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Channel Surfing: Nets Order Slew of Pilots, Kristen Johnson Could Be "AbFab," "Chuck" to End Season in April, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

ABC ordered three drama pilots yesterday: Inside the Box, about a female news producer in a Washington network news bureau from writer Richard E. Robbins and executive producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers (Grey's Anatomy); I, Claudia, about a young prosecuting attorney who is unaware that in the future she will be a contender to be the first female president of the US, from writer/executive producer John Scott Shepherd (The Days); and an untitled US adaptation of Argentinian series Brothers & Detectives, about a detective who discovers that he has a brilliant 11-year-old brother after the death of his estranged father, from Daniel Cerone (Dexter). (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC has ordered a pilot for futuristic drama Day One from writer/executive producer Jesse A. Alexander (Heroes) about "the aftermath of a global event that devastates the world's infrastructures when a small band of survivors strive to rebuild society and unravel the mysteries of why the event took place and what the future has in store." Project, produced by Universal Media Studios, should not be confused with CBS' Jericho, seemingly about the same subject matter... (Hollywood Reporter)

Kristen Johnson (3rd Rock from the Sun) is said to be in talks to star as Eddy in FOX pilot Absolutely Fabulous, a US remake of the BBC comedy created by Jennifer Saunders. Johnson appeared at the table-read of the pilot script on Friday; also participating in the read: Kathryn Hahn (Revolutionary Road). (Variety)

Elsewhere at FOX, the network has given a pilot greenlight to drama Masterwork from Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring. Project, from 20th Century Fox Television, is a globe-spanning adventure in recover artifacts and is said to be in the same vein as National Treasure or The Da Vinci Code. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV Guide has a look at the best of Sawyer's constant stream of sobriquets on Lost. Any you would have added in the mix? (TV Guide)

NBC has announced that it will launch unscripted celebrity genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are, based on the BBC series, on April 20th. Series, which will feature such celebs as Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Susan Sarandon, will take over the Monday night at 8 pm timeslot currently home to Chuck, as "slot occupant Chuck will have finished its season run by then." Is anyone else troubled that Chuck will wrap in April and not May? (Variety)

Bonnie Sommerville (Cashmere Mafia) has been cast in NBC comedy pilot Off Duty, opposite Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) and Romany Malco (Weeds), about a decorated detective on his way out (Whitford) who is assigned a new partner (Malco) who is a straight arrow both on the job and off. Sommerville will play Malco's wife. Also cast: Capethia Jenkins as the police district chief. Elsewhere, Jesse Tyler Ferguson (The Class) has been cast in ABC comedy pilot An American Family, from Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd and 20th Century Fox Television, where he will play one of the neighborhoods' gay dads. (Hollywood Reporter)

Unnamed SAG board members, speaking on condition of anonymity, claim that talks between the guild and the AMPTP could begin as early as next week, following the ousting of chief negotiator Doug Allen. Meanwhile, the board has also voted to remove president Alan Rosenberg's ability to speak to the press on behalf of the guild. Another sign of things to come? (New York Times)

TNT's launch for scripted drama Trust Me scored not such great numbers, capturing only 3.4 million viewers and 1.3 million adults between 18-49, significantly less than its launch for Leverage, which bowed with 5 million viewers without support from a lead-in from The Closer, and Raising the Bar, which launched with 7.7 million viewers. (Variety)

Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (Quarterlife) have sold a drama pilot script to CBS about a "marriage that works." Relationship dramas are no strangers to Hershovitz and Zwick, who also created Once and Again and thirtysomething. (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

UK's Channel 4 has acquired rights to two HBO series: True Blood and Generation Kill. (Variety)

Noel Clarke, who played Mickey on Doctor Who, has said that he would love to return to the series. "Who would turn down a return to Doctor Who?" said Clarke in an interview with The Sun. "I love the show and have always supported it. I was there from day one when nobody was sure if it was going to be a hit. But the show moves on. Who knows? Whatever happens, happens." (Digital Spy)

Generate has signed a multiple-year overall deal with 2oth Century Fox Television to develop and produced scripted series for broadcast and cable networks and will grant a first look to the studio for its alternative and reality projects. (Variety)

Style has acquired exclusive off-network rights to all seasons of ABC's Supernanny, which it will launch in the fall. (Hollywood Reporter)

TBS has ordered 80 additional episodes of Tyler Perry comedy series Meet the Browns, which is currently in the middle of a ten-episode test run that started January 7th. Order pattern closely follows that of Perry's other TBS series House of Payne, which launched with ten episodes and went on to receive an order for 90 additional installments. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
I'd like to hear more about the ramifications of Chuck's season ending early. What do people think?
Jace Lacob said…

It's worth noting that Chuck will still air its full 22 episodes this season--and without repeats, I might add--so it's not getting cut down at all, just shifted out of May sweeps.
Anonymous said…
No Chuck repeats or breaks between episodes once its on again? I kinda like that. But I'll only be fully happy when I know for sure that it will get a 3rd season.
Anonymous said…
I definitely prefer watching a show (especially a 1-hour show) without repeats or long breaks but the fact that they're not showing Chuck during sweeps is not a good sign!
Anonymous said…
I thought Chuck's fate for a 3rd season was supposed to be based on May sweeps? Is this good or bad? I'm confused...
Anonymous said…
Isn't shifted out of May sweeps a bad thing?

The only way it could be a good thing is if NBC has already (informally) green-lighted a 3rd season. But, if so, why not announce that?
tony libido said…
OK, so that's one order of BROADCAST NEWS, one JACK AND BOBBY retread, (and I'd *love* to see someone do that premise better) and a RAIN MAN goes detecting series. Can I get you anything else ABC?

PS. They've built CHUCK beautifully. It would be a shame to see it go out now. . .
The CineManiac said…
I'll be all riled up if anything happens to Chuck, but at least we're getting all 22 episodes with no interruptions.
And you have to admit NBC is treating Chuck far better than ABC dealt with Pushing Daises, since both series got a 2nd season mmostly because of the strike.
But looking at NBC's treatment of Medium gives me hope for Chuck. Because NBC regularly holds Medium and moves it around depending on when they need to use it to replace a failed series, but we still get the show. So although I'd rather have my Chuck year round, I'll take the Medium approach over nothing.
Unknown said…
I don't mind if a show skips a week occasionally. I'm more concerned that Chuck won't be looked at during sweeps. As everyone's pointed out: either NBC is already confident of Chuck (yay!) or this is its last season (boo!).
Anonymous said…
Hopefully NBC has finally opened their eyes to see that CHUCK performs the best when it is on a steady run with no breaks, and will give CHUCK season 3. I WAS a fan of HIMYM season 1 and that show had ratings very similar to what CHUCK has now. HIMYM’s ratings are now in the 10-12 million range. If NBC gives CHUCK season 3, that might be just what the show needs to start building an even stronger fan base to really carry the show. Especially with the support the show should get with that BIG GAME on Sunday.

CHUCK’s ratings were on a steady rise until they took that two week break between episode five and six. It looked like CHUCK didn't seem to get some ratings traction until after episode 8 then it started a nice climb to a season high 7.6 million live viewers for the most recent episode.

CHUCK's season ending before May I really hope is a good thing so it doesn't have to compete with the season finales of several other shows. Plus the return of that Macarena with Celebs show.
Bill Wilder said…
Actually Chuck ending in april is a good thing. It is opposite House on mondays now and that is definetly not going to help its ratings. I will completely stop watching NBC is they get rid of Chuck - The Chuck/ heroes block is the only night they have good programming on!

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