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Channel Surfing: Linda Hamilton Ups Chuck, Alfred Molina to Law & Order: LA, Felicia Day Gets Eureka, Burn Notice, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. It's the brief calm between the dual storms of Comic-Con and the TCA Summer Press Tour and there oh so much to do. Let's hit the headlines. Chuck 's executive producers Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak stunned audiences at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend by announcing that Linda Hamilton ( Terminator 2: Judgment Day ) would be playing Chuck's mama Mary Bartowski, the oft-mentioned missing mother of the Bartowski siblings who was briefly glimpsed in the season finale. Hamilton will recur throughout Season Four of Chuck , though producers are being cagey about saying just what Mary has been up to since she walked out on her family, though they do admit that espionage runs in the family. "Hamilton will appear throughout the season, leading Chuck to discover that her life was shrouded in secrets," said Warner Bros. Television in an official press release about the casting. "She was a spy, a CIA agent ... and

Talk Back: What Are You Watching This Summer?

As the Summer Solstice has come and gone now, the hot months of summer are officially in full swing as the broadcast and cable networks bring out their slate of originals and burn-offs during the sweltering season. While I'm sinking my teeth into quite a bit of programming this summer (including HBO's True Blood , Bravo's Top Chef , and my latest obsession, BBC America's upcoming Come Dine With Me ) and catching up on some others (cough, Friday Night Lights , cough), I'm curious to know just what you are watching right now... and what you intend to watch this summer. Are you hooked on USA's dramedies? Can't wait for the return of Entourage ? Trembling at the thought of more True Blood ? Intrigued by Work of Art ? Spooked by the thought of Syfy's Haven ? Head to the comments section to discuss what's on your season pass this summer, what's failed to click with you so far, and what new and returning television series you are most looking forward

Channel Surfing: Julia Stiles Heads to Dexter, Doctor Who Writer Wants Lady Gaga, All Clear Given to Spartacus Star Whitfield, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television update. It's official: Julia Stiles ( The Bourne Ultimatum ) has signed on to appear in ten episodes of Showtime's serial killer drama Dexter next season. Stiles will play "a mysterious young woman who forms a unique relationship with Dexter (Michael C. Hall) in the wake of the death of his wife," according to Showtime. Production on Season Five of Dexter gets underway this month and is expected to premiere this fall. [Editor: any guesses on just who Stiles will be playing and just what her relationship is to Dexter? Let the speculation begin.] (via press release) Could pop superstar Lady Gaga be heading to Doctor Who ? If writer Gareth Roberts has his way, she would be. While Gaga hasn't signed on to appear in an episode of Who , Gareth maintains in an interview with OK! Magazine that he has already thought out a plotline for the "Bad Romance" singer to appear in. "She is no stranger to dressing up an

Channel Surfing: Starz Gets Spartacus Prequel, ABC Pulls Happy Town, Burt Reynolds to Burn Notice, Sarah Silverman Axed, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Starz is heading back to Spartacus , ordering six episodes of a prequel series that will be set before Season One of the gladiator drama series, which wrapped its run last month. The six-episode prequel, as yet untitled, will revolve around the House of Batiatus and its champions and will star John Hannah and Lucy Lawless, as well as Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, Antonio Te Maihoha, Nick E. Tarabay, and Lesley-Ann Brandt, and feature a brief appearance by Andy Whitfield, who is currently undergoing treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Production will begin this summer, with the pay cabler eying a January 2011 launch, clearly an effort to keep the franchise humming until a second season can be produced. "The prequel story maintains the excitement and entertainment value of the first season of Spartacus , giving audiences the engaging experience they've come to expect," said Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht in a sta

Channel Surfing: Two-Season Renewal for Burn Notice, Patton Oswalt Out of Beach Lane, Anatasia Griffith to Royal Pains, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I still have to get caught up on last night's telly as I was out rubbing elbows with the cast and crew of Doctor Who at a BAFTA/LA screening, Q&A, and cocktail party. (Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Steven Moffat, and former showrunner Russell T Davies were all in attendance and all very chatty.) Burn Notice fans will be very happy this morning: USA has announced that it has renewed the drama series for a fifth AND sixth season even before Season Four of Burn Notice has even launches. The two additional seasons will run at least a respective 15 and 18 episodes, with Season Five set to begin shooting in about a year. "Once Saturday Night Live makes fun of you,' how can you not commit to extra seasons?" Jeff Wachtel, USA's president of original programming, told Variety . It also helps that USA will begin stripping the series in October 2011, following a deal with studio Fox Television Studios for the off-net r

Channel Surfing: Sheen Could Leave "Men," "Modern Family" iPad Love, S. Epatha Merkerson to Leave "Law & Order," Sidibe to Host "SNL," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Charlie Sheen might just walk away from his role on CBS' Two and a Half Men . Citing a People report, The Hollywood Reporter 's James Hibberd is reporting that Sheen has rejected a contract renewal offer and is looking to leave the CBS comedy series, which is produced by Warner Bros. Television. "This report came as news to CBS and studio Warner Bros., with some insiders thinking the news might simply be a negotiation tactic," writes Hibberd. "Yet sources tell THR that the People report is no April Fools joke and that Sheen is indeed serious about currently wanting to leave." ( Hollywood Reporter ) Hollywood Reporter 's The Live Feed has the scoop from Modern Family co-creator Christopher Lloyd about why the ABC comedy series' use of the iPad this week wasn't product placement but was in fact just a story-driven plotline. "In fact, there was no product placement," Lloyd explained

