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Channel Surfing: Justin Kirk Gets "Modern Family," "Top Chef Masters," Leslie Hope Returns to "The Mentalist," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday television briefing. TV Guide Magazine 's Will Keck is reporting that Weeds ' Justin Kirk has landed a guest starring role on ABC's Modern Family but says that there is potential that he could recur later this season or next. Kirk will play Lee Keizler, the "gung-ho and athletic boss" of Jesse Tyler Ferguson's Mitchell, who quits his stressful law job to become legal counsel for clothing line owned by Kirk's Lee. ( TV Guide Magazine ) Bravo has unveiled the 22 master chefs who will be competing for the top prize on Season Two of Top Chef Masters , which is set to premiere on Wednesday, April 7th. Those chefs include: Jody Adams, Govind Armstrong, Graham Elliot Bowles, Jimmy Bradley, David Burkey, Wylie Dufresne, Susan Feniger, Debbie Gold, Carmen Gonzalez, Maria Hines, Susur Lee, Ludo Lefebvre, Tony Mantuano, Rick Moonen, Mark Peel, Monica Pope, Thierry Rautureau, Marcus Samuelsson, Ana Sortun, Rick Tramonto, Jerry Traunfeld,

Channel Surfing; HBO Renews "Big Love," Elizabeth Mitchell Talks "Lost," Cynthia Watros Heads to "House," "V" Adds Cast, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Break out the carrot and raisin salad (and mix up some fry sauce)! HBO has renewed drama series Big Love for a fifth season, with ten episodes set to air next winter. The long-running drama series has been on a roll of late, with ratings up 13 percent among viewers this season and some well-earned awards recognition, with Chloe Sevigny walking away with a Golden Globe for her performance as Nicki. "We've taken the show deeper and darker over the last couple of seasons," said executive producer Mark V. Olsen, "and we're overjoyed that HBO has come along with us." Production is expected to begin on Season Five in June or July. ( Variety ) E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos and Jennifer Godwin have an interview with V and Lost star Elizabeth Mitchell. "I feel really bad for Juliet all the time," Mitchell told E! "I feel like, you know, karmically, maybe she's due, because when she was

Channel Surfing: Maria Bello Finds "Emergency Sex" for HBO, NBC Gets "The Cape" and "Outsourced," Leno on Oprah, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Maria Bello, Simon Beaufoy, and Russell Crowe have teamed up to develop HBO drama project Emergency Sex , based on Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson's nonfiction book "Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story From Hell on Earth," about "the larger-than-life exploits of expatriate nongovernment-organization workers who find their sanity tested in the face of atrocities, loneliness and primal desires." Bello ( A History of Violence ) will star in the project, which is being adapted by Simon Beaufoy ( Slumdog Millionaire ), who will executive produce with Bellow, Russell Crowe, and John Carrabino. ( Hollywood Reporter ) NBC has handed out pilot orders to two projects, both hailing from Universal Media Studios. One-hour drama The Cape , from writer Thomas Wheeler ( Empire ) and BermanBraun, revolves around an ex-cop in Los Angeles who is framed and sets out to become a masked vigil

Channel Surfing: "Lost" Start Could Be Delayed, Paley Festival, USA Locks "Covert Affairs," ABC Orders More "Cougar Town," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. The start date for Lost 's sixth and final season could be in peril, according to The Wrap's Josef Adalian, who is reporting that the White House is considering using January 26th or February 2nd--the launch date for Season Six of Lost --for President Obama's State of the Union address. The move would require ABC to shift back the start of Season Six, which the network would be particularly loath to do, considering the amount of marketing coin spent on publicizing the February 2nd start. "The good news, according to sources, is that the White House hasn't decided to press the button on the Feb. 2 idea," writes Adalian. "No doubt ABC has made its displeasure with the date very clear." ( The Wrap's TVMoJoe ) The Paley Center for Media have announced several more series being feted at this year's William S. Paley Television Festival. Lost, Modern Family, Dexter, and Curb Your Enthusiasm wi

Channel Surfing: "Gavin and Stacey" Heads to ABC, Nelsan Ellis Talks "True Blood" FInale, "Bones" Flashback Possible for 100th Episode, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. ABC is developing a US adaptation of British hit comedy series Gavin and Stacey , about the romance between two very different lovers from two very different places (in the original it was Essex and Wales) who fall in love over the phone and begin a relationship, against the advice of their eccentric friends and families. US version, from BBC Worldwide, will be written by Stacy Traub ( Notes from the Underbelly ) and Hayes Jackson ( According to Jim ). Elsewhere at the Alphabet, the network has given a pilot order to 18 Years , about a young couple who become parents and must "adjust to their new life as parents -- trading their fast-paced existence for a more domesticated lifestyle," from Sony Pictures Television and writer/executive producers Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith ( The King of Queens ). ABC is also developing an untitled comedy, from Samantha Who? executive producer Don Todd, ABC Studios, and Brillstein Enterta

Channel Surfing: Russell T. Davies Defends "Torchwood" Twist, "Dexter" Animated Prequel for Fall, T.R. Knight Dishes on "Grey's" Departure, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello has an interview with Torchwood creator/executive producer Russell T. Davies, in which Davies defends the latest plot twist in Torchwood: Children of Earth (MAJOR SPOILER alert if you haven't yet seen "Day Four"), which has resulted in some angry fans. "It's not particularly a backlash," Davies corrected Ausiello. "What's actually happening is, well, nothing really to be honest. It's a few people posting online and getting fans upset. Which is marvelous. It just goes to prove how much they love the character and the actor. People often say, 'Fans have got their knives out!' They haven't got any knives. I haven't been stabbed. Nothing's happened. It's simply a few people typing. I'm glad they're typing because they’re that involved. But if you can’t handle drama you shouldn’t watch it. Find something else. Go look a

