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Channel Surfing: Olyphant to Star in Elmore Leonard Pilot for FX, Sneak Peek at 100th Episode of "Lost," Enver Gjokaj Talks "Dollhouse," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Timothy Olyphant ( Damages ) has been cast in FX's untitled Elmore Leonard project, which is based on a short story by Leonard entitled "Fire in the Hole." Olyphant will play U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens who returns to his hometown in Kentucky. "He has a certain jaggedness, but he also loves his job," said creator/executive producer Graham Yost. "He is like an anachronism: He wears a hat, cowboy boots and a holster on his hip. It's a little bit like he was born 100 years too late." Project, from Sony Pictures Television and Timberman/Beverly Prods., will be directed by Michael Dinner and will start shooting at the end of May. ( Hollywood Reporter ) The Chicago Tribune 's Maureen Ryan has a sneak peek at three scenes from Wednesday evening's 100th episode of ABC's Lost , entitled "The Variable." (Gee, does that title remind you of another famous installment?) All I can say is

Channel Surfing: AMC Renews "Breaking Bad" for Third Season, Lifetime Struts on "Project Runway," CBS Shuts Off "Guiding Light," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. AMC has renewed drama Breaking Bad for a third season, only four episodes into the series' sophomore season, which launched with 1.7 million viewers, a 21 percent increase over the series premiere episode. Series, which stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte, Dean Norris, and Betsy Brandt, will join the ranks of AMC drama Mad Men , also renewed for a third year. ( Hollywood Reporter ) The battle over Project Runway has finally ended and now that the dust has cleared, it's Lifetime who will air the sixth season of the reality series this summer. "I couldn’t be more excited that Lifetime will bring its viewers an amazing, all-new season of Project Runway this summer," said Lifetime president/CEO Andrea Wong in a statement. "As the highest-rated cable network for women, Lifetime is the perfect home for this outstanding program as well as its companion series Models of the Runway . All of us at

Channel Surfing: ABC Kills "Life on Mars," Wolf Has Vendetta for "V," "BSG" Star Gets Talent Holding Deal at NBC, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Is there life on Mars? Turns out not so much: ABC has canceled the US adaptation of BBC series Life on Mars after seventeen episodes. The series, which will (rather unusually) air its five remaining episodes before the timeslot is taken over by The Unusuals in April, will not return for a second season. However, Life on Mars ' producers have been given the go-ahead by the network to write their season finale as a series finale that will answer some questions about Sam Tyler's travel to 1973 and possible return to the present day. ( Variety , Hollywood Reporter' s The Live Feed ) Scott Wolf ( The Nine ) will star in ABC's re-imagining of classic sci-fi series V . In the drama pilot, produced by Warner Bros. Television, Wolf will play Ryan, a man who is keeping a rather dark secret from his girlfriend, according to Michael Ausiello. [Editor's SPOILER note: Said secret is that Ryan is in fact a member of the alie

Channel Surfing: Tina Fey Responds to McFlurryGate, "NCIS" Spinoff Nabs Three Leads, Pilot News, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. 30 Rock creator/star/writer/executive producer Tina Fey has set the record straight about the series' alleged product placement in last week's episode, in which Jack and Elisa (Salma Hayek) declared their love for McDonald's McFlurry as "the best dessert in the world." Fey says that the segment was NOT an example of product placement. “It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the references to McDonald's in last night's episode of 30 Rock were in no way product placement. (Nor were they an attempt at product placement that fell through.)" said Fey in a statement. "We received no money from the McDonald's Corporation. We were actually a little worried they might sue us. That's just the kind of revenue-generating masterminds we are. Also, the upcoming story line where Liz Lemon starts dating Grimace is just based on a recurring dream I have. Seriously, though, it's not produc

Channel Surfing: FOX to Remake "Absolutely Fabulous," Renewals for "Sons of Anarchy" and "Entourage," Three Set for "Washingtoniennes," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. I hope you all watched the second episode of Chuck last night; we need to try to get those numbers up ASAP! Don't break open the Bolly just yet. FOX has ordered a script for an American remake of hit British series Absolutely Fabulous from executive producers Mitch Hurwitz ( Arrested Development ), Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, and writer/executive producer Christine Zander ( Saturday Night Live ). Project, from Sony Pictures TV, Tantamount, and BBC Worldwide America, is the latest attempt to remake Jennifer Saunder's AbFab . (Previous attempts have included a Roseanne Barr adaptation with Carrie Fisher, CBS' Cybill and High Society , both of which were thinly veiled attempts to cash in on AbFab .) This version will shift the action to Los Angeles, where two boozy over-the-hill BFFs attempt to stay hip while earning a disapproving eye from Edina's straitlaced teenaged daugher Saffron. I would have thought that, post- A