Channel Surfing: "Parks" and Procreation for Poehler, Diane Farr to "Desperate Housewives," "FlashForward," Gordon Finds "Prisoners of War," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. The mystery behind Parks and Recreation 's early renewal, said to be due to a production-related issue, has been revealed: star Amy Poehler is pregnant again and the Universal Media Studios-produced comedy will film its third season early in order to accommodate Poehler's pregnancy. "We'll continue production of Season Three as soon as production of season two concludes," an NBC spokesperson told E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos. "And we'll be back next season with new episodes." Which means: Season Three will launch this fall and the cast and crew will likely take a hiatus later than usual... and it means that Poehler's Leslie Knope will not be pregnant on the series. ( E! Online's Watch with Kristin ) TV Guide Magazine 's Will Keck is reporting that Diane Farr ( Rescue Me ) has been cast in an upcoming episode of ABC's Desperate Housewives "as a character who interacts w

Channel Surfing: Syfy Eyes "BSG" Spin-off and "Three Inches," More "Glee," Mia Maestro Gets "Cutthroat," Paula Abdul to ABC, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Syfy is said to be exploring the possibility of spinning off its Battlestar Galactica franchise once more and is said to be developing another spin-off series--besides for the currently airing Caprica --that would this time be set in space. "We're looking for other ways to spin off Battlestar beyond Caprica ," Syfy's Mark Stern told The Hollywood Reporter . "That world is so rich. We're sitting down with (executive producer) Ron Moore and his team. It would not necessarily be a traditional series." No other details were available. The cabler also ordered a 90-minute pilot for drama Three Inches , from writer Harley Peyton and executive producer Bob Cooper. Project, from Fox Television Studios, revolves around a slacker who can move objects three inches with his mind and who teams up with other people who have useless superpowers. ( Hollywood Reporter ) Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello i

Channel Surfing: "Fringe" to Go on Hiatus in February, FOX Announces Midseason Schedule, "Lie to Me" Gets Full Season, "Burn Notice" Renewed, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Just a few headlines to get through today as the Hollywood PR machine begins its annual shutdown for Thanksgiving. Futon Critic yesterday broke the story that Fringe will go on a seven-week hiatus beginning February 11th in order to accommodate the seven-week run of reincarnation drama Past Life . Fringe will return for the remainder of its run on April 1st and will air all-new episodes for the rest of the season. Sadly, FOX has opted to keep Fringe in its Thursday night berth rather than move it out of the line of fire. ( Futon Critic ) FOX announced its full midseason schedule yesterday afternoon, which included news that Glee will be returning with new episodes in April after wrapping up its initial thirteen-episode commitment in December. ( Televisionary ) In other FOX-related news, the network has given sophomore drama series Lie to Me a full season order, bringing the episodic total this season to 22 installments. News

Channel Surfing: Zooey Deschanel Could Guest Star on "Bones," FOX Slates First "Glee" Soundtrack, NBC to Get "More Colorful," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. It seems like the stars are finally aligning. Producers on FOX's Bones are in talks with Zooey Deschanel to guest star on the procedural crime drama in December as the cousin of real-life sister Emily Deschanel's Brennan, according to Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello. "We’ve been looking for an opportunity to get the Deschanel girls together," said Bones creator/executive producer Hart Hanson, "but Zooey’s rockin’ career kept getting in the way... We alluded to [her] having a cousin in Minnesota two seasons ago. I’d very much like to meet her in the Christmas episode." ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) As previously reported on this site, 20th Century Fox Television is teaming up with Columbia Records on a series of soundtracks for FOX's upcoming series Glee . The first release, "Glee: The Music, Volume 1," will contain seventeen tracks from the series' first se

Channel Surfing: Elizabeth Mitchell Talks "Lost" and "V," Gabrielle Union Gets "FlashForward," USA Renews "Burn" and "Pains," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. I had an amazing time at the Mighty Boosh's secret show at the Roxy last night and found myself singing "Nanageddon" as I tried to go to sleep. E! Online's Watch with Kristin has an exclusive interview with Lost star Elizabeth Mitchell, who toplines the upcoming remake of V on ABC. Describing her character on V , Mitchell said: "Erica is a federal agent doing counter-terrorism. She deals with finding sleeper cells and basically eradicating them as much as possible. She's smart and intelligent and all the things that you would want someone who is protecting our country to be. I must have a hero complex—I keep gravitating toward these roles. She has a son, and she's in love with her son, and her son is in love with the Visitors. She has to deal with the fact that she has to save him for the most part. Her husband just left her, so she's a brokenhearted counterterrorist detective." Mitchell a

Channel Surfing: Bryan Fuller Leaves "Heroes" Again, Cross, Jonze, and Arnett Team Up, "Doctor Who," Justin Kirk Talks "Weeds," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller has left his position as consulting producer on NBC's Heroes , just a few months after he rejoined the writing staff of the NBC drama. The reason behind the departure: to focus on developing new series for the network (he has an overall deal with Universal Media Studios), rather than creative differences with Heroes creator Tim Kring. "I'm crafting two pilots right now and it's a lot of work," Fuller told Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello. "It was just too hard to [juggle] Heroes and my development; something had to give." Meanwhile, Fuller told Ain't It Cool News' Herc, ""Development was really starting to heat up, And it appears like I may be writing multiple pilots for NBC so that wasn't leaving a ton of room for Heroes , unfortunately. We crafted some really great arcs for the season that I'm excited to see come to fruiti