Channel Surfing: Zuniga Returns to "Melrose Place," Pileggi and Plimpton on Call for "Grey's," Eliza Coupe "Scrubs" In as Regular, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Daphne Zuniga ( One Tree Hill ) will reprise her role as photographer Jo Reynolds in the CW's relaunch of soap Melrose Place in at least two episodes. Zuniga will join several other cast members from the original Melrose Place on the CW series this fall, including Thomas Calabro, Josie Bissett, and Laura Leighton. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Hollywood Insider ) Martha Plimpton ( ER ) has been cast in a multiple-episode story arc next season on ABC's Grey's Anatomy , where she will play the mother of a young patient at Seattle Grace. Her first appearance is set for the sixth season premiere, slated to air September 24th. In other Grey's casting news, Mitch Pileggi ( Stargate: Atlantis ) will reprise his role as Larry Jennings, the chairman of Seattle Grace's board of directors, in the sixth season premiere. ( Hollywood Reporter , TVGuide.com ) Eliza Coupe has been upgraded to series regular on Scrubs nex

Channel Surfing: Katee Sackhoff Clocks in for "24," Dominic Monaghan Presses "Flash Forward," "Earl" Could Live on TBS, and More

Welcome to your (very early) Tuesday morning television briefing. In a rather major casting coup, FOX's 24 has cast former Battlestar Galactica star Katee Sackhoff as a series regular in Day Eight, where she will play Dana Walsh, a "highly respected and down-to-earth data analyst at the new and improved New York branch of CTU" who is romantically involved with Freddie Prinze Jr.'s Davis Cole and has a "skeleton in her closet she's trying desperately to keep hidden." Sackhoff joins such Day Eight players as Prinze, Mykelti Williamson, Jennifer Westfeldt, Chris Diamantopoulous, John Boyd, and Anil Kapoor. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) It's now believed that Lost 's Dominic Monaghan will be joining the cast of ABC's Flash Forward this fall. IGN's Eric Goldman is reporting, citing reports from an undisclosed insider, that Monaghan will be joining Flash Forward and that the actor, who played Charlie Pace on Lost, will &q

Channel Surfing: Helfer, Hogan, Sheppard in "Warehouse 13," "Mad Men" Clashes with AMC Over Ad Break, "Cranford" Returns this Christmas, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Battlestar Galactica 's Tricia Helfer, Michael Hogan, and Mark Sheppard have signed on to guest star in Syfy's upcoming series Warehouse 13 , which launches July 7th. Helfer will play a Chicago-based FBI agent on the drama series, while Hogan has been cast as the father of Joanne Kelly's Myka, with her mother played by Hogan's real-life wife Susan Hogan. Finally, Sheppard will appear as an "enigmatic figure who represents the organization that controls the Warehouse." ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) Nikki Finke is reporting that cabler AMC has told producers of drama series Mad Men that they will have to shave off roughly two additional minutes of content per episode next season in order to insert more commercial ads, a decision which has angered some staffers on the drama series. "That might not sound like such a big deal, but it's galling given how well the show has done, how care

Channel Surfing: FOX Terminates "Sarah Connor," Amanda Tapping Reprises "Stargate" Role, "24" Moves to Manhattan, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that FOX will not be renewing sophomore drama series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles for a third season. While the network has declined to comment on a cancellation, saying that they won't be announcing their fall schedule until May 18th, Ausiello has several unnamed insiders stating that the series is dead. "It's done," said one source. "Everyone has pretty much known for a couple of weeks." Ausiello was told by one network insider, "Consider it canceled." ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) As previously reported, Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, and Gary Jones will reprise their roles from various Stargate franchise series in Sci Fi's upcoming series SGU: Stargate Universe. Also joining them in providing a guest starring role on the first season of the spin-off series is Amanda Tapping, who will repri

Channel Surfing: FOX Orders Six Scripts for "Bones," Rob Thomas Not Optimistic About "Veronica Mars" Movie, "Scrubs" Return Possible, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. FOX inched its way closer to renewing drama Bones yesterday, ordering six scripts for the Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz-led series. While it's not a firm renewal yet for Bones , the script order does point favorably towards FOX picking up the series, which has improved the network's Thursday night timeslot by 43 percent since the series relocated there in January and has bested ABC's Ugly Betty and NBC's My Name is Earl . ( TV Week ) Some bad news for Veronica Mars fans: don't hold your breath waiting for the feature film spin-off of the much missed sleuthing series. Creator Rob Thomas told The New York Post that a greenlight isn't looking likely, though he'll "drop whatever" he's doing in order to make it happen should it materialize. "While the pitch [to producer Joel Silver] went well and I don't think the movie's dead, right now it's looking depressing,"

Channel Surfing: "Chuck" On the Bubble for Renewal, "Seinfeld" Cast Members Reunite for "Curb," "Life on Mars" Will Get Different Ending, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Variety 's Michael Schneider takes a look at the current batch of network series that are on the bubble for renewal next season, including NBC's Chuck and Life and FOX's Lie to Me and Dollhouse . Chuck co-creator Josh Schwartz is pitching a "game-changing" season finale to NBC execs in the next few weeks but its chances for renewal will "mostly be up to how well those shows perform during the final weeks of the season -- and how all those pilots look once the nets head into the screening room." Complicating matters for Chuck is the reduction of primetime real estate at the network, with The Jay Leno Show taking five of its primetime hours this fall. ( Variety ) This, that, and the other: The cast of Seinfeld --Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards--appear with co-creator Larry David in a multiple-episode story arc on Curb Your Enthusiasm 's seventh seaso