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Channel Surfing: FOX Nabs J.J. Abrams' Alcatraz, House Lands Candace Bergen, ABC Waxes Over Prince of Tides, Boardwalk Empire, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

No surprise: J.J. Abrams and Elizabeth Sarnoff's hotly desired Alcatraz--from studio Warner Bros. Television--is headed to FOX after the network gave a pilot order to the project, which revolves around the infamous San Francisco island prison that was shut down in 1963... and once housed such inmates as Al Capone and the Bird Man himself. Abrams is no stranger to FOX: the network currently airs Fringe, which he co-created with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. (Variety)

How's this for kick-ass casting? Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Candace Bergen (Boston Legal) has signed on to a multiple-episode story arc on FOX's medical drama House, where she will play the mother of Lisa Edelstein's Cuddy. Bergen's first appearance is slated to air in November. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Lowenstein... Personally, I'm not sure what to make of this. ABC is reportedly developing a series based on Pat Conroy's novel "The Prince of Tides," which was previously adapted into a 1991 feature film starring Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand. Project, from Sony Pictures Television, revolves around "a married Southern football coach from an abusive and dysfunctional family who falls in love with a New York psychiatrist." Conroy will serve as a non-writing consultant on the project, which will be written by Bob Brush and Mel Harris, who will executive produce alongside Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, Mitch Hurwitz, and Craig Anderson. (Hollywood Reporter)

Vulture's Lane Brown interviews Boardwalk Empire's Michael Kenneth Williams--best known for his brilliant turn as stickup artist Omar on HBO's The Wire--about his role as the real-life Chalky White in the period gangster drama. "Yeah, it’s pretty cool," said Williams about Chalky's amazing wardrobe. "Omar didn’t really care what he wore. He’d probably wear just a vest and a trench coat and a shotgun and a do-rag. Chalky definitely is a well-tailored man. All the suits are hand-tailored by Martin Greenfield. He’s an amazing tailor from Brooklyn. It’s a real honor to have him dress me. You put those clothes on and you walk on set, you’re definitely in character. You feel the clothes. It’s amazing." (Vulture)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that ex-Cold Case star (and former Wonderfalls mainstay) Tracie Thoms has been cast in FOX's Human Target, where she will guest star Michelle, the ex-wife of Chi McBride's Winston, in the second season's fifth episode, slated to air in November. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Lou Diamond Philips (Stargate: Universe) has been cast in Lifetime's untitled Josh Berman drama pilot, where he will play a police lieutenant and the boss to Sherry Stringfield's Molly Collins and Jamie-Lynn Sigler's Brooke Kross. Elsewhere, Dylan Baker (The Good Wife) has been cast in a potentially recurring role on USA's Burn Notice, where he will play Max, a power broker who could hold Michael's fate in his hands. He'll first appear in the fourth season finale and could return in Season Five. (Deadline)

CBS has given a script order to an untitled New Jersey crime drama pilot from writer/producer Gary Lennon (Justified). Project, from CBS Television Studios, revolves around the first female police chief of Newark who "must battle crime and law-enforcement corruption as well as a difficult home life," and will be executive produced by Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman. (Hollywood Reporter)

Lifetime has ordered four-hour miniseries Marry Me, which will star Lucy Liu, Steven Pasquale, Bobby Cannavale, Enrique Murciano, and Annie Potts. Project, from Sony Pictures Television, revolves around a woman (Liu) looking for Mr. Right. (Variety)

File this under sick and wrong. The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd is reporting that E! has given a series order to reality competition series Bridalplasty, in which "brides-to-be compete in wedding-themed challenges to win extensive surgical procedures" with "the winner [receiving] the chance to choose a plastic surgery procedure from her 'wish list.' She's given the procedure immediately, and results are shown at the start of the following week's episode." [Editor: Color me absolutely disgusted.] Project will be hosted by Shanna Moakler and executive produced by Guilana Rancic, Mark Cronin, and Cris Abrego. (Hollywood Reporter)

TLC renewed a brace of series yesterday, giving pickups to Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, Four Weddings, Strange Sex, Toddlers and Tiaras, and I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


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