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Channel Surfing: Eddie Izzard to Tara, Shameless Grabs Joan Cusack, Ron Moore Brings Magic to NBC, Conan, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Eddie Izzard (The Riches) has signed on to appear in Season Three of Showtime's dark comedy United States of Tara. Izzard is set to appear in eight episodes of Tara, where he will play "Tara’s brilliant psychology professor who starts as a DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) skeptic, but becomes fascinated with Tara as a subject, leading him to explore the condition further." Production is slated to begin this month for a 2011 premiere. (Deadline)

Joan Cusack has been cast in Showtime's upcoming drama series (and Televisionary personal favorite) Shameless, where she will play Shiela, an agoraphobic mother to a sexually active teenage daughter. Cusack, who is set to appear in twelve episodes of Shameless, replaces Allison Janney, who appeared in the pilot but had to withdraw from the role due to her commitment to ABC's midseason comedy Mr. Sunshine, starring Matthew Perry. (via press release)

NBC has ponied up a substantial amount of money to secure a new project from Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), with penalties--according to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva--said to be in the $2 million range. Project, from Sony Pictures Television, is being described as "an adult Harry Potter set in a world ruled not by science but by magic." No other details were immediately available, but the sizable commitment made by NBC indicates that they were particularly keen to land this project. (Deadline)

Looks like Conan O'Brien won't be able to be dumped from his new TBS show. O'Brien this morning announced the title for his forthcoming latenight talk show, which launches on cabler TBS on November 8th. It's title: Conan. “I’m just using 'Conan' and dropping the 'O’Brien' because I want to get away from the whole Irish thing," joked O'Brien. (Deadline)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Sharon Lawrence (Desperate Housewives) has been cast in a multiple-episode story arc on the CW's One Tree Hill, where she will play the mother of Austin Nichol's Julian. "Although Lawrence’s character does in fact come to town to help with the wedding preparations, there’s no hard evidence to suggest she’s a monster," writes Ausiello. "I mean, she probably is. I just don’t have any proof." Lawrence will make her first appearance in October. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

ABC has announced the contestants for the latest iteration of Dancing with the Stars, which includes Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, David Hasselhoff, Rick Fox, Bristol Palin, Kurt Warner, Florence Henderson, Audrina Patridge, Michael Bolton, Brandy Norwood, Margaret Cho, Kyle Massey, and Jennifer Grey. The new season begins September 20th. (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

So who turned ABC down then? The Hollywood Reporter's Leslie Bruce and James Hibberd indicate that ABC made overtures to Mark Zuckerberg, Sylvester Stallone, Ann Coulter, Condoleezza Rice, Erin Brockovich, Richard Branson, Tim Allen, and Suzanne Somers... all of whom turned down the opportunity to appear on Dancing with the Stars. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

NBC has renewed reality competition series America's Got Talent for a sixth season. Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel will return as judges, as well as Nick Cannon, who will again serve as host. (via press release)

Bravo has renewed both The Real Housewives of New Jersey (for a third season) and The Real Housewives of New York (for a fourth season). (via press release)

And, in other renewal news, TLC has ordered a sixth season of Say Yes to the Dress, with 18 episodes on tap to begin airing in February. (Variety)

Michael Riley has been named president of ABC Family, replacing outbound chief Paul Lee, who is taking over ABC and ABC Studios. (Deadline)

Stay tuned.

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