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Channel Surfing: Donna Martin Graduates to "90210," ABC Lands Gaghan Pilot, Stolz Talks "Grey's" Killer, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. I spent last night fully immersed in television, watching screeners of the Season Three premiere of Skins, Lost in Austen, and Mistresses, before indulging in this week's episode of Bravo's Top Chef.

Tori Spelling is in "final negotiations" to reprise her role as Donna Martin in the CW's 90210 in multiple episodes this season. One major point holding up the deal previously was allegedly Spelling's fear or running into Shannen Doherty on the set, but Doherty has now wrapped her role for the season. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) was recently the subject of a bidding war between ABC and FOX, with ABC landing the writer with a seven-figure blind put pilot commitment. Under the terms of the deal, Gaghan--who previously wrote for The Practice and NYPD Blue--will write and executive produce a one-hour drama pilot for the network and is attached to direct the potential pilot, should his schedule allow. No studio is currently attached to the project, though both ABC Studios and Sony are said to be in the running. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV Guide chatted with Eric Stoltz, set to appear in Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica, about his upcoming role as a serial killer on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, ethical decisions at Seattle Grace, and MerDer. "I certainly insinuate myself into their relationship," said Stolz, "and am the source of not a little strife." (TV Guide)

In an effort to transform into a network offering original series five nights a week, cabler TNT has ordered drama pilots The Line and Time Heals to series. The Line, from Warner Horizon and executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Danny Cannon, Jonathan Littman, and Doug Jung, stars Dylan McDermott (The Practice), Logan Marshall Green (The OC), Omari Hardwick (Saved) and Nicki Avcox (Supernatural) and follows the lives of an undercover crime-fighting unit so hidden that some of its operatives don't even realize they are involved. Time Heals, from Sony Pictures TV, follows the doctors, administrators, and colleagues at a Charlotte, North Carolina hospital; it stars Jada Pinkett Smith, David Hirsh (Lovebites), Laura Kenly, Christina Moore (90210), and Suleka Mathew (Men in Trees). Both series are set to launch later this year. Still under consideration for series order: Ray Romano's Men of a Certain Age. Thought to be dead: crime drama Night and Day, from executive producer Michael Mann. (Hollywood Reporter)

Showtime has ordered a pilot presentation for comedy Ronna and Beverly, with Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, Jessica Chaffin, and Jamie Denbo and Lionsgate Television attached. Project, based on a sketch created by Chaffin and Denbo, revolves around two middle-aged Boston women who decide to self-publish and promote and dating guide for Jewish singles entitled "You'll Do A Little Better Next Time." Chaffin and Denbo, who co-wrote the script with Kohan, will star in the pilot presentation, to be directed by Paul Feig (The Office). (Variety)

NBC has revealed the identities of the 16 celebrities competing in the second season of Celebrity Apprentice, launching March 1st. Clint Black, Andrew Dice Clay, Annie Duke, Tom Green, Natalie Gulbis, Scott Hamilton, Jesse James, Claudia Jordan, Khloe Kardashian, Brian McKnight, Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Brande Roderick, Dennis Rodman, Herschel Walker, and Tionne Watkins will square off in the boardroom for charity. (via press release)

Jason Lewis (Sex and the City) will return to ABC's Brothers & Sisters, where he will reprise his role as Kevin's ex-boyfriend Chad, a closeted actor. Lewis is set to appear in one episode of the ABC drama, set to air in April. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

CBS has pulled gameshow Million Dollar Password from its schedule. (Futon Critic)

National Geographic will launch reality series Hard Time on February 23rd. The six-hour series, the result of a year of embedded filming by producers, follows the lives of inmates and officers in Georgia's state incarceration system. Set to return to the cabler in 2009: new seasons of Dogtown, Locked Up Abroad, World's Toughest Fixes, Naked Science, and Deadly Dozen. (Hollywood Reporter)

MuchMusic VJ Hannah Simone and Joel Gourdin of G4's Attack of the Show will host Sci Fi's eight-episode videogame competition series WCG Ultimate Gamer. Series, from executive producers Michael Agbabian and Dwight D. Smith, is set to launch in March. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Celebrity Apprentice? I don't even know who half of those people are!

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