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Channel Surfing: Graham Lands ABC Comedy, Whedon Admits He Would Have Put "Dollhouse" on Fridays Too, Shenkman Checks into Seattle Grace, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

Former Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham is returning to television. ABC has given a put pilot commitment to an untitled comedy about a self-help guru (Graham) who teaches other women how to live a stress-free life but can't follow her own teachings when she's dumped by her boyfriend. Project, from Sony Pictures Television, Hagada Hey, and Tantamount, is written by Alex Herchlag (Will & Grace) and will be executive produced by Herschlag, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, and Mitch Hurwitz. (Variety)

Joss Whedon says that a Friday night timeslot is "a better fit" for his upcoming FOX drama Dollhouse, which has been plagued with bad buzz ahead of its February debut, but admits that Dollhouse wouldn't likely attract huge numbers in its launch. "They’re bringing down expectations regarding how big of an audience they think it will bring in the beginning," said Whedon of FOX executives, "and then as the show progresses. They need to do that." Still, Whedon says that fans will still find the series. "If I were an executive, I would have put it on Friday too, honestly, and not as a dig," he said. "The people who want this will find it, and hopefully more will as well. Fox is aware that TV just doesn’t exist the same way. People watch it online, on DVD, on their TiVos. It’s not the end of the world, but of course everyone's been predicting the end of the world for Dollhouse since it was announced." (Los Angeles Times)

FOX is said to be thisclose to ordering space-set workplace comedy Boldly Going Nowhere--from the creators of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia--and musical dramedy Glee (from Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy) to series. At least that's the word coming out of the FOX screenings, during which execs will view four pilots including Boldly, Glee, Emancipation of Ernesto, and Virtuality. The first two received additional script orders so can go into production relatively quickly; Glee is being viewed as a potential lead-out of American Idol and execs are said to be very high on Boldly as well. Ernesto is not expected to go forward and Virtuality may be reworked as a more mainstream drama series. (Hollywood Reporter)

Ben Shenkman (Angels in America) will guest star in a multiple-episode story arc on ABC's Grey's Anatomy later this season. He'll play the husband of Jennifer Westfeldt's patient character, but both husband and wife will be, uh, guests at Seattle Grace, with Shenkman's character said to be in "critical" condition. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

In other medical drama news, Shannon Woodward (The Riches) has been cast in a recurring role on NBC's ER, where she will play the estranged younger sister of Linda Cardellini's Sam who turns up in Chicago with some shocking news: she wants Sam to look after their ailing mother... the same mother who threw a then-pregnant Sam out. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Dawson's Creek's Mary Beth Peil will guest star in a January episode of FOX's Fringe, where she will play Jessica Warren, the mother of that young lab assistant who was killed in an explosion in Walter Bishop's lab over 20 years ago. When Jessica learns that Walter has been released from the mental hospital, she crosses paths with Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson). (TV Guide)

Frustrated by those Golden Globe nominations? You're not the only one, as the Los Angeles Times takes a look at all of the series--from Lost to The Wire--that were unjustly left off of the ballot this year. (Los Angeles Times' The Envelope)

Oxygen has ordered eight episodes of docusoap Addicted to Beauty, following the clients and staff of a California medi-spa, from RDF USA that will launch early next year. The cabler also announced that it is developing four new reality projects including Hogs & Heifers, The Girls, The Naughty Kitchen, and Lady and the Champ. (Hollywood Reporter)

Syndicated medical talkshow The Doctors has been ordered for a second season. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
Happy to see Lauren Graham returning to the small screen. I only hope the project is worthy of her immense talent!
Anonymous said…
I really hope FOX orders Boldly Going Nowhere. Anything from the "It's Always Sunny" gang has got to be funny and the cast is terrific. Finger crossed!
TxGowan said…
I liked Lauren Graham's show when it was on the first time and called Men in Trees.

Mmm, Shannon Woodward. I wondered when she'd show up somewhere. She was really good on The Riches. She really resembles Cardellini, too, so it works.

Poor Joss. He's either spinning the damage control as fast as he can or he's really just quite quite deluded.

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