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Channel Surfing: "Fringe" to Move Production to Canada, "Dollhouse" Drops in Second Week, Pilot Castings, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Hopefully everyone is recovered from Oscar weekend and perhaps some of you even made some quick cash from some Oscar pools.

FOX drama Fringe will move its production from New York City, where it has shot its first season, to Vancouver, Canada, should the series be renewed for a second season. The decision, made by studio Warner Bros. Television, is said to have been made because of the likelihood that New York State's film/TV production tax incentive initiative funds, which have run out of coin, will not be replenished. "In this challenging and uncertain economic environment, we have made the very difficult decision to move," said Warner Bros. in a statement. "We did not come to this conclusion easily, but economic and practical imperatives dictated that this decision be made in a timely manner." (Entertainment Weekly)

In its second outing, FOX's Dollhouse fell fifteen percent in the ratings on Friday, placing second behind ABC's Supernanny, despite decreased competition from CBS. The second installment of Dollhouse, created by Joss Whedon, lured 4.2 million viewers overall and scored a 1.7/7 share among adults 18-49. This is a sharp contrast to lead-in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles which remained "roughly steady" with its numbers last week, only dropping one-tenth of a rating point. "Given it's a Friday night, neither Terminator or Dollhouse pop out as a jarringly low rating on the grid," writes James Hibberd. "But Fox's shows are relatively expensive scripted dramas that typically require higher numbers than a competitor's repeats or newsmagazines such as Dateline and 20/20, regardless of what night they're on." (Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan talks to Jane Espenson, who wrote Friday's episode of Battlestar Galactica ("Deadlock"). "I believe that Saul really loves Caprica," said Espenson. "But not more than he loves Ellen. I don't even think Ellen *really* believes that. But it's clearly more than a casual relationship, and Cylon beliefs about pregnancy and love seem to confirm her fears. And remember that the "thousands of years" is said whimsically -- they didn't perceive it as nearly that long. (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

CBS has given a pilot order to comedy pilot Ace in the Hole, starring Adam Carolla as a husband and father who supports his family by working as a driving instructor. Project, from CBS Paramount Network Television, BermanBraun, and Jackhole Prods., is written/executive produced by Carolla and Kevin Hench and executive produced by Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun, Jimmy Kimmel, Daniel Kellison, and Jamex Dixon. (Variety)

Pilot casting news: Jimmy Wolk (Front of the Class) to star in ABC's untitled Daniel Cerone drama pilot (formerly known as Brothers & Detectives), about a detective (Wolk) who uses his 11-year-old brother to solve crimes; Joel McHale (The Soup) to star in NBC comedy pilot Community, where he will play Jeff, a lawyer who returns to community college after his degree is found to be invalid; Jaime Ray Newman (Veronica Mars) to star in ABC drama pilot Eastwick, where she will play Kat, a good-natured nurse; Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Liza Lapira (21) will star opposite Amy Smart in ABC drama pilot See Cate Run (formerly known as I, Claudia); Dean Winters (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) will star in ABC supernatural mystery drama Happy Town, Aimee Garcia (George Lopez) cast in NBC drama pilot Trauma; and Matthew Yang King (NUMB3RS) has been cast in CBS drama pilot Washington Field. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS has announced that it has putting cast-contingent drama pilot Confessions of a Contractor, from executive producers Shawn Ryan, Richard Murphy, and Jeff Okin, on hold after they failed to find a suitable lead actor. Elsewhere, ABC has pushed director- and showrunner-contingent comedy pilot Funny in Farsi and cast-contingent comedy Planet Lucy into the next development cycle. (Variety, Hollywood Reporter)

John Sayles (Lone Star) will write HBO drama series Scar Tissue, based on the childhood of Antony Kiedis, following the future Red Hot Chili Peppers singer as he grows up in 1970s West Hollywood with his father, a drug dealer who hung out with rock stars on the Sunset Strip. Project is executive produced by Kiedis, Marc Abrams, and Michael Benson. (Variety)

Clay Aiken will appear on the April 8th episode of CW's America's Next Top Model, where he will serve as a guest judge. (Hollywood Reporter)

SAG rejected AMPTP's "last, best, and final offer" on Saturday, voting 73 percent to 27 percent to reject the offer. However, despite nearly 75 percent of the board vetoing AMPTP's offer, it's still not thought likely that SAG will issue a strike authorization vote, as it would require 75 percent approval rating in order to pass. Among the issues preventing SAG from signing: a new contract expiration of spring 2012 and the fact that the contract would go into effect upon ratification rather than retroactively. "The AMPTP's last-minute, surprise demand for a new term of agreement extending to 2012 is regressive and damaging and clearly signals the employers' unwillingness to agree to the deal they established with other entertainment unions," said SAG in a statement. "What management presented as a compromise is, in fact, an attempt to separate Screen Actors Guild from other industry unions. By attempting to extend our contract expiration one year beyond the other entertainment unions, the AMPTP intends to de-leverage our bargaining position from this point forward." (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


valancy said…
Hopefully Fox will learn from its past mistakes with Joss Whedon' s series , and let Dollhouse play out for a time. Joss layers his shows. Each week gets better and better. Our love or hate for a character grows as we become more invested.
Fox - don't worry about what the ratings do right now..... Buffy wasn't a huge ratings grabber at first either.......
Anonymous said…
Buffy didn't have huge ratings at first but at the time no one knew who Joss Whedon was or who the cast were and it cost a heck of a lot less to make.

I am a big supporter of Joss but don't think that Dollhouse is going to make it in today's TV climate.

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