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Channel Surfing: The Future of Serialized Dramas, Dan Akroyd on Defenders, Outnumbered, Law & Order: SVU Lands Sagemiller, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

Variety's Robert Abele has a very interesting feature on the future of serialized programming, following the conclusion of Lost and 24 (and the narrative burn-out of ABC's FlashForward and NBC's Heroes) last season. Abele talks to AOL Television's Maureen Ryan, NBC's Laura Lancaster, and The Event executive produce Evan Katz about viewer fatigue, commitment, and concerns. "Viewer trust is something you earn by delivering -- it's that simple," said Katz. "It's not easy to accomplish, but when it works, you have something big on your hands... This show is very Hitchcockian in that it's an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances, and you experience the twists emotionally with him," said Katz. "We don't have 660 beats laid out," Katz says, "but you need to know where the characters are going, and those benchmarks are in place. The line is, mystery is good, confusion is bad." (Variety)

Could Dan Akroyd be dropping by CBS' upcoming legal drama The Defenders? It certainly looks that way, as creator/executive producer Kevin Kennedy indicated Friday night at the Paley Center preview event for for the Jerry O'Connell and Jim Belushi-led drama series. We have a lot planned and we certainly have a dream list," Kennedy told The Hollywood Reporter. "The [guest star] we've talked about most recently, and we'll see if we can get it arranged -- it's a scheduling thing and it wouldn't happen until the end of the year if it happens this year -- we want to get Dan Aykroyd together with Jim." (The Hollywood Reporter)

FOX has given a pilot order to a US adaptation of British comedy series Outnumbered, the second time the network has attempted to import the family comedy. (The first time was a 2008 pilot starring Ken Marino and Brooke Bloom, which wasn't ordered to series.) Barbara Wallace and Thomas Wolfe are attached to write the pilot, which will be produced outside of the normal production cycle. The Hat Trick-produced original series revolves around a married couple who are "outnumbered" by their three young children. [Editor: It's also a hysterically funny comedy. The key to the US version succeeding or failing really lands on the strength of the kids they cast.] (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Melissa Sagemiller (Raising the Bar) will take over the role of ADA on Law & Order: SVU, after Paula Patton had to drop out of the role after just one episode thanks to her casting in Mission: Impossible 4. No details were available about her character. Sagemiller will first appear in November. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Well, this might be why NBC hasn't sent it out to press yet... Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Wanda De Jesus has left Law & Order: Los Angeles after two episodes and her part--that of LAPD Robbery Homicide Division captain Arleen Gonzales--will be recast and her scenes in the first two episodes will be reshot. Producers are said to be looking for a potential replacement. They're swiftly running out of time, however, as the series is set to launch at the end of the month. (Deadline)

Entertainment Weekly's Lynette Rice is reporting that Michael Badalucco (The Practice) has been cast in a recurring role on CBS daytime soap The Young and the Restless, where he will play Hogan, described as "a tough bookie who helps Jeff (Ted Shackelford) and Kevin (Greg Rikaart) come up with cash to help pay for Jeff’s nightclub/restaurant, Gloworm." He's set to make his first appearance on October 13th. (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

Lennie James has been promoted to series regular on HBO's Hung, where he previous recurred as Charlie the pimp. Elsewhere, Arie Verveen (Cold Case) has been cast in a six-episode story arc on FX's Sons of Anarchy, where he will play Liam O'Neill, described as "a high-ranking member of a motorcycle club in Belfast, Northern Ireland." (Hollywood Reporter)

Let them eat (period) cake? Mad Men writers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton have been hired to write the scripts for 12-episode period drama Versailles, an English-language French production that is currently looking for British or American production partners. Former HBO executive Anne Thomopoulos is executive producing the project, which revolves around the court of King Louis XIV, for Canal Plus. (Variety)

Lifetime has given a greenlight to telepic Unanswered Prayers, an adaptation of the Garth Brooks song, which will star Samantha Mathis, Eric Close, and Madchen Amick. Telepic, from Sony Pictures Television, will premiere in November. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC's marketing co-head Mike Benson has stepped down from his position as newly minted ABC entertainment president Paul Lee looks to put his own imprimatur on the Alphabet's brand. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


wdavi said…
I'm sorry to say that lat night's "The Event" failed to deliver. A curious mix of non-original flashback and flash-forwards. Think Lost, the dearly departed Damages, and several others.

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