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Channel Surfing: Josh Jackson Ponders Vampire Diaries, Lone Star, Blue Bloods BTS Drama, James Marsters' Torchwood Dreams, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Quite a fair amount of headlines and stories to get through today, so let's get cracking!

E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos is reporting that Joshua Jackson is possibly contemplating making a trip to Mystic Falls next season. The Fringe star is said to be weighing a possible guest stint on the CW's Vampire Diaries. "We talked about it," said Jackson about a conversation he had with Kevin Williamson at Comic-Con. "It turns out that he's not making a comedy with Vampire Diaries and it might be too inside baseball comedy if I popped up. But who knows... They're all too handsome." Meanwhile, was Dos Santos able to get any clues about Season Three of Fringe out of Pacey-Con's Jackson? "It picks up literally where it left off last year," said Jackson, "and our show just continues to get greater and more bizarre and strange and disgusting and wonderful every time we put it on the air." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Andie MacDowell is "thisclose" to joining the cast of FOX's upcoming drama series Lone Star, where she would play the love interest of Jon Voight's character, should a deal be able to be closed. Meanwhile, Rosa Blasi (Make It or Break It) has come on board Lone Star, where she will recur as Blake, the "Lady Macbeth-esque wife" of Mark Deklin's Trammell. [Editor: fingers crossed that MacDowell's deal takes; Ausiello indicates it's "98 percent done."] (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that showrunner Ken Sanzel has left CBS' Blue Bloods following "creative tension" between the producer and actor Tom Selleck. "I learned... that Tom Selleck hasn't been accepting the scripts which CBS' Blue Bloods executive producer Ken Sanzel has been giving him," writes Andreeva. "So a standoff developed over character vs procedural visions for the series, summarized to me as 'creative tension.' By midday, Sanzel was still staying with the show. No more. Insiders just emailed me that the former New York cop told the staff late today that he is leaving. There's no exit date yet." Trouble emerged when the star and the showrunner had vastly different takes on the series, according to insiders. "Sanzel's vision was for a compelling crime procedural, whereas Selleck wanted softer character exploration," writes Andreeva. "Sanzel knew the network was behind him. But Selleck wanted to be in charge of the show." (Deadline)

Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star James Marsters is looking to reprise his role as Captain John Hart on Torchwood, which is jumping from BBC America to pay cabler Starz for its upcoming fourth season. "Russell [T Davies is] over here [in LA] trying to get an American version of it done. If he doesn't call me, I am going to find him," Marsters told io9. "I'm into it, just ask Russell." [Editor: I will, seeing as I'm sitting down with Russell T Davies tomorrow.] Marsters, meanwhile, will be seen next season on Smallville and on Syfy's Caprica. (io9)

Ryan Murphy seems open to Neil Patrick Harris returning to Glee, so is the "It's such a tricky thing [because] that's not the network that How I Met Your Mother is on," Harris told E! Online. "So I can't just say, 'Oh, I'll just keep doing Glee's,' because they're on Fox and I'm on CBS. I have bosses that make me sign contracts to keep me at one place for a long period of time, and understandably so. I love the gig, love doing it. They're [the Glee guys] super fun, and they didn't shoot me at the end of the first episode, so if I'm ever able to come back I'd love to." As for Murphy, he too is hopeful they can finesse the relationship and bring back Harris' character for another go-around. "We would love to have Neil back," said Murphy. "We have a little problem that he's a regular on another show. But he's in the Fox family and they help us out a great deal with that. I think we've just begun to see the tip of the villainy for Brian Ryan." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

SPOILER! Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Laura Bell Bundy has been cast in a recurring role on CBS' How I Met Your Mother, where she will play Robin's new co-host on Metro News One and a potential new love interest for Ted. Or at least someone he goes on a date with. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Rosie O'Donnell is heading to OWN. The nascent cable channel, overseen by Oprah Winfrey, will be the home of a new daily talk show hosted by O'Donnell that will launch in 2011 and be based in New York. "Rosie is an undeniable talent who has captivated TV audiences for nearly 20 years,” said Oprah Winfrey in a prepared statement. "She’s a true original, who brings her authentic voice, dynamic energy and pure passion to everything she does." (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

IFC has ordered six episodes of sketch comedy series Portlandia, created by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, who will star in the Portland-based half-hour series. The Lorne Michaels-executive produced series, which begins production this month, will launch in early 2011. According to Variety's Jon Weisman, "Portlandia incorporates a series of absurdist short films featuring Armisen and Brownstein playing different characters, such as the owners of a feminist bookstore, a militant bike messenger and a punk rock couple negotiating a "safe word" to help govern their love life." (Variety)'s Ileane Rudolph is reporting that former Battlestar Galactica star Edward James Olmos will guest star on an upcoming episode of CBS' CSI: NY. Olmos will play a former gang leader whom Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) had put behind bars 15 years earlier who is now released from prison in an episode slated to air in October. (

