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Channel Surfing: Addison Returns to Seattle Grace, Ricky Gervais Considers "Office" Drop-in, "Knight Rider" Gets Retooled, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. I hope you all tuned in to the launch of HBO's new comedy series Summer Heights High ; I've already seen the series several times but tuned in once again (it's just that funny) and also caught upon Skins (how cute was Chris' drawing of him and Jal?) and The Amazing Race . Kate Walsh's Addison Montgomery will return to Seattle Grace... at least as part of a multiple-episode crossover story between Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice that's scheduled to air during February sweeps. ( TV Guide ) FOX has delayed the start of animated comedy The Cleveland Show , a spinoff of Family Guy , until next fall. But the network has also ordered an additional nine episodes for Cleveland , bring its episodic total to a full 22 for the 2009-10 season. If that weren't enough Cleveland -centric news, Arianna Huffington has been added to the cast. ( Variety ) Less than four months after premiering, NBC's Knight Ri

Channel Surfing: Alexis Denisof Heads to "Private Practice," Jessica Walter, Starz Plots "Spartacus," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. It's currently freezing here in LA (well, relatively speaking anyway) but I am still shaking after last night's season finale of Mad Men , not to mention another shocking installment of Skins . (Poor Sid.) Former Angel star Alexis Denisof will guest star in the November 19th episode of ABC's Private Practice , where he'll play a father-to-be with two very expectant wives in need of Addison's specialty. In real life, Denisof and wife Alyson Hannigan announced last week that they are expecting their first child. ( TV Guide ) CBS is once again developing some rather, er, unique properties that aren't crime procedurals (did they not learn their lesson from Moonlight or Cane ?). Among the projects currently said to be in development at the Eye: Hex Wives , a one-hour drama from Neil Meron and Craig Zadan about four women with magical powers; 1960s period drama Magic City about an iconic Miami Beach hotel from ex

Channel Surfing: NBC Orders More "Knight Rider," Brody and Tudyk Find "Good Vibes" at FOX, "Fringe," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. NBC has given a full season pickup to Knight Rider , bringing this season's total to 22 episodes despite sagging ratings . And that's all I want to say on the subject. ( E! Online ) CW has ordered a few additional scripts for freshman drama series Privileged , which has struggled to find ratings though has shown significant improvement in recent weeks (it's up 22 percent) despite softening numbers for its lead-in, 90210 . Should the trend continue, it seems fairly certain that Privileged will get a full season order. ( Hollywood Reporter ) One of my main suggestions for improving FOX's Fringe involved giving its supporting cast some real dimension , especially Jasika Nicole's Astrid Farnsworth. Nicole speaks with TV Guide and reveals in this interview that she doesn't know Astrid's backstory either, other than "Astrid majored in music" and is "really, really smart." Not quite the

Salma Hayek Heads to "30 Rock," More "Knight Rider"

Yet another guest star for 30 Rock . Salma Hayek ( Ugly Betty ) has signed on to guest on the upcoming season of NBC's 30 Rock , where she will recur in several episodes as Elisa, a new love interest for Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). "Salma is truly a gifted talent and an incredible force in our industry," said Teri Weinberg, Executive Vice President, NBC Entertainment in a statement. "I've had the privilege of working with her and I can't wait to see what comedic sparks fly with our brilliant 30 Rock cast." "I have been a fan of Tina's talent, both as an actress and a writer, since working with her years ago on SNL ," said Hayek in a statement. "I am so excited to be part of such an intelligent, funny show, as well as working with the brilliant Alec Baldwin and the rest of the cast of 30 Rock ," said Hayek. 30 Rock kicks off its third season on October 30th at 9:30 pm on NBC. In other NBC-related news, the Peacock has orde

Channel Surfing: "Heroes" Suffers, Lifetime Nabs "Mother" Reruns, "Knight Rider" Reviews, "Doctor Who," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. I spent last night watching Fringe (more on that in a bit), catching up on Gossip Girl , and sitting through another dull installment of 90210 . At least it took the bad taste out of my mouth from Knight Rider . (Shudder.) The Season Three premiere of NBC's Heroes (9.9 million viewers, 4.9/12 in adults 18-49) was down 25 percent from its sophomore launch , landing it second in the hour behind ABC's Dancing with the Stars . The slide for Heroes was not unexpected, coming as it did after a season that many fans found creatively lacking and middling and a curtailed season due to the writers strike. ( Hollywood Reporter ) CBS will air the original pilot of new drama Eleventh Hour , starring Rufus Sewell and Marley Shelton, as its opening installment, after all. The Eye had previously announced that it would wait to air the original pilot of Eleventh Hour ("Resurrection")until later in the season but the network

Talk Back: NBC's "Knight Rider"

Did you take a break from your three-day weekend festivities to tune into NBC's two-hour backdoor pilot for Knight Rider ? Were you as bored to tears as I was? Did you valiantly fight against the embrace of sleep? Did you think that lead Justin Bruening (as the spawn of Michael Knight himself, Mike Tracer) was so wooden that he made a redwood look positively animated by comparison and that he and Deanna Russo had no chemistry together whatsoever ? And were you so disappointed by a lifeless Val Kilmer as artificially intelligent car KITT that you (A) wished you could have gotten to hear Will Arnett channel GOB Bluth and purr "Michael" in his gravely voice and (B) hoped Arnett knew how very lucky he was to escape this showcase of mediocrity from director Steve Shill? (Still you know that Silverman will be so chuffed with the numbers from last night that he's just itching to hand out a series order as quickly as possible.) Talk back here.

