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BuzzFeed: "16 New And Returning TV Shows Worth Watching This Summer"

Lee Pace in an ’80s computer-programming drama, a Victorian horror mash-up, sex researchers, Jack Bauer, Louie, and female prisoners? Check, check, check, check, check, and check. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, "16 New And Returning TV Shows Worth Watching This Summer," in which I round up 16 new and returning shows that are worth watching (or at least checking out) this summer, including Penny Dreadful, Halt and Catch Fire, 24: Live Another Day, Rectify, Last Tango in Halifax , and more. Continue reading at BuzzFeed...

The Daily Beast: "11 Best TV Politicians: Parks and Rec, The West Wing, 24 & More"

In honor of July 4, I picked my 11 most beloved politicos on television, from Leslie Knope ( Parks and Rec ) and Clay Davis ( The Wire ) to David Palmer ( 24 ) and Sigourney Weaver’s Elaine Barrish in USA’s upcoming miniseries Political Animals . Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "11 Best TV Politicians: Parks and Rec, The West Wing, 24 & More," in which I pick out 11 of the best, most memorable, or all-around unforgettable fictional politicians on television (plus one out there bizarre choice). While Garry Trudeau and Robert Altman’s short-lived mockumentary Tanner ’88 may have been one of the first television shows to focus squarely on the democratic process in action, shows as diverse as The Wire, Parks and Recreation, 24, Veep, and The Good Wife have dived into political action at its best and worst. With the Fourth of July upon us, it’s time to look back at some of television’s most memorable politicians, from Parks and Recreation’s new

Casting Couch: Kiefer Sutherland Grabs Touch, Minnie Driver Lands Hail Mary, Jason Isaacs Gets REM

A trio of leading actors are heading back to television this pilot season. Former 24 star Kiefer Sutherland has been cast in FOX drama pilot Touch , from creator/executive producer Tim Kring ( Heroes ) and 20th Century Fox Television. The project revolves around Sutherland's character, a father "who discovers that his autistic, mute son can predict events before they happen," according to Deadline 's Nellie Andreeva. Production is slated to begin in late May or early June, due to Sutherland's Broadway commitments. (He's currently on stage in a revival of That Championship Season .) Touch will be directed by Charles McDougall, who has become quite the go-to pilot director in recent years, having directed pilots for such series as The Good Wife, The Chicago Code, Desperate Housewives, The Tudors , and many others. Elsewhere, Minnie Driver ( The Riches is also heading back to television , this time to star in CBS drama pilot Hail Mary , where she will play

Channel Surfing: Full Season for Raising Hope, Outlaw Arrested, Mary-Lynn Rajskub to Modern Family, The Office Has Glee, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. While the focus so far this season has been on early cancellations, FOX yesterday announced the first full season pickup for this woeful fall season, granting comedy Raising Hope a 22-episode order. News comes a week after the network axed drama Lone Star after just two episodes. "With Raising Hope , Greg Garcia captures a smart take on the working-class family with a great mix of wild comedy and a big dose of heart," said Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly. "The show is running like a Swiss clock, and we're very happy with how well audiences have responded so far -- so we're confident it will build an even bigger audience throughout the season." Meanwhile, the fate of timeslot lead-out Running Wilde is still very much up in the air. ( Variety ) The news wasn't so good for the crew of NBC's struggling freshman drama Outlaw , as the production grinded to a halt after three low-rated inst

Channel Surfing: White Collar Nabs Hilarie Burton, Natasha Henstridge Gets Drop Dead Role, Jim Parsons on Big Bang Move, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Fancast's Matt Mitovich is reporting that former One Tree Hill star Hilarie Burton has signed on to appear in a six-episode story arc on Season Two of USA's White Collar , where she'll play Sarah Ellis, a new love interest for Matthew Bomer's Neal Caffrey, who is described as "an insurance investigator-slash-white collar bounty hunter who has a bit of a score to settle with Neal." Bomer's Neal will quickly find himself enmeshed in a game of cat and mouse with Sarah. Season Two of White Collar is set to launch Tuesday, July 13th at 9 pm ET/PT. ( Fancast ) Former Eli Stone star Natasha Henstridge is heading back to the courtroom, according to Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello, who reports that Henstridge has signed on to a multiple-episode story arc on Season Two of Lifetime's legal dramedy Drop Dead Diva , which returns June 6th. She'll play the "heretofore-unseen partner at H

Channel Surfing: Team Darlton Talk Lost's "Across the Sea," NBC Likely to Axe Heroes, 24, Fringe Preview, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall has a fantastic (and lengthy) interview with Lost showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse about this week's divisive "Across the Sea" episode and the end of the series. "We told the story the way we wanted to. Like David Chase, we tried to make the show to entertain the audience. That was our primary goal," said Cuse about making the sixth and final season of Lost . "We kind of planned this episode to come at this period of time because we actually wanted to take a break after the deaths of these major characters. It felt like this was the perfect time to take a time out from the main narrative. And since this was the final big mythological episode that we were going to do, we felt like it was a good placement for it, and now we'll roll into the finale. We make no apologies. We planned this to be the way it is. Again, it is funny, because there are a lot of people wh

Channel Surfing: No Mr. Eko for Lost Finale, Lost Live in LA, Unhappy Ending for 24, Shawn Ryan Leaves Lie to Me, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Don't expect Mr. Eko to turn up among the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 this season on Lost . Entertainment Weekly 's Lynette Rice is reporting that Adewale Akinnoye-Agbaje will not be returning to ABC's drama series Lost before it wraps up its epic run on May 23rd. "Though the producers wanted to find a reason to bring back the former tailie, EW has learned that a deal could not be reached in time," writes Rice. Akinnoye-Agbaje, who played Nigerian warlord-turned-pious-fake-priest Mr. Eko, had previously made it clear that he would be more than happy to return to Lost , which he departed during the series' third season. "I’m here for [the producers]," Akinnuoye-Agbaje said in an August 2009 interview. "Adewale is open for business. We have had talks about some things they might do for the final season and there are other dead folks coming back allegedly but at the moment it is still a ma

