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Channel Surfing: AMC Renews "Breaking Bad" for Third Season, Lifetime Struts on "Project Runway," CBS Shuts Off "Guiding Light," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

AMC has renewed drama Breaking Bad for a third season, only four episodes into the series' sophomore season, which launched with 1.7 million viewers, a 21 percent increase over the series premiere episode. Series, which stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte, Dean Norris, and Betsy Brandt, will join the ranks of AMC drama Mad Men, also renewed for a third year. (Hollywood Reporter)

The battle over Project Runway has finally ended and now that the dust has cleared, it's Lifetime who will air the sixth season of the reality series this summer. "I couldn’t be more excited that Lifetime will bring its viewers an amazing, all-new season of Project Runway this summer," said Lifetime president/CEO Andrea Wong in a statement. "As the highest-rated cable network for women, Lifetime is the perfect home for this outstanding program as well as its companion series Models of the Runway. All of us at Lifetime are thrilled to move forward with Heidi, Tim, Nina, Michael, The Weinstein Company and the entire Project Runway team. We are proud to add these shows to our growing slate of original programming, including the hit series Army Wives, the all-new upcoming series Drop Dead Diva and our top-rated original movies." (via press release)

It's official: CBS has cancelled long-running soap opera Guiding Light, the longest running drama on television (it launched as a radio series in 1937 before moving to CBS in 1952). The series, set in the fictional enclave of Springfield, will air its final episode on September 18th. (The New York Times)

Pilot casting alert: Justin Bartha (National Treasure) has landed the lead on FOX comedy pilot The Station, where he will play a covert CIA operative stationed in South America; Chris Elliott (Everyone Loves Raymond) has been cast in CBS comedy pilot The Fish Tank; and Melissa Rauch (Kath & Kim) has joined the cast ofLifetime's untitled Sherri Shepherd comedy pilot. (Hollywood Reporter)

Nikki Finke is reporting that NBC is considering cancelling comedy My Name is Earl, which is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, after the studio was said to be unhappy with a "drastically reduced" license fee offered by the Peacock. Finke says that FOX's Kevin Reilly, who originally developed the series when he was at NBC, could pick up the show. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

Diane Farr (Rescue Me) has been cast in a ten-episode story arc on Season Three of Showtime's Californication, where she will play a randy grad student who falls under the spell of David Duchovny's Hank. "I am so excited to play someone who is girlie," Farr told Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello, "and wears a sundress without a gun or a fire hose in my hand." (
Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

George Segal (Just Shoot Me) has been cast in a multiple-episode story arc on Season Six of HBO's Entourage, where he will play a veteran manager who takes Eric (Kevin Connolly) under his wing. Also attached to recur next season: Jami Gertz, Autumn Reeser, and Alexis Dziena. (Hollywood Reporter)

Season Two of Pushing Daisies will be released on DVD on July 21st. The box set will include all thirteen episodes of the series' second season, including three episodes that have yet to air on television, and will be priced at $39.98 for DVD and $49.99 for Blu-ray. (via press release)

SCI FI Wire talks to Eureka's Colin Ferguson about Season 3.5, which launches in July, about what to expect when the series returns. "Well, at the end of season three, or at the end of season 3.4, or 3.49, Nathan [Ed Quinn] dies, and Salli [Richardson-Whitfield's] character is pregnant," explains Ferguson. "So that