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Channel Surfing: Adam Scott Heads to "Parks and Rec," "Rome" Heads to Big Screen, "Smallville Renewed," "Lost" Returnee, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Los Angeles Times ' Denise Martin is reporting that Party Down star Adam Scott is heading to NBC's Parks and Recreation , where he is slated to turn up in the final episodes of the season... alongside Rob Lowe, in fact. [Editor: could their sudden appearances in Pawnee be linked?] Scott, who will serve as as a series regular for Parks ' third season, has also signed a first-look deal with NBC and Universal Media Studios, under which he will develop new series projects. Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur described Scott as "brilliant and funny -- and he's funny in a lot of different ways. There just aren't that many people with a comedic range that spans Step Brothers to Party Down ." As for Party Down fans worried that this would mean the end of Henry Pollard, Martin reports that "Scott said he'd be open to coming back to reprise his role should "Party Down" be renewed.&quo

Top TV Picks of 2009

As 2009 begins to wind down, I figured now was the perfect time as any to look back at the series that that have entertained and inspired me over the past calendar year. And what a year it was for the television industry, which was (and is) still recovering from the writers strike of 2007/08. This past year also saw NBC box up the 10 pm hour for scripted programming, a move that hasn't had quite the effect that the network hoped (I do feel for poor scapegoat Jay Leno), while sending viewers scurrying over to cable, which continued to make huge inroads this year. It was also a year that saw comedy make a huge comeback, from the success of FOX's musical-comedy hybrid Glee to the season's biggest critical hit, ABC's Modern Family and the surprising resilience of NBC's Parks and Recreation (hands down the winner of the Most Improved Series award). And a year that saw much beloved series Chuck teeter dangerously towards cancellation, only to receive an eleventh hou

AFI Announces Their Official Selections for TV Programs of the Year

Yesterday, American Film Institute announced their official selections for the programs of the year for 2009. I'm happy that the esteemed board--which included The Chicago Tribune 's Maureen Ryan, TV Guide Magazine 's Matt Roush, Variety 's Brian Lowry, actor CCH Pounder ( The Shield ), and writer/producer David Milch ( Deadwood )--chose to recognize several series that don't get nearly as much love from critics and audiences as they should. Along with noteworthy freshman series like Modern Family and Glee (both of which I expected would end up on the list) and the always sterling Mad Men , the panel selected such unexpected entries like HBO's lyrical mystery series No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency , Starz's breakout ensemble comedy Party Down , HBO's groundbreaking (and sadly often overlooked) drama series Big Love (which had its best season yet earlier this year), saved-from-cancellation drama Friday Night Lights , and Showtime's sensational

Channel Surfing: Sarah Wynter Gets "Damages," "Life on Mars" Creators Developing at ABC, "Party Down" in April, CBS Counts Down "Numb3rs," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Sarah Wynter ( 24 ) has joined the cast of FX's Damages in a recurring role on the series' third season, set to launch in early 2010. She joins the previously reported Reiko Aylesworth, Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, and Campbell Scott. Wynter will play a mysterious "'security specialist' helping a high-level assistant district attorney unravel" a financial scheme; Aylesworth will play the wife of Campbell Scott's character. [Editor: I've also just been informed that "Short's character is a high-powered attorney (family friend) who defends a prominent NY family accused of the financial scheme. Lily Tomlin plays the matriarch of the family."] ( Hollywood Reporter ) Life on Mars creators Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham have been commissioned by BBC Worldwide new drama czar Jane Tranter to write the script for an ABC drama pilot described as a "California cop show with a British tw

Channel Surfing: Kristen Bell and Jane Lynch to "Party Down," Angie Harmon Cast in TNT's "Rizzoli," Two Evicted From "Melrose Place," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Good news for Party Down fans! Kristen Bell and Jane Lynch will reprise their roles as Uda Bengt and Constance Carmichael respectively on Season Two of Starz comedy Party Down , which will launch next year on the pay cabler. Bell is set to appear in one episode of the comedy and Party Down star Adam Scott revealed that Henry and Uda are dating while Lizzy Caplan's Casey is seeing someone else. Uh-oh. Lynch, meanwhile, is set to appear in the second season finale, where the Party Down staffers cater... her wedding. ( E! Online's Watch with Kristin ) Angie Harmon ( Women's Murder Club ) has been cast as the titular character in TNT's mystery pilot Rizzoli , where she will play Jane Rizzoli, a detective who teams up with a medical examiner (as yet uncast) to solve crimes in Boston. Project, from Warner Horizon, is based on Tess Gerritsen's novel series and is written by Janet Tamaro. Harmon's casting lifts the

