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Channel Surfing: Piper, Agyeman, Tate, and Simm Rumored to Return to "Doctor Who," Ratner Moves into "Cop House," "BSG," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

Latest Doctor Who rumor: that former co-stars Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Catherine Tate, and John Simm will all appear in David Tennant's final episode as the Doctor, according to UK newspaper The Sun. Piper, Agyeman, and Tate will allegedly reprise their roles as the Doctor's former companions Rose, Martha, and Donna respectively, while Simm will reprise his Season Three role as The Master. The episode will also feature the Doctor regenerating into the Eleventh Doctor, to be played by Matt Smith. "This will be the most exciting episode Doctor Who have ever done," said an unnamed insider on the production. "We really wanted to get all the companions back on board as a fitting send-off to David. And of all the enemies for him to face in his final episode, it makes sense for The Master to be the main one. Getting Billie to agree is a real coup, but she loved working on the show so much it didn't take much convincing." (The Sun)

Brett Ratner will direct and executive produce FOX comedy pilot Cop House, about a halfway house for troubled officers. Project, from 20th Century Fox Television and writer Adam Resnick, will star Tony Hale (Arrested Development), Rachael Harris (Notes from the Underbelly), and Ajay Naidu (Office Space). (Hollywood Reporter)

Elle Macpherson has been cast in CW drama pilot Beautiful Life, where she will recur as Claudia, the owner of top modeling agency Focus Models who was once a supermodel herself and now runs her business with an iron fist. Pilot, from CBS Paramount Network Television, is set to star Mischa Barton, Ben Hollingsworth, Sara Paxton, Ashley Madekwe, and Nico Tortorella. (Hollywood Reporter)

Pilot casting news: Christine Baranski (Ugly Betty) and Chris Noth (Sex and the City) have been cast in CBS drama pilot The Good Wife, where Baranski will play a ligitator at the firm where a politican's wife (Julianna Margulies) takes a job as a junior associate while Noth will guest star in the pilot as a former DA in jail following a sex scandal. Elsewhere, David Wilson Barnes (As the World Turns) has scored one of the leads on CBS drama pilot The Eastmans; Swedish actress Mercedes Masohn (Entourage) has been cast in ABC comedy pilot The Law; Adam Jamal Craig (The Office) will join the cast of CBS drama pilot Washington Field; Mexican actress Ana De La Reguera has been cast in ABC's drama pilot Empire State; and MADtv's Colton Dunn will star opposite Michael Strahan and Darryl Mitchell in FOX comedy pilot Brothers. (Hollywood Reporter)

With the series finale of Battlestar Galactica set to air tonight, SCI FI Wire talks to executive producer David Eick about the series legacy. "Well, it's for somone else to say, but my hope is that we changed the face of science fiction in terms of its allegorical power," said Eick. "It was never intended to just be an escapist fantasy. It should have some metaphorical resonance. It should teach us a little something about our culture and about our times. And that's what we were hoping to do." He also says that Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica is "in its own way, is going to be as unique as Battlestar was." (SCI FI Wire)

Speaking of tonight's series finale, Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara says "it's hard to imagine a more visually and thematically satisfying finale" than tonight's Battlestar Galactica series ender. "The writers' dedication never falters, and Battlestar Galactica's finale is everything a fan, of the show and of television, could hope for," writes McNamara in a review for the paper. "It's difficult to write about without giving anything away, so suffice it to say that tissues (or shots) would not be inappropriate accouterment." (
Los Angeles Times)

NBC is allegedly looking to part ways with BermanBraun/Original on the three unscripted series that were ordered as part of a larger deal with the production companies. BermanBraun and Original are said to be shopping reality series Shark Taggers, Swords, and Tornado Roads to other networks, including Discovery and History. The first series produced under the 30-episode deal, America's Toughest Jobs, performed woefully on Friday evenings and new NBC alternative topper Paul Telegdy has made it clear that he would rather work on developing new series; however an unnamed NBC insider says that the network still plans to air the series at some point. (Variety)

Meanwhile, NBC last week indicated that other reality series wouldn't be returning. Not on the schedule and not due to return: Last Comic Standing, Nashville Star, Celebrity Circus, Celebrity Family Feud, The Baby Borrowers, America's Toughest Jobs, Momma's Boys, and American Gladiators... along with horror anthology series Fear Itself. (Futon Critic)

Universal Media Studios has signed a two-year first-look deal with writer/executive producer Scot Armstrong and his producing partner, Ravi Nandin. The duo have set up shingle American Work and are currently behind two pilots this season: NBC comedy Off Duty and FOX comedy Walorsky, which has been pushed to this summer, and are developing one-hour comedy procedural Privates, about a family of dysfunctional private investigators in Burbank who spend "more time investigating each other than they do others." Project is in the script stage. (Variety)

CBS has ordered a pilot for one-hour quiz show-meets-obstacle course game show The Whole 19 Yards, from Endemol USA and executive producer Scott Einziger. Hosted by Chris Hardwick, format will have contestants running an insane obstacle course before answering trivia questions. (TV Week)

Animal Planet has renewed its reality series Jockeys for a second season of seven episodes. The cabler is set to launch Season Two of the horse-racing themed series this summer. (Variety)

Elsewhere, pay cabler Starz has announced that it will bring back movie special series Starz Inside, hosted by film critic Richard Roeper, beginning June 9th at 10 pm with a special about character actors. Subsequent specials will air throughout the summer and fall. (Variety)

FremantleMedia, the producers of FOX's American Idol, have been sued in a class-action lawsuit by several former employees who worked on Fremantle series such as American Idol, Temptation, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, and Osbournes: Reloaded, who allege that the company "systematically overworked employees without paying the required overtime, falsified time cards and denied staffers meals and rest periods," according to The Live Feed's James Hibberd. Fremantle had no comment on the suit. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

BBC plans to cut nearly $600 million over the next three years by issuing salary freezes for its executives and slashing talent fees. BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said such changes were necessary for the continued survival of the public broadcaster, which faces 1,200 pinkslips in the coming months. "Given the falling away of household growth, the collapse of the commercial property market and pressure on commercial revenues," said Thompson, "without a further significant reduction in spending we would exceed our statutory borrowing limit." (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I thought we were done with Rose :(
Unknown said…
Boo on Anonymous. I miss all the companions, and I'm very glad to hear they're all coming back for the final ep. It makes it almost worth losing David Tennant as the Doctor. Almost.
Anonymous said…
Why the hate against Rose/Billie? I loved her on the show and am thrilled she'll be back with Martha, Donna and the Master. Great news!
Anonymous said…
I agree! I'm thrilled that Rose, Martha, Donna, and The Master will be in David Tennant's final episode as it truly we be the end of an extraordinary Doctor Who era!
Anonymous said…
I'm so relieved to hear Mary McNamara's positive comments about the Battlestar finale. Not that I thought it would be bad but my expectations are so high I really don't want to be let down. From the sound of it, that won't be a problem!

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