The Final Countdown: Arnett Off "Knight Rider"

Say it isn't true. Has Will Arnett been replaced as the voice of KITT on NBC's Knight Rider ? Sad but true, gentle readers. Arnett ( Arrested Development 's G.O.B. Bluth) has been replaced on the two-hour backdoor pilot by none other than, um, Val Kilmer. (Whah?) The reason behind the switcheroo, less than two weeks before the pilot is scheduled to air on NBC, is due to a behind-the-scenes conflict with Arnett's other gig, as the voice of GMC Trucks, owned by General Motors. KITT, of course, is a Ford Mustang and the company is "taking an active role in the marketing and branding of the pic," according to Variety . When General Motors found out about the sponsorship deals already in place, they asked Arnett to leave the project. "I was very excited at the prospect of playing the part of KITT in the new Knight Rider movie," said Arnett. "However, because of a long relationship with General Motors as the voice of GMC Trucks, I had to respect

Strange But True: Will Arnett to Provide Voice of KITT on "Knight Rider"

I swear, I cannot make this stuff up. NBC has announced a launch date for its two-hour backdoor pilot of Knight Rider (you can read my advance review of the pilot script here ), which will bow on February 17th from 9-11 pm. While the choice of February is hardly surprising, given the lack of first-run scripted programming for sweeps, what is mind-blowing is the choice of the actor hired to provide the voice of sentient car KITT. You ready for this? It's Will Arnett. Whoa. Yes, I'm stunned and slightly intrigued by this casting. I never, in my wildest dreams, imagined the former GOB Bluth playing the voice of KITT, a decision which will either be completely inspired or just outright wacky. What do you think? Can Arnett fill the shoes formerly occupied by William Daniels? Stay tuned.

Televisionary Exclusive: First Look at NBC's "Knight Rider" Pilot Script

It was with a little trepidation that I read the pilot script for NBC's planned two-hour backdoor pilot for the relaunch of classic TV series Knight Rider . After all, I was more than put off by NBC honcho Ben Silverman's desire to make this relaunch of Knight Rider flavored by a little bit of Transformers , with a K.I.T.T. that was not only artificially intelligent but could also morph into other shapes. Let me put the record straight after reading the pilot script by Dave Andron ( Raines ). K.I.T.T., the sentient Knight Industries Three Thousand vehicle, can morph but it's not quite what I had expected; instead of being able to transform into, say, a helicopter or amphibious vehicle, it can morph into a variety of cars... from its sleek black model to a sportier version or even, as in the script, a frilly pink number. So, not quite the Transformers -inspired reversioning that I had imagined; it's merely a case of K.I.T.T. being able to change its facade. So what&#

Knight to Bishop Four: "Knight Rider" Finds its Leading Man

Wondering who NBC would get to anchor its planned relaunch of 1980s action series Knight Rider ? Following in the footsteps of former soap star David Hasslehoff is soap star Justin Bruening ( All My Children ), who has been cast as the lead in the Peacock's two-hour Knight Rider movie, which will be a backdoor pilot for a possible 2008-09 series. The Transformers -inspired sequel to the original will follow Bruening, who will play the son of Hasslehoff's character, Michael Knight, who is aided in his quest to battle villainy by his artificially-intelligent car K.I.T.T., who can transform into a number of shapes. I've recently gotten my greedy hands on the two-hour backdoor pilot script of Knight Rider , so expect a script review early next week.

NBC to Shill for "Knight Rider"

Hoping that Doug Liman ( The Bourne Identity ) would direct that two-hour backdoor pilot of Knight Rider at NBC? Don't hold your breath. NBC has announced that Liman's feature directing schedule has prevented him from directing the pilot for Knight Rider , scheduled to be filmed and aired later this season. Liman will however stay on the project as an executive producer. Instead, the Peacock has secured Steve Shill (Spike's The Kill Pit ) to direct the backdoor pilot. I can't say I'm all that pleased with the announcement; I thought that the The Kill Pit visually looked like a low-budget Canadian syndicated television series, so I'm not really convinced that he's the right guy to direct a big-budget pilot about a secret agent and his transforming car... What's On Tonight 8 pm: How I Met Your Mother /The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Chuck (NBC); Everybody Hates Chris/Aliens in America (CW); Dancing with the Stars (ABC; 8-9:30 pm); Prison Break (FO

Peacock Resurrects "Knight Rider" from KITT's Watery Grave

OMG. Could NBC really be bringing Knight Rider back to the small screen... with a K.I.T.T. that transforms? Yes, true believers. It's true. NBC has hired Doug Liman ( The Bourne Identity ) to produce an update of Knight Rider , the 1980s action/adventure drama about a secret agent and his sentient car, voiced by that old guy from Boy Meets World . According to Variety , the project is said to be " Transformers -inspired" and NBC has already ordered a two-hour backdoor pilot for the series, which it plans to air at some point later this season. If the pilot takes, a series could be on the schedule by next fall. Limon is open to directing (can't wait to see the budget overruns on that front), should his feature schedule allow him to take the gig. Dave Andron, who wrote Raines for NBC, has been hired to update the series and will serve as supervising producer on the project. One caveat: that Transformers tag. Ben Silverman was apparently so taken with the recent