Hello Starshine: Megan Mullally Lands "Party Down" Role

Pay cabler Starz has announced that former Will & Grace star Megan Mullally has joined the cast of its comedy series Party Down as a series regular. The network, which also boasts such series as Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Crash , and Head Case , made the announcement via the Facebook page for Party Down . Mullally, who toplined ABC's short-lived comedy series In the Motherhood with Cheryl Hines and guest starred on NBC's 30 Rock last season, will play Lydia Dunfree, who is described by Staz as "a middle-aged refugee from a lousy marriage who leaves small town life to move to Hollywood where her 13-year-old daughter Escapade hopes to make it as an actress. While the younger endures the audition process, her naïve and eternally optimistic mother Lydia feels honored just to be among the show business 'pros.'" "Simply stated, we're thrilled," executive producer John Enbom told me via email earlier today about Mullally's casting on the

Channel Surfing: "Deadwood" Vet Gets "Lost," Syfy Expands "Warehouse," Shelley Long Gets "Modern Family," "Party Down," and More

Welcome to your (very early) Thursday morning television briefing. John Hawkes ( Deadwood ) has been cast in Season Six of ABC's Lost , where he will play Lennon, described by The Hollywood Reporter 's Nellie Andreeva as "the scruffy, edgy and charismatic spokesperson and translator for the president of a foreign corporation who is far more powerful than it seems from his position." Just what that means remains to be seen... ( Hollywood Reporter ) Syfy has ordered a second season of sci-fi dramedy Warehouse 13 , with thirteen episodes currently on order for next year. However, Syfy was quick to point out that that number could increase in later seasons. "We took a look at doing 20 episodes, but for logistic and financial reasons," Syfy's Dave Howe told Variety , "it didn't make sense to do that right now, but I wouldn't rule it out." ( Variety ) Holy comedy casting news! The Wrap's Joe Adalian is reporting that comedy legend Shel

Channel Surfing: "30 Rock" Lands Off-Net Sale, Andrea Bowen Returns to Wisteria Lane, Producers Seek Replacement for Lynch on "Party Down," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Liz Lemon still has a lot of life left in her yet. Universal Media Studios was able to negotiate a payout of roughly $800,000 per episode of 30 Rock from two separate off-network deals to Comedy Central and WGN America. Both channels will be able to begin airing the episodes as a weeknight strip in fall of 2011. "Pound for pound, this is one of the funniest shows on TV. The DNA of the show is fabulous," said Comedy Central's SVP of programming David Bernath. "I really believe its biggest and broadest days are still ahead of it on NBC." TBS and E! were also said to have had interest in picking up the off-net rights to 30 Rock . ( Variety ) Andrea Bowen is set to reprise her role as Julie when Desperate Housewives returns for a sixth season this fall but Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Bowen will be back in a major way: as a series regular, citing an unnamed insider with Desp

Channel Surfing: Jane Lynch Sticks with "Glee" Over "Party Down," Brian K. Vaughan Leaves "Lost," HBO to Develop "Middlesex," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Confirmed: Jane Lynch will NOT be reprising her role as ditzy actress Constance Carmell in the second season of Starz's comedy series Party Down due to her involvement on FOX's Glee , where she plays cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. Cabler Starz was said to have hoped that Lynch's schedule could have accommodated both series but they were unable to make that happen. "It looks like I can't do the second season," said Lynch of "blessed event" Party Down . "So I'm not happy about that all ... but I'm in Glee , so I'm thrilled about that." No word yet on what Party Down producers will do now that Lynch is unavailable; Jennifer Coolidge appeared in two episodes of Season One as Constance's roommate Bobbie St. Brown, likely due to scheduling conflicts. ( Variety ) "Y: The Last Man" creator Brian K. Vaughan won't be returning to the writing staff for the sixth

Sun Eggs and George Takei: The Horrors of the Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception on the Season Finale of Starz's "Party Down"

Was it just me or was Friday evening's season finale of Party Down ("Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception") absolutely hysterical and poignant in equal measure? Throughout its first season, Party Down --which will return for a second season sometime in 2010--has proven itself to be a cutting social satire of the wannabe Hollywood set as it explores the morals and motivations of a group of cater-waiters hoping to move up a rung on the ladder of fame and fortune. In episodes scripted by co-creator/executive producer John Enbom , this has typically taken a dark turn and Friday night's episode ("Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception"), which guest starred the always delightful Kristen Bell ( Veronica Mars ) as Ron's catering nemesis Uda Bengt, was no exception, offering an installment that not only shocked and saddened but also made me giddy with excitement. While Party Down attempted to cater a gay wedding this week, they discovered that they weren't the