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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, c

Channel Surfing: WBTV Developing Sandman, JJ Abrams' Alcatraz, Evil Wheaton Back to Big Bang, Free Agents, True Blood, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Hollywood Reporter 's Borys Kit and James Hibberd are reporting that Warner Bros. Television is in the process of acquiring television rights to Neil Gaiman's DC/Vertigo comic series "Sandman" with the view of adapting it as an ongoing television series. Among the contenders to tackle the project: Supernatural creator Eric Kripke. It's not the first time that Hollywood has courted the mythopoeic comic series: HBO nearly had a version in development at one time with James Mangold attached; Roger Avery attempted to get a feature film version off the ground in the mid-90s. It's still early days for the project as Kripke is said to be cautious about treading on such hallowed ground and attempting to translate the deeply complex and layered narrative for television. [Editor: Personally, I'd rather that Kripke and WBTV didn't: the plot of "Sandman" isn't a strict narrative in the tradition

Channel Surfing: TNT Renews Southland, Legend of the Seeker Axed, FX Heads to Outlaw Country, Royal Pains, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. In a surprise move, cabler TNT has ordered a third season of hyper-realistic cop drama Southland , commissioning ten episodes that will launch in January 2011. " Southland is a challenging, visceral show that engages viewers with its immersive style, provocative storylines and complex characters," said Michael Wright, EVP/head of programming, for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies, in a statement. "These qualities have made Southland a favorite among critics and appointment viewing for an extremely loyal audience." It's a sign of support from the cabler, which picked up the drama series after it was cancelled by NBC before it had even aired a single episode of its second season. TNT aired the six-episode sophomore season run earlier this year. [It's noted in this Variety article that the median viewer age of Southland --47--is younger than any other series on the channel.] (via press release) Entertai

Channel Surfing: Chuck's Renewal Chances Looking Up, Glee Circles Britney Spears Episode, Parks and Recreation, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that a potential fourth season of NBC's Chuck is looking more and more likely. While we shouldn't breath a collective sigh of relief just yet, Ausiello speaks to an unnamed source close to the production who tells him that it's "looking good" that NBC will renew the Warner Bros. Television-produced action-comedy for another season, bumping the series' position on the Bubble Show Scorecard from "could go either way" to "safe bet." Still, it's important to note that a final decision about Chuck 's ultimate fate at the network won't be made for several more weeks... ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) Additionally, Ausiello also has a first-look video at the May 3rd episode of Chuck (entitled "Chuck Versus the Role Models"), which features an homage to Hart to Hart and features guest stars Fred Wil

Channel Surfing: "Lost" Producers Talk Candidates, Nolte Circles HBO's "Luck," Cavanagh Lands "Edgar Floats," Delany Deal Done for "Body," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. TVGuide.com's Natalie Abrams talks to Lost executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse about candidates, numbers, and the flash-sideways. "The concept of the candidates is really central to the final season of the show," Cuse told Abrams. "Jacob is dead so that leaves a significant problem for the people on the island. Who is destined to be the person who is protecting this place?" Lindelof went further, stating that we'll get answers in the next few weeks about why these particular people have been brought to the island. "One of the big questions of this show is: Why were these people brought to this island?" said Lindelof. "At least now we have some sense — if Jacob is responsible for bringing them there — that it has something to do with the fact that he's been observing them for quite some time. We now have information that he had this lighthouse, that he was ab

HBO Renews "True Blood," "Hung," and "Entourage," Others Still Up in the Air

HBO's Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo took to the stage yesterday at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Pasadena that HBO had locked in its entire current Sunday night lineup for additional seasons next summer. The pay cabler has officially renewed True Blood for a third season, Hung for a second season, and Entourage for a staggering seventh season. All will return to the lineup next summer rather than premiering earlier. " True Blood , Hung , and Entourage will all be coming back next summer and we're very excited about it." Lombardo told the press. "So stay tuned for next June." The duo, in an executive session at the aforementioned TCA panel, also relayed information about HBO's other crop of series and whether we could expect to see them return or not, with the fate of several series still very much up in the air. Curb Your Enthusiasm returns September 20th with a new series and will be slotted together with new co

