot Chaos, which will not go ahead at the Eye for midseason, despite receiving a thirteen-episode order about a fortnight ago. "Twentieth Century Fox TV's Chaos should have been heading toward production on a midseason order for CBS right now," writes Schneider. "And if this were a few years ago -- pre-economic slowdown and pre-writers' strike -- then perhaps CBS and 20th would have had an easier time ironing out their differences. Instead, a deal between CBS and 20th Century Fox TV fell apart late Wednesday, and options for the show's actors were allowed to expire." The reason: economics. And before you ask: the series won't be jumping to another network as those all-important actor options expired earlier this week, freeing the talent to take other job opportunities. (Variety)

However, several other pilots do remain in contention for midseason as the options were quietly renewed for a handful of actors (though not the entire cast) on several pilots, including Wright Vs. Wrong, Awkward Situations for Men, Team Spitz, and HMS. (No go on Scott Porter-led Nomads, though.) With the exception of HMS, the other projects will shoot new pilots, with altered casts. (Deadline)

Glee's Jane Lynch is heading to Nickelodeon's iCarly, reports Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello. Lynch, who will appear in an episode slated to air during the series' third season, will play the mother of Sam (Jennette McCurdy). (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

The Futon Critic is reporting that FX has scheduled new seasons of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League, as well as new Shawn Ryan drama Terriers, for September, where they will join Sons of Anarchy on the lineup. (Futon Critic)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Blair Redford (Passions) has been cast in a recurring role on the CW's 90210, where he will play Oscar, described by an unnamed 90210 insider as "one part Talented Mr. Ripley, one part young Johnny Depp, and all parts sexy." [Editor: Because that doesn't sound like a publicist at all... ] 90210, which moves to Mondays this fall, returns on September 13th. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that ABC has signed a talent holding deal with Curb Your Enthusiasm's Cheryl Hines, under which she may reprise her role from comedy pilot Wright vs. Wrong opposite Debra Messing in the new version of the pilot. (Deadline)

Stay tuned.


Griffin said…
I think it's great that Ricky Gervais is standing by Carell's decision to leave The Office. Gervais has always known that it's better to leave your audience wanting more so I'm sure he has to respect Carell's decision.

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