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Channel Surfing: Chenoweth Gets "Mad" for David E. Kelley, HBO Orders Two Comedy Series, "Office" Stars Moonlight on Pilot Scripts, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I spent last night watching the first three brilliant episodes of HBO's Big Love, kicking off next month, and was up all night thinking about the series. At least the weekend's finally here, right?

Pushing Daisies' Kristin Chenoweth has been cast as the female lead in David E. Kelley's new NBC legal drama, Legally Mad, from Warner Bros. TV. Chenoweth will play Skippy Pylon, a brilliant lawyer who is often mistaken for being a teenager who goes to work at her father's firm; Skippy is "relentlessly cheerful" but suffers occasional bouts of psychosis. "I could only picture Kristin playing this role," said Kelley. "I've wanted to work with her for a long time and can't wait to reveal her as someone who's completely mad." It's a perfect part for Cheno (I'll be reading the pilot script this weekend) and I'm happy to see her land on her feet after the cancellation of Pushing Daisies. (Hollywood Reporter)

HBO ordered two comedy series late yesterday: Bored to Death, which stars Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Zach Galifianakis, and How to Make It in America, starring Bryan Greenberg, Victor Rasuk, and Shannyn Sossamon. Both series were given eight-episode orders. Bored to Death, from creator/executive producer Jonathan Ames, follows the life of an alcoholic (Schwartzman) who, after being dumped by his girlfriend, decides to be more like the heroes of his favorite Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett novels and open a detective agency. How to Make It in America, from executive producers Stephen Levinson and Mark Walberg, writer Ian Edelman, and director Julian Farino, charts the lives of two 20-somethings who hustle their way through Manhattan in order to find the American dream. No word yet on the fate of HBO's other pilots, including Washingtonienne, Suburban Shootout, and Treme. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Office stars Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer have set up pilot scripts through Universal Media Studios. Wilson and Adam Braff will write and executive produce single-camera comedy Hump Tulips, about a lawyer who follows the woman he loves to a small Washington town. Jenna Fischer will serve as a non-writing executive producer on an untitled one-hour dramedy about a lumber salesman who becomes a private investigator. (Variety)

Cold Case creator/executive producer Meredith Stiehm will write the pilot for HBO drama pilot Cocaine Cowboys, about the early days of cocaine trafficking in Miami. Project, from Warner Bros. Television, is based on Billy Corben's 2006 documentary of the same name. (Hollywood Reporter)

In a ripped-from-the-headlines twist, FX and former The Shield star Michael Chiklis are developing House of Cards, a drama pilot about the operator of a Ponzi scheme. Chiklis will not appear in the project, should it be ordered, but will executive produce; he was inspired after he and his wife were the victims of a Ponzi scheme last year. (Variety)

Spike has ordered football-themed comedy pilot Blue Mountain State, about freshmen at a Midwestern college football powerhouse who must juggle classes, girls, football, and hazing. Project, from Lionsgate Television and Varsity Pictures, will be executive produced/directed by Brian Robbins and written by Chris Romano and Eric Falconer. Cast includes Ed Marinaro, Darin Brooks, Sam Jones III, Gabrielle Dennis, and Alan Ritchson. (Hollywood Reporter)

Daniel Eric Gold (Charlie Wilson's War) has been cast in a recurring role on ABC's Ugly Betty, where he will play Matt, a new love interest for America Ferrara's Betty whom she meets at YETI. However, Matt allegedly is hiding a secret that will impact Betty's life in a major way. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

A slew of pilot-related castings: Charlie McDermott (Sex Drive) has joined the cast of ABC comedy pilot The Middle, about a middle-class Midwestern family, where he will play Axel, the oldest child; Desi Lydic (Pepper Dennis) will star in CBS comedy pilot The Karenskys, about an eccentric family, where she will play Bernadette, the sister of Sasha Alexander's Emily Atwood, who returns home after time away from her family; and Susan Ward (Sunset Beach) and Zachary Burr Abel (CSI) have joined the cast of ABC Family drama pilot Perfect 10. (Hollywood Reporter)

Russell T. Davies has suggested that Doctor Who's The Doctor could be played by a woman in the future. "I think the more it's talked about, the more likely it is to happen," said Davies, speaking at a press conference. His choices? Catherine Zeta Jones or Lesley Sharp. (Digital Spy)

GSN has ordered 40 episodes of a modern remake of classic reality dating series The Newlywed Game, from executive producer Michael Davies, Sony Pictures TV, and Embassy Row. Series will begin shooting in February in New York for a spring premiere on the cabler. (Hollywood Reporter)

BBC America has acquired the third season of British culinary series Gordon Ramsay's F Word, which the digital cabler will launch on Wednesday, January 14th at 3 pm ET/PT. Scheduling marks a departure for the series, which typically aired in an early evening timeslot on Sundays. (via press release)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
What's with all the private investigator shows? It the detective agency the new law firm of television? Or did Pushing Daisies just start a trend? Emerson Cod will always be my favorite gumshoe.
Anonymous said…
Why are they putting Gordon Ramsay's F Word on at 3pm in the afternoon? That's just bizarre! I love the show and am happy to see it's coming back but 3pm? Really?

And sorry Russell T. Davies but Catherine Zeta Jones as the first female doctor just does not work for me!
Mazza said…
I'm going to miss PD but I am glad that Cheno is going to a show that sounds like it will get ordered. I wonder if Lee and Anna will get cast during this pilot season. Too bad that they can't all stick together.

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