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Channel Surfing: Valley Hits Bullseye for "Human Target," Possible "Grey" Hour for Heigl and Knight, "Betty" Likely to Return at ABC, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

Mark Valley (Fringe) has been cast as the lead in FOX drama pilot Human Target, from Warner Bros. Television, Wonderland, and DC Comics, about a "mysterious security freelancer who assumes the identities of those in danger, becoming the 'human target' for his clients." Pilot will be directed by Simon West. (Hollywood Reporter)

Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight will depart the cast of ABC's Grey's Anatomy, according to co-star James Pickens who told US Magazine that the duo would leave the series. "Yes, she is," said Pickens when asked if Heigl was leaving. "Wherever Katherine goes, I wish her nothing but the best." As for Knight, Pickens said, "He's going too. He just wanted to pursue other career paths." ABC, ABC Studios, and reps for Heigl and Knight had no comment. (US Magazine)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello had some further news on this development. "Right now, the whole thing is in the hands of their agents and ABC's lawyers," an unnamed source told Ausiello. "Something will probably be worked out soon, but it's a safe bet that Katherine and T.R. won't be returning as series regulars next season." However, creator Shonda Rhimes is said to inclined to have the duo fleetingly reprise their roles next season. "There's talk of one or both of them doing an arc in the fall," said a source within the production. "That's one of several things being discussed." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

NBC quietly rounded out the rest of its cast for upcoming Amy Poehler comedy series Parks and Recreation, which stars Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt and Aziz Ansari. Paul Schneider (Lars and the Real Girl) will play Mark, a co-worker of Leslie Knope (Poehler) who had a fling with her years earlier and can't shake her. Nick Offerman (American Body Show) will play Ron, the Parks and Recreation supervisor. (Zap2it)

Showtime has ordered a second season of dark comedy The United States of Tara, with twelve new episodes on tap for Season Two, which is expected to premiere in early 2010. Production on the sophomore season is slated to begin this summer. (via press release)

FX ordered two pilots yesterday, including an untitled drama from writer/executive producer Graham Yost (Boomtown) that is based on Elmore Leonard's short story "Fire in the Hole," about a Kentucky-based US Marshall who tangles with cases, his ex-wife, and his aging father. Project, from Sony Pictures Television and Timberman/Beverly Prods, will be executive produced by Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly and will be directed by Michael Dinner. Also on tap: drama Lights Out, from writer Justin Zackham (The Bucket List) and executive producer Phillip Noyce and Fox Television Studios, about "an aging former heavyweight boxing champion who struggles to find his identity and support his wife and three daughters after his fighting days, leading him to accept reluctantly a job as an enforcer collecting debts. He is diagnosed with pugilistic dementia, a neurological disorder that affects boxers who receive multiple blows to the head, which gradually will lead to him losing all of his memories." (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC is said to be close to renewing struggling dramedy Ugly Betty for a fourth season. Also likely to get early pickups: Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, America's Funniest Home Videos, and The Bachelor, though ABC had no comment about renewals. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

ABC has ordered a pilot for single-camera comedy No Heroics, based on the ITV series about a group of superheroes with less-than-impressive powers who hang out together at a local pub. Project, from ABC Studios and Tiger Aspect, will be written and executive produced by Will & Grace's Jeff Greenstein and original series creator Drew Pearce. (Hollywood Reporter)

Kathryn Hahn (Revolutionary Road) has been cast in FOX's US adaptation of Absolutely Fabulous, which has been ordered to pilot. She'll play Eddie oppposite Kristen Johnston, who will play Eddie's BFF Patsy Stone. "From working with Kate Winslet to Will Ferrell, it's her broad range of talent that inspired us to give her a development deal," said FOX EVP of casting, Marcia Shulman of Hahn. "AbFab was bought with her specifically in mind." Hahn's casting as Eddie seems to invalidate previous reports that pegged Johnston as the PR exec. (Variety)

Aleksa Palladino, Paul Sparks, Shea Whigham, and Anthony Laciura have been cast in Martin Scorsese's HBO drama pilot Boardwalk Empire. Elsewhere at HBO, Rob Brown has been cast in David Simon's drama pilot pilot Treme, where he will play Delmond, a New York jazz musician who returns to his native New Orleans; he's also the son of Clarke Peters' Albert. (Hollywood Reporter)

Lionsgate drama pilot, Tough Trade, will be the first developed project at nascent pay cabler Epix, the new joint venture between Viacom, Lionsgate, and MGM. Project, written by Chris Offutt (Weeds) and executive produced by Jenji Kohan (Weeds) and Sean and Bryan Furst, revolves around a dysfunctional Nashville music family. The pilot is slated to shoot in Nashville late this summer for a possible series launch in 2010. (Variety)

NBC has ordered comedy Community, from writer/executive producer Dan Harmon (The Sarah Silverman Program), Krasnoff Foster Entertainment, and Sony Pictures Television, which has been described as Stripes set at a local community college. (Hollywood Reporter)

Wilmer Valderrama is developing Nickelodeon family comedy Earth to Pablo, about a family that winds welcoming a teenage space alien into their home instead of a South American exchange student they were expected. Project, produced by World of Wonder and WV Enterprises, will be written by Phil Stark. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned,


Michelle said…
I think its a good move that these two (Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight) are leaving Gray's! They are not contributing to the show and their story lines are dwindling away!!!

Thanks for a good wednesday post Jace!!!
Anonymous said…
RE: Mark Valley's new leading role on Human Target - I guess that means his storyline will be ending on Fringe?
Brad said…
American TV shows for No Heroics and Powers? Great news! No Heroics might suffer from the same problems as the live-action The Tick, with audiences expecting but not getting a lot of superhero special effects.

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