Channel Surfing: ABC Expands Lost Finale (Again), Actors and Execs Talk Lost Twist, 24 Movie Update, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Looks like there's more Lost than we thought. The Hollywood Reporter 's James Hibberd is reporting that ABC has expanded the series finale of Lost by a half an hour, bringing the finale's running time to two and a half hours on May 23rd, after the two-hour recap special, Lost: The Final Journey , and before a special edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live featuring the cast at 12:05 am that night. The decision to expand the series finale was made after executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse completed post-production on the final episode. "The producers of ABC's hit drama have shot so much crucial material for the show's hugely anticipated series finale that the network has agreed to extend the last episode by an extra half hour," writes Hibberd. Which means that we get another half an episode of the series. Lucky, lucky us. ( Hollywood Reporter 's The Live Feed ) STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN&#

Channel Surfing: NBC Goes Undercovers, Lost Leaked Finale Pages, Evangeline Lilly on Kate, Katee Sackhoff Talks 24, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. NBC has given a series order to spy dramedy Undercovers , from executive producers J.J. Abrams and Josh Reims, the first series pickup for the 2010-11 season. Series, which revolves around the exploits of a married couple who both work in espionage, stars Boris Kodjoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Carter MacIntyre, Gerald McRaney, and Ben Schwartz. “Having J.J. on our creative team is a great reason for celebration,” said Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios, in a statement. “In Undercovers , J.J. and Josh have found a breakout couple that is rich in character and brimming with romance and action. We feel he’s found the perfect cast.” ( Televisionary ) MEGA-SPOILER! I won't be clicking over to read these (and would ask that you not discuss them in any specific detail here ) but Italian blog Macchianera has obtained six script pages from the Lost series finale, schedu

Channel Surfing: Tamsin Greig Lands Episodes, Steve Carell Looks to Leave The Office, History Casts The Kennedys, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Cast changes are afoot at Showtime's upcoming Matt LeBlanc-led comedy Episodes , with Thomas Haden Church pulling out of the project due to a scheduling conflict with a film and Claire Forlani being recast after the recent table read earlier this week. But with Forlani out, Showtime has had the luck of landing British actress Tamsin Greig ( Black Books, Green Wing, Love Soup ) to replace her. [Editor: I think Greig is a much better fit and is a comedy genius. Showtime is beyond lucky to have nabbed her. Grieg's Black Books character, Fran Katzenjammer, remains a perennial favorite.] Greig will step into Forlani's role, as the female half of a husband-and-wife writing team whose British series is adapted for American television... and ruined in the process. Showtime has ordered seven episodes of the series, which is created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, who executive produce alongside Jimmy Mulville. ( Variety ) S

Channel Surfing: HBO Renews Treme, Damages May Be Dead, Jared Harris Promoted on Mad Men, 24, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. It took just one episode, apparently, before HBO ordered a second season of New Orleans-set drama series Treme , from creators David Simon and Eric Overmyer. "We would have picked up this show last week," HBO president Michael Lombardo told The Hollywood Reporter 's James Hibberd. "We've seen the first nine episodes it's as strong as any show we've seen. Much like The Wire , the audience is so passionate and so invested. We're about servicing our subscriber base and I believe that people will become addicted to this show. We have to be a place where this kind of excellence is giving space to continue." According to Lombardo, Season Two of Treme is being targeted for a spring 2011 debut, where it will likely be paired with the first season of fantasy drama Game of Thrones . "They should be ready about the same time," said Lombardo. "[ Game ] looks beautiful, the compelling scr

Channel Surfing: "24" Producer Urges Patience, More on Matt Damon and "30 Rock," "Mad Men" Looks to Diversify Emmy Noms, "Grey's," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello talks to 24 executive producer Howard Gordon about this season's ridiculous storyline involving Katee Sackhoff's Dana Walsh. "God almighty there has been a Dana backlash," Gordon told Ausiello. "I understand how it appears [to be] tiresome and lazy storytelling, but I really would betray anyone to try to sit in our chair and figure out how to do 24 continuous, real-time episodes, without using certain devices. I would implore people to be more patient with Dana." [Editor: out of curiosity, I'd love to know what readers think of Dana's plotline...] ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos has more details on Matt Damon's upcoming appearance on 30 Rock, where he'll be playing--gasp!--a love interest for Tina Fey's Liz Lemon and he may appear in more than one episode. "Though 30 Rock 's pro

Channel Surfing: "24" to End, Kiefer Sutherland Speaks, ChloeGate at "Big Love," Elizabeth Mitchell Talks "V" Return, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. It's official: the clock has run out on FOX's serialized drama series 24 . On Friday, FOX announced that Day Eight of 24 would be the series' last, with a two-hour series finale planned for Monday, May 24th. "This has been the role of a lifetime, and I will never be able to fully express my appreciation to everyone who made it possible," said Kiefer Sutherland in a statement. "While the end of the series is bittersweet, we always wanted 24 to finish on a high note, so the decision to make the eighth season our last was one we all agreed upon. This feels like the culmination of all our efforts from the writers to the actors to our fantastic crew and everyone at Fox. Looking ahead to the future, Howard Gordon and I are excited about the opportunity to create the feature film version of 24 . But when all is said and done, it is the loyal worldwide fan base that made it possible for me to have the experience