Channel Surfing: CW to Stay in "90210," HBO Renews "Entourage," Producers of "Do Not Disturb" Ask for Second Chance, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. I caught up on television-watching last night and finally got to watch Sunday's episode of Skins (Tony really is a manipulative sociopath, isn't he?) and watched some Season Two episodes of 30 Rock but, sigh, will have to wait to watch last night's Gossip Girl until tonight. Netlet the CW has given a full season order to freshman drama 90210 , with 22 episodes slated to air this season. “The successful addition of 90210 has taken The CW another step forward in building a cohesive schedule that defines this network as a destination for young women with shows that get our audience talking—and watching,” said president of entertainment Dawn Ostroff. "We're very excited about the chance to watch this ensemble of newcomers and familiar faces coalesce and grow together as we move forward." (Hmmm, methinks Ostroff may have just saved her job with this one.) ( Variety ) In other 90210 -related news, the drama

Danger Beach: Has "Entourage" Peaked?

I've had a love-hate relationship with HBO's Entourage for the past few seasons. Whereas once I lovingly tuned in for every installment of the bros-before-hos comedy in the beginning of the series, my interest has waned considerably of late. For one, the series seems to have lost a little of its luster (and a lot of its humor) over the past two seasons or so and the antics of its lead characters aren't quite so fun and amusing now that they are considerably older than when the series first launched. I wasn't sure what to expect when taking an advance look at the series' first two installments. HBO is launching the series' fifth season, after a considerable delay (due to the writers strike) this Sunday evening and I sat down to watch "Fantasy Island,"only slightly curious to see what Vincent Chase, E, Drama, and Turtle were up to these days. The stench of Vincent's last botched pic, Medellin , hovers over the action. Vince has gone into seclusio

Channel Surfing: Michael Phelps, Duchovny's "Californication" Problem, Pilot Casting, "Red Dwarf," and More

Good morning and welcome to your Friday television briefing. The weekend is just within our grasps now, so just a few more hours to go. I spent last night watching some pilots for ABC's recently announced series orders --including the Nathan Fillion-starring Castle and ensemble cop dramedy The Unusuals --so look for thoughts on those and more in the next few days. Truth is sometimes just as strange as fiction: David Duchovny, who plays sex addict Hank Moody on Showtime's Californication , has entered a rehab facility to treat... sexual addiction. ( People ) Shawn Hatosy ( Public Enemies ) has been cast in NBC's drama pilot LAPD opposite The OC 's Benjamin McKenzie; he'll play Sammy, a newly married cop who is already having marriage problems. Elsewhere, Kristin Bauer ( True Blood ) has been added to the growing cast of HBO's one-hour comedy pilot Hung , opposite Thomas Jane and Jane Adams. ( Hollywood Reporter ) In other casting news, Olympian Michael Phelp

Channel Surfing: "Lost" Premiere Title Revealed; ABC "Maid" to Order, "Friday Night Lights," and More

Good morning and welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. (Is it really Wednesday already? Wow.) Doc Jensen has the scoop on the title of the fifth season premiere of Lost : "Because You Left." Wowsers, that's a fantastic title, no? You'll have to brave reading through Jeff's write-ups of the Lost panel at Comic-Con and the new Dharma Initiative-based ARG (along with an important message about the upcoming Stand Up 2 Cancer television special on September 5th) but it's right there at the very end of Doc's latest treatise on the ABC drama. ( Entertainment Weekly ) Sigh. Yet another feature film en route to the small screen: ABC has given a put pilot commitment to a series adaptation of the 2002 Jennifer Lopez feature film Maid in Manhattan , about a maid--not the Jennifer Lopez character but a different maid--and single mother who works at a posh Manhattan hotel and falls for a politician who mistakes her for a guest. (I guess those new mai