Channel Surfing: Syfy Discovers "Alien Nation," ABC Falls for "Defying Gravity," "Castle" Novel Out Next Month, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Syfy is developing a new incarnation of Alien Nation , the 1988 feature film that spun off into a FOX drama, with writer/executive producer Tim Minear ( Firefly, Drive ). The project, from Fox21, will tell the story of the partnership between a veteran police officer and an alien detective in the Pacific Northwest as the two races attempt to live side-by-side on Earth following the aliens' arrival and efforts to assimilate into human society. The new version will include a mythology that will unfold over time and will use contemporary issues, such as immigration, racism, terrorism, and paranoia, in its storytelling. "It's very much in keeping with what we've been looking to do -- find themes that are more than just hard sci-fi, something that feels contemporary and relevant and invites a broad audience in," said Syfy original programming EVP Mark Stern. "It's genre mixed with procedural mixed with fu

Talk Back: HBO's "Hung"

Ah, the death of the American dream. You read my advance review of the first four episodes of HBO's Hung , which premiered last night after True Blood , but now that it's aired, I'm curious to know what you thought of the Dmitry Lipkin/Colette Burson-created dramedy series. Did you buy Thomas Jane as a sad sack high school basketball coach and fallen golden boy forced to rely on his, er, sizable endowment in order to make ends meet? Did you think that he and Tanya (Jane Adams) would have fallen into bed and into business together as quickly as they did? Do you think their Happiness Consultant idea has any chance of survival in these tough economic times? Did you wonder whether Ray and Jessica (Anne Heche) were ever happy together? And, most importantly, will you be tune in again to watch another episode? Talk back here.

Dreamers and Schemers: An Advance Review of the First Four Episodes of HBO's "Hung"

"There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby" With the economy tanking and pink slips becoming an ubiquitous confetti in cities across America, it's no surprise that many creators are mining the potential death of the American dream for dramatic potential. Throughout his career, writer/executive producer Dmitry Lipkin has succeeded at showing the dark side of that dream. In his short-lived (albeit much missed) FX series The Riches , Lipkin used a family of Travelers, the ultimate modern society outsiders, as a means for exploring just what materialism and suburban trappings meant to the psychic landscape. In Hung , the new HBO series Lipkin co-created with Colette Burstein, the subject of the American dream looms large. This time, the focus is on Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane), a down-on-his-luck Michigan basketball coach/high school history teacher whose life is literally falling down around h

Channel Surfing: Stephen Moyer Talks "True Blood," Madeline Zima Suits Up for "Heroes," Rehearsals to Begin on Final "Gavin & Stacey" Season, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. E! Online's Watch with Kristin caught up with True Blood star Stephen Moyer, who plays vampire Bill Compton on the HBO supernatural drama, to talk about Season Two, which kicks off on June 14th. "There's no getting away from the fact that Bill is a vampire. He can't wish to be anything else, because he's a vampire, but he's a vampire who wants to live a human life," said Moyer about his character. "Actually, in fact, he wishes not for a human life, but for a moral life. It's not that he doesn't want to feed on blood, it's that he doesn't want it to involve killing—but in his first season he kills as many people as the murderer. That was something that was very present in our minds. He has that blood lust, he has that very strong sense of right and wrong. If somebody f--s him off, he's going to take them out. He's torn. He's not going to do it just for the sake of it.

Channel Surfing: Westfeldt and Boyd Clock in for "24," Grillo-Marxuach Bound for "Day One," "Doctor Who" Feature in Development, "Buffy," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Jennifer Westfeldt ( Grey's Anatomy ) and John Boyd ( The Notorious Bettie Page ) have been cast in Day Eight of FOX drama series 24 . Westfeldt will recur as journalist Meredith Reed, an ambitious writer who has ties to Middle East leader Arman Hashemi (Anil Kapoor), who arrives in the U.S. on a peacemaking mission. Boyd, meanwhile, will be a series regular and will play CTU analyst Jonah Schwartz. ( Hollywood Reporter ) The Middleman creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach has joined the writing staff of NBC's upcoming sci-fi series Day One, where he will serve as writer/co-executive producer. Also joining the writing staff, according to series creator Jesse Alexander (who broke the news via Twitter): Kings ' Erik Oleson, and Angela Kang. ( io9 ) BBC Films has confirmed that a big screen version of Doctor Who is being developed and that development of a script is currently underway. It's unclear whether inbound showru