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Channel Surfing: FOX to Remake "Absolutely Fabulous," Renewals for "Sons of Anarchy" and "Entourage," Three Set for "Washingtoniennes," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. I hope you all watched the second episode of Chuck last night; we need to try to get those numbers up ASAP!

Don't break open the Bolly just yet. FOX has ordered a script for an American remake of hit British series Absolutely Fabulous from executive producers Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development), Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, and writer/executive producer Christine Zander (Saturday Night Live). Project, from Sony Pictures TV, Tantamount, and BBC Worldwide America, is the latest attempt to remake Jennifer Saunder's AbFab. (Previous attempts have included a Roseanne Barr adaptation with Carrie Fisher, CBS' Cybill and High Society, both of which were thinly veiled attempts to cash in on AbFab.) This version will shift the action to Los Angeles, where two boozy over-the-hill BFFs attempt to stay hip while earning a disapproving eye from Edina's straitlaced teenaged daugher Saffron. I would have thought that, post-Arrested Development, Hurwitz was the prime person to guide this project but, after the disaster that was The Thick of It (and the disaster-in-the-making of Sit Down, Shut Up), I have significant worries about anyone tampering with this brilliant format. After all, remember what FOX did with Spaced... (Variety)

Meanwhile, Summer Heights High creator Chris Lilley is developing a new comedy series with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that is thought to possibly revolve around cop-turned-motivational speaker Phil Olivetti or spoiled Summer Heights High student Ja'mie King. But don't look for Summer Heights High to turn up in a US format reversioning. Lilley reveals that he had turned down "lots of money" to remake Summer Heights High for the US market. "They wanted me to do it again in an American accent - all these terrible ideas," said Lilley in an interview. "I wouldn't let it happen. I spent so long working on the characters, I hate the thought of someone else playing them." (Digital Spy)

FX has renewed its freshman drama Sons of Anarchy for a second season; series has been a consistent ratings hit for the cabler, averaging an audience of 5.4 million total viewers and 3.5 million adults 18 to 49 in its five outings to date. “I think the underlying themes of family and the common man's fight against oppressive corporate greed has grabbed people's attention," said creator Kurt Sutter in a statement. "It's relatable, it's very timely and it's why the audience is coming back week after week. I love the action and the dark places the show goes, but ultimately it's the bigger, more poignant themes that inspire me.”

In other series renewal news, HBO has quietly renewed Entourage for a sixth season. Production will start on the sixth season early next year for a summer launch. (Variety)

CBS has ordered six additional scripts for freshman procedural drama series The Mentalist, starring Simon Baker. A full season pickup could come as early as this week. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Rachael Taylor (Transformers), Amanda Walsh (Sons & Daughters), and Bitsie Tulloch (quarterlife) have been cast as the leads of HBO's comedy pilot The Washingoniennes, from executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker and writers/executive producers Susaanna Fogel and Joni Lefkowitz. Series, based on a semi-autobiographical book by Jessica Cutler, will follow the exploits of three 28-year-old women working on Capitol Hill. Also cast: David Furr. (Hollywood Reporter)

Put this in the unsurprising category: CW's latest experiment in selling off its real estate on Sunday nights to Media Rights Capital has proven a resounding failure, generating only meager numbers for the lineup, which included In Harm's Way, Valentine, and Easy Money. Each only received a 1 share in adults 18-49 and 18-34. Ouch. But each of the hour-longs did improve on their audience in their respective second half-hours. All series are secured for 13-episode runs this fall. (Variety)

The premiere episode of NBC's Kath & Kim can be found online at Yahoo! TV, though I don't know why anyone would want to watch this sad, painfully unfunny half-hour. (Yahoo!)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
Ugh. An American version of Ab Fab? Why, Mitch Hurwitz, why?!!! The original series was so unique and groundbreaking (and, of course, fabulous). I wouldn't want anyone to remake it just as I wouldn't want anyone to remake Arrested Development. Please leave perfection alone.

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