StrikeWatch: And... It's Over

It's official: the WGA strike, which began November 5th, has finally come to a close, following a member vote overwhelmingly in favor of ending the strike (92.5% to be precise) and getting back to work during the official ten-day ratification process. You can literally hear the sound of relief echoing through Hollywood today as writers return to their keyboards to try to pound out as many scripts as possible in time to salvage the 2007-08 season. "Our membership has voted, and writers can go back to work," said WGA West President Patric Verrone in a statement. "This was not a strike we wanted, but one we had to conduct in order to win jurisdiction and establish appropriate residuals for writing in new media and on the Internet. Those advances now give us a foothold in the digital age. Rather than being shut out of the future of content creation and delivery, writers will lead the way as TV migrates to the Internet and platforms for new media are developed." S

HBO's "Entourage" to Keep Irritating Me (But Not Enough To Get Me To Stop Watching) For Another 12 Episodes

It looks like Adrian Grenier will still be stopped by tourists thinking that Vincent Chase is a real person... at least for another year. In case you still cared about the Hollywood exploits of Vincent Chase and his entourage of hangers on and sneaker fetishists, HBO has renewed the half-hour dramedy for a fourth season of tantrums, threesomes, and Y-chromosome preening. The pay cabler has ordered twelve episodes of Entourage which are expected to air on HBO sometime early next year. Despite a rather lackluster third season, I'll still be tuning in. I just wish that the series hadn't become the very thing it set out to satirize...

The Gold Standard: "Entourage" Returns to Its Roots

There's a new talent agency player in this town, as Miller-Gold (no, it's not a beer) opened its doors last night. Well, on Entourage anyway, which last night seemed to return to the pleasurably scathing Hollywood satire it once was. The fictional agency, formed out of a partnership between Ari Gold and Barbara Miller (the silky-voiced Beverly D'Angelo), announced its intent to go independent, following a meeting of talent agency toppers that Ari likened to a "meeting of the five families." (I was rolling on the floor with laughter at the very bitter slap in the face afforded to, um, small fry agency APA, Agency for the Performing Arts.) With Ari's drive and ambition and Barbara's financing, it seems like Miller-Gold is poised to give ICM, CAA, William Morris et al a run for their money. Fitting too then that things seem to be falling into place for the other members of this Hollywood entourage. Turtle's music managing career is ready to take off, w

"Entourage" to Reach Overexposure on Mobile Platforms Everywhere

In a move that smacks of overkill, mobile service provider Cingular has pacted with HBO to release mobile episodes of Entourage featuring D-Lister Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon). The mini-episodes will only be made available to Cingular customers who also subscribe to HBO Mobile and will be written by Entourage 's writers. (In another deal, Cingular customers will be able download full-length episodes of HBO's Entourage , Dane Cook's Tourgasm , Sex and the City , and Curb Your Enthusiasm .) According to Cingular's official press release , there will actually be a so-called story going on in these mini-installments: “The premise of the made-for-mobile Entourage story is (appropriately): Johnny Drama makes a “cellivision” show. Customers can view a series of short vignettes based on this premise as they continue to enjoy the adventures of the friends from Queens on the Hollywood road to fame and fortune.” Could this be the big break that Johnny Drama has been working

Four Is the Perfect Number After All: HBO's "Entourage"

I'm really not sure about Entourage's new character Dom. After all, it's taken me this long to stop getting annoyed every time that Turtle appears on-screen. But Entourage 's producers have seen it fit to introduce a fifth wheel into the Entourage gang (not counting Ari, of course): namely ex-felon Dom (guest star Domenick Lombardozzi of The Wire ), who made his first appearance in Sunday night's episode ("Dominated"). Whether Dom will be staying permanently is anybody's guess, but Vince has already given him the illustrious job of head of security... despite the fact that he's the biggest security risk since that loon Chapman wandered up to the Dakota. I get the fact that Dom is supposed to invite trouble and shake things up for Vince and the boys, but, at the same time, I can only really handle one annoying Entourage player at a time and that role has been filled by Turtle since the very beginning. That said, it was amusing to see Eric, Drama

James Cameron's "Aquaman" Reels In Record Opening

James Cameron has another mega-sized hit on his hands, landing the "biggest box office splash in history!" HBO, the network behind Hollywood insider comedy Entourage, has taken out a two-page splash in today's Variety "announcing" the $116,844,114 weekend box office for the series' fictional feature film Aquaman , which stars Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) as the underwater superhero . While it's hard to believe that the three-day box office managed to top that of fellow superhero Spiderman 's mammoth bow (despite, um, rolling blackouts in the Valley and the Westside), it's good to know the Titanic director isn't above boasting about a HUGE opening weekend, even if it is for a fictional film. You've got to love meta-theatrical twists. Especially when they find their way into cleverly disguised trade publication advertising.