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Channel Surfing: Steve Martin to "30 Rock," Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, No "Project Runway" for Jennifer Lopez, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

Steve Martin has allegedly signed on to appear in a guest role capacity on this season of 30 Rock, reuniting Martin with his former Baby Mama co-star Tina Fey (they also memorably appeared in February in an SNL opening monologue). I cannot bloody wait! (New York Magazine)

Speaking of Tina Fey, NBC is staying mum about whether Fey will make another appearance on Saturday Night Live, but executive producer Lorne Michaels is said to have some backups in mind just in case Fey won't be returning to the sketch comedy series as Sarah Palin. I thought Fey was pitch-perfect as the vice presidential candidate and would love to see her return... so long as it doesn't detract from her work on 30 Rock, which launches its third season next month. (Hollywood Reporter)

"In some other dimension are Ben and Charles Whitmore just two drinking buddies playing a video game?," wonders Lost's Michael Emerson. Find out in this spoiler-free interview. (Los Angeles Times)

Ben Silverman has indicated that he is not attempting to flee the Peacock, despite reports to the contrary. "I am so committed to this job," said Silverman (apparently channeling Chandler Bing), speaking at the New York Television Festival and comparing himself to "Paris Hilton." (Seriously.) Silverman admitted that he hasn't managed his relationship with the press as well as he could have. At least he didn't mention the tiger. (Hollywood Reporter)

HBO is developing an miniseries adaptation of James L. Swanson's book Manhunt, about the 12-day search for Abraham Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth with David Simon and Tom Fontana (Homicide) attached to write and executive produce. Sounds like The Wire: 1865. (Variety)

Make it work, people. Jennifer Lopez has canceled her appearance as a guest judge at the Project Runway season finale, due to a foot injury. Rather than attempt to find another celeb worthy of continuing the tradition upheld by last season's Posh Spice, producers have turned to mentor Tim Gunn to act as guest judge, the first time in five seasons that he has done so. (It's about time!) (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

FOX has ordered an untitled animated pilot presentation about a dysfunctional NASCAR family from Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader host Jeff Foxworthy and 20th Century Fox Television. Foxworthy will write and executive produce with Nancy Hower and John Lehr (10 Items or Less). (Variety)

Amy Poehler will leave Saturday Night Live after the November elections to give birth to her first child and then star in the untitled NBC series from The Office's Greg Daniels and Michael Shur. "It's gonna be really hard — Boyz II Men hard — to say goodbye to yesterday," said Poehler in an interview in Men's Vogue. "SNL was dangerous, late-night, last-minute and star-studded, but like any good drug, you need to know when to put it down." (Los Angeles Times)

ABC has signed a three-year deal with Brillstein Entertainment Partners Television, which produces the Alphabet's comedy series Samantha Who? and According to Jim. Company is looking to broaden its slate into unscripted programming and cable; slate includes an unscripted series at A&E with Bob Saget attached and a remake of Israeli series A Touch Away at HBO with writer Kate Robin (Six Feet Under). Set up at ABC: a relationship comedy from David Talbert (First Sunday); The Outlaws, a family comedy from Kit Boss (King of the Hill); and Helping Me Help Myself, a single-camera comedy from Ugly Betty writers Tracy Poust and Jon Kinally. (Variety)

MTV will be ending network mainstay Total Request Live with a two-hour Saturday afternoon special in November. This September marked TRL's ten-year anniversary on MTV. (Associated Press)

Top Gear: from BBC hit to NBC remake. (Variety)

In other BBC news, BBC Worldwide will become a minority investor in Steve Coogan's UK production company Baby Cow in an extention of the distribution deal that the two parties currently have on such series as Gavin and Stacey and Saxondale. BBC Worldwide will continue to distribute Baby Cow's library and develop local productions through its global production centers. (Variety)

Coming soon to CBS' CSI: New York: Rumer Willis as a woman targeted by a serial killer who is killing people with the name Mac Taylor, Nelly returns as an informant, and Julia Ormond joins the cast, playing a new detective. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Sci Fi has cast Preston Bailey (Dexter) and Daniel Newman (Surface) opposite the previously announced David Anders (Alias) and Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica) in its telepic remake of Children of the Corn, set to air in 2009. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NCIS (CBS); Biggest Loser: Families (NBC; 8-10 pm); 90210 (CW); Wipeout (ABC; 8-9:30 pm); House (FOX)

9 pm: Big Brother 10 (CBS); Privileged (CW); Primetime: UFOs...Seeing Is Believing (ABC; 9:30-11 pm); Fringe (FOX)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: 90210.

I was bored to tears by last week's episode, so I'm giving it only one more chance to wow me, especially as Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and Tabitha (Jessica Walters) are on tonight's installment. On tonight's episode ("The Bubble"), Kelly turns to Brenda for help and asks her to replace Tabitha as the director of the school musical (Tabitha herself replacing the previous director) but they find themselves arguing over Kelly's relationship with Ryan; Dixon talks to Nat about a part-time job at the Peach Pit; Annie goes on a date with Ethan.

8:40-9:20 pm: Gavin & Stacey on BBC America.

If my gushing review of this bittersweet (yes, it's literally bitter AND sweet) comedy wasn't enough, why not tune in yourself to see just how wonderful the brainchild of writer/co-stars Ruth Jones and James Corden really is? On tonight's episode, the Shipman clan travels to Wales for a wedding fair and Nessa tells Stacey a big secret.

9 pm: Fringe.

On tonight's episode ("The Same Old Story"), the tenuous partnership between FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble), and his maverick estranged son Peter (Joshua Jackson) is tested when they investigate the death of a woman who gave birth to a rapidly aging baby after only a few hours of pregnancy.

Comments

I can't imagine anyone topping Tina Fey's fabulously funny Sarah Palin.

Very excited about Steve Martin being on 30 Rock. He and Fey are hilarious together.
Anonymous said…
Ben Silverman wishes he was Paris Hilton.
Unknown said…
I don't think it's a good idea for Tim Gunn to be a judge for the final challenge on Project Runway. He has served as a mentor for the contestants and given objective advice. Does this mean he won't be making home visits to the finalists and critiquing their lines before the final show? I think the contestants (except Kenley) would much rather have him in an advisor capacity.

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