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Channel Surfing: CW to Spin Off "Gossip Girl" for 2009-10 Season; Fiennes and Cho Look to "Flash Forward at ABC," "Lost," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I'm now seriously behind on my telly-viewing as I was out last night at the West 3rd Street Holiday Walk, where I bumped into Anne Hathaway and Alan Rickman, but I did manage to watch The Office and 30 Rock, naturally.

Today's biggest headline is that CW has announced that it will pursue developing a spin-off of teen-centric drama Gossip Girl. Rather than shoot a pilot, however, the CW will use an upcoming episode of Gossip Girl to function as a backdoor pilot in order to save costs and test the concept before committing to a series order. One caveat: the untitled spin-off will not be an adaptation of novel series "The It Girl" and will not focus on Jenny Humphrey.

So who could be the focus of said spin-off? It's likely that producers would select one of Gossip Girl's main cast members to spin-off but it's difficult to figure out who the most likely candidate would be. Or producers could introduce a new character altogether later this season. Hmmm...

Of course, with the kids of Constance Billard heading off to college next season, it's possible that one of them won't attend the same school (let's be honest, most of them will be staying put in Manhattan and attending NYU or Columbia rather than Yale), thus providing the CW with an instant new focus for a new series, set somewhere other than Manhattan. Thoughts? (Variety)

Joseph Fiennes--who recently starred in FX's drama pilot Pretty/Handsome--and John Cho (Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay) will star in ABC drama pilot Flash Forward, opposite previously announced cast members Jack Davenport and Courtney B. Vance. Project, from Brandon Braga, David S. Goyer, and ABC Studios, recounts the chaos that ensues after the entire world blacks out for two minutes and seventeen seconds and awakens with a terrifying vision of the future.

Fiennes will star as FBI Agent Mark Banford who is "patching up his life and his marriage after winning a long struggle with the bottle. Disturbed by the harrowing premonition during his blackout, he races to unravel the mystery, fearful of the murky future that might spell disaster for himself and his loved ones." Cho will play Dominic Witten, Mark's FBI partner and friend who believes he might be murdered as he did not receive a vision of the future. (Hollywood Reporter)

Expect big changes for Lost in its upcoming fifth season, according to executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. Just don't accuse of them of jumping the shark. "We actually try and jump the shark all the time," joked Cuse. "The last thing we want to do is feel like the show is falling into a tired paradigm. In fact, this season we start out with a new narrative approach. Not the now traditional flashbacks or flash-forwards. We always are trying to keep the storytelling surprising." (Sci Fi Wire)

Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch) will guest star on a January episode of ABC's Samantha Who, where she will play Sam's grandmother in the episode that will also feature Christine Ebersole as Samantha's aunt. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

TBS has ordered a half-hour late-night vaudeville pilot to be hosted by Harland Williams that is tentatively entitled The TBS Comedy Roadshow. Series, from executive producers Paige Hurwitz and Javier Winnik and TBS Prods., would travel around the country to showcase regional talent, "including a mix of stand-up comedy, novelty acts, musical acts, short films and animated shorts," and shoot in historically significant vaudeville theatres. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Old Darth said…
Cool on Flash Forward. Series is based on local, to me, Toronto SF writer Robert J. Sawyer. Great guy and very generous with his fans.

So John Cho goes from Sulu in ST XI to this. Niiiice.
Jace Lacob said…
Hi Lou,

Yep, this could be a good one for a change. I'll be reading the pilot script this weekend so will have to report back next week!
Anonymous said…
I'm actually glad that the GG spinoff won't be featuring Jenny "raccoon eyes" Humphrey. After that whole dreadful storyline I think I've had enough of Little J for now.
Hmm...Cuse's comments about the new narrative approach for Lost sound very cryptic. Of course, with a show like Lost I would expect nothing less. Whatever the writers have in store, I'm sure it will be an interesting ride!

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