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Channel Surfing: "Brothers & Sisters" Thins Out Cast, Bill Lawrence Talks "Scrubs" Future, Kingston Scrubs in for "ER," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Only a few major headlines this morning, though I am still literally shaking after watching the first two episodes of Season Five of Lost yesterday afternoon. (Nearly 24 hours later and I still can't get it out of my head, but that's hardly surprising.)

The Walker clan is getting thinned out a little bit. According to Michael Ausiello, Brothers & Sisters' Balthazar Getty was told last week that his option as a full-time series regular was not being picked up for next season. However, Getty is said to be in talks with producers to remain on the series, perhaps in a recurring role. Decision to reduce Getty's role is due to both budgetary and storyline reasons, though some insiders have pointed to Getty's "difficult" behavior of late. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Bill Lawrence--the creator of Scrubs, which moves from NBC to ABC on January 6th--talks to the New York Times about writing the ending for the medical comedy. Only that ending is now in question as ABC debates whether or not to continue the series without Lawrence or series lead Zach Braff... or the same title. In a possible move that could signal the future of the series, Lawrence is bringing in a new batch of interns for Season Eight, who will star in a series of webisodes alongside the linear series. (New York Times)

Alex Kingston will return to NBC's ER for the series' January 15th episode, where her character Dr. Elizabeth Corday--last seen on the series five years ago--runs into Parminder Nagra's Neela at an attending interview. ER's series finale is slated to air March 12th. (TV Guide)

Michael Pitt (Funny Games) will star opposite Steve Buscemi and Kelly Macdonald in Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter's HBO drama pilot Boardwalk Empire, about the origins of Atlantic City. (Hollywood Reporter)

The graphic content of Season Three of BBC's Torchwood--airing over five consecutive nights this spring--will be toned down so as to avoid being heavily edited for US broadcast, according to series star John Barrowman. "We're not swearing or doing anything close to the bone because it's been a huge success in the US and the networks won't accept it with all that stuff in it," said Barrowman."We're doing everything so it doesn't have to be heavily edited for the US... I'll still be getting naked and it will still be saucy - but it's done with taste." (Digital Spy)

"What NBC does best these days is turn its failures into The New Broadcast TV Paradigm." So says The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes, who takes a look at the declining fortunes of NBC, struggling to tie with FOX for last place among the broadcast networks. "In just a few short years, NBC, once the best brand in broadcast TV, has become virtually irrelevant," writes de Moraes. "This season has been a particularly lousy one for the network, leading even former journalist-disciples of the network to pen pieces about its 'sad' descent and its 'lack of quality inventory.'" (
The Washington Post)

USA Today talks to Brody Jenner and Whitney Port, the stars of MTV's upcoming reality series Bromance and The City respectively. Says Jenner about his upcoming series which looks to pair the former Hills star with a new male friend, "I've always been a person that's totally comfortable with my sexuality and showing my affections with my guy friends." (USA Today)

Stay tuned.

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