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Richard Schiff (The West Wing) has joined the cast of CBS' Criminal Minds spinoff, where he is set to recur as FBI Director Jack Fickler. He'll make his first appearance in the series premiere episode, which is slated to air in midseason on CBS. The cast includes Forest Whitaker, Janeane Garofalo, Matt Ryan, Michael Kelly, Beau Garrett, and Kirsten Vangsness. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Just what happened to Ed's pea puree on Bravo's Top Chef?'s Gina DiNunno talks to outsted contestant Stephen Hopcraft to find out about the missing accompaniment from last week. "I know he didn't steal Ed's pea puree," said Hopcraft. "Ed either didn't bring it, or it got lost. I even told Ed I blame myself for it because me, Ed and Angelo shared a cooler that day, and I was the first one in the cooler and pulled some of my ingredients out and maybe I didn't put his pea puree back in. I thought I did. I honestly know Alex, and I know he didn't steal it. And I'm probably the only one who's going to say that, so make sure you write that in big, bold letters." (

Fox Television Studios president Emiliano Calemzuk will ankle the studio in mid-September in order to take on the newly created position of CEP at Shine Group Americas and oversee Reveille. Calemzuk will remain based in Los Angeles and will report to Elisabeth Murdoch. Calemzuk will likely be succeeded by EVP David Madden. [Editor: congratulations, Emi!] (Hollywood Reporter, Variety))

Katie Jacobs (House) has signed a massive two-year overall deal with a host of interested parties, including FOX, 20th Century Fox Television, and Universal Media Studios. Under the terms of the deal, Jacobs will remain aboard FOX's House as an executive producer as well as develop new projects for studio Universal Media Studios before moving to a new production deal at 20th Century Fox Television, which will be targeted for FOX. (Whew.) "It's been a mutually beneficial relationship over the past couple of years," Jacobs told Variety. Jacobs has also earned a blind pilot directing commitment at FOX as part of the deal. (Variety)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Noah Reid (Strange Days at Blake Holsey High) has been cast as the lead of Syfy's drama pilot Three Inches, which revolves around a twenty-something slacker named Walter (Reid) who gains the ability to move objects three inches with his mind after he is struck by lightning. Walter then brings together a group of other heroes, each of whom has a similarly lackluster power. (Deadline)

Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd is reporting that A&E has ordered a sequel to the 1978 documentary Scared Straight!, which it will air as a series of four one-hour specials entitled Beyond Scared Straight!. Project, from executive producer Arnold Shapiro, "will chronicle modern confrontational approaches to juvenile crime prevention" and "focus on a different prison program, following a group of at-risk teens and preteens going through the program and then catching up with them two months later." Specials are scheduled to air on the cabler in winter 2011. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Marc Graboff is staying put. NBC Universal have signed a new three-year deal with Graboff, chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, according to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva, who writes, "I hear the renewal talks went on for several months and Graboff was approached for outside gigs but ultimately opted to remain at NBC where he has been since 2000." (Deadline)

NatGeo has ordered a fifth season of Locked Up Abroad, with ten episodes slated to air in 2011, and announced launch dates for Season Seven of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan (October 8th) and Sebastian Junger's Sundance documentary Restrepo (November 29th). (Variety)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that former BBC Worldwide Prods. executive Tasha Brown as been hired at Chernin Entertainment, where she will serve as the VP of comedy development. (Deadline)

G4 has ordered eight half-hour episodes of docuseries That's Tough!, which will take audiences inside "the toughest high-security prisons, sniper units and bank vaults." Project, from Super Delicious, is slated to launch on October 20th. (Hollywood Reporter)

CMT has officially entered the scripted game: the country music-focused cabler has ordered twelve episodes of multi-camera comedy Working Class, according to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva. Project, from writer/executive producer Jill Cargeman, stars Melissa Peterman as a single mom who moves her family into an affluent neighborhood. Series will premiere in January. (Deadline)

Doug Liman's production company Hypnotic has signed a two-year overall development deal with Universal Cable Prods. Liman is directing MTV's comedy pilot I Want My Pants Back, written by David Rosen, as the cable production studio moves into producing content for channels that are not affiliated with NBC Universal. Among the projects in development at UCP for non-NBC Uni channels: AMC's drama pilot Pushers, from creator Neal Baer (Law & Order: SVU). Liman, meanwhile, is one of the executive producers on USA's Covert Affairs. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


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