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Channel Surfing: Less "Heroes" Staff, More "Kath & Kim" for NBC, Jennie Garth Says No to "Melrose Place," "Samantha Who," "Chuck," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Although it wrapped its second season only last weekend, I am already distinctly feeling the loss of Mad Men from my Sunday nights. At least I've still got Skins to look forward to before the start of the work week. (I also watched next week's episode of Chuck--easily the very best installment of the series to date--and witnessed The Kiss that everyone will be talking about come next Tuesday.)

Writer/producers Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb have been fired from the writing staff of NBC's Heroes, now in its third season. Both have been with the series since its first season and oversaw the day-to-day running of the production under the guidance of creator Tim Kring. While NBC and Universal Media Studios declined to comment, it's well known that execs were frustrated with the series' creative direction and its sizable budget overruns, said to be in excess of its already weighty $4 million per episode. (Variety)

In a surprising move, NBC has given a full season pickup to freshman comedy Kath & Kim, which is based on the (far superior) Aussie series of the same name. In the four installments that have aired to date, Kath & Kim has averaged a 2.6/6 in adults 18-49 and 6 million total viewers. Hardly a hit by any stretch of the imagination, but the Peacock is pointing to the fact that Kath & Kim has held onto all of lead-in My Name is Earl's audience and built upon its 18-34 rating by four percent. (Variety)

ABC has given a vote of confidence to sophomore comedy Samantha Who?, ordering seven additional episodes of the series. While the episodic order is slightly shorter than the traditional back nine, the Alphabet has a surplus of midseason comedies--Scrubs, The Goode Family, Better Off Ted, Single With Parents, and According to Jim are all on deck--and could do with a slightly shorter run for Samantha. (Variety)

Jennie Garth has said that she will not appear in Melrose Place, the CW's latest attempt to reinvigorate its sagging schedule by relaunching a Darren Star hit of the 1990s. Garth, soon to return to 90210, said that we shouldn't hold our breaths waiting for Kelly Taylor to visit Melrose Place. "I think they should keep it separate," said Garth. "And no, I don’t want to do it." (E! Online)

On the subject of Melrose Place, many are wondering just which members of the original cast would be returning to their former stomping ground. Michael Ausiello figures it's only a matter of time before Heather Locklear is asked to put on a power suit and, er, suit up again as icy Amanda, despite the fact that she faked her death in the series finale to be with lover Peter. As for which showrunners are in contention to oversee the planned series, Ausiello mentions that CW boss Dawn Ostroff is looking for a Melrose boss internally and One Tree Hill's Mark Schwann did recently sign an overall deal with CBS Paramount Network TV. Personally, I think Schwann is a monumentally bad idea and think that there has to be someone more capable on the payroll at CBS Paramount. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Andy Richter and Jenny McCarthy will guest star in a February episode of NBC's Chuck entitled "Chuck Versus the Suburbs," in which Chuck and Sarah go undercover in the 'burbs as a married couple in order to unmask a Fulcrum agent hiding in a housing development. Richter and McCarthy will play Chuck and Sarah's new neighbors. (E! Online)

FX may have found its successor to The Shield, which wraps its run later this month. The cabler is developing NYC cop drama Staten Island, with Lawrence O'Donnell (The West Wing) attached to write and executive produce the project, which will revolve around a "compromised police chief" on Staten Island. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS has handed out a seven-episode order to an untitled reality competition series that will follow several families from a particular neighborhood who compete against one another for a grand prize. Project comes from Mike Fleiss (The Bachelor), Warner Horizon, and Next Entertainment. (Variety)

NBC has handed out a script order for multi-camera comedy Changing Positions, from writer/executive producer Jim Herzfeld (Meet the Parents) about a Wall Street player who loses everything and is forced to move his wife and kids in with his wealthy and "very sexually active" parents in a compound in the Hollywood Hills, paid for by their involvement in some instructional sex videos in the 1980s. Doug Liman and David Bartis will also executive produce the project, from Universal Media Studios and Dutch Oven. (Hollywood Reporter)

Nikki Finke says that Media Rights Capital, currently controlling the CW's Sunday night block of programming, has canceled two of its series. Valentine and Easy Money, which had been placed on production hiatus last month, have been put on, well, permanent hiatus and won't be returning to the schedule. Two replacements will be named soon. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

Universal Media Studios has signed a two-year overall deal with Michael Green, creator and executive producer of NBC's midseason drama Kings. Under the terms of the deal, Green will continue at the creative helm of the series. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
When it comes to HEROES, I think WATCHMEN creator Alan Moore said it best:

"I was persuaded to watch it by people who said it nods to Watchmen but God, what a load of rubbish! It's a late-70s X-Men at best and full of terrible ideas and characters who've all been done to death. Beyond death. And the writing shows such contempt for the viewer. The climax, a man who is going to explode is carried off into the air by his brother... did anybody bother to compare the effects of a groundburst with an airburst nuclear explosion? I'll take the former over the latter, thanks. This is supposed to be the sort of thing that superhero stories are good at."
Anonymous said…
That "kiss" on Chuck is making me nervous because Jill is back! I want to just fast forward the whole week... :(
Anonymous said…
I can't wait for Chuck this week and I really can't wait for the episode with Andy Richter and Jenny McCarthy. Just the idea of these two in the suburbs is funny.
Unknown said…
Tangent: When I studied nuclear weapons in college, we learned that a ground burst is significantly dirtier than an air burst because it throws up tons of irradiated material (soil, buildings, etc.). An air burst is more survivable (for the people outside the blast radius).

Wow. If Kath & Kim can get a pickup, I guess anything can. I've seen a few episodes and, while there are some funny bits, it's not worth making it a steady diet.

I'm missing Chuck this week...
Page48 said…
Everyone on "Heroes" should be fired. It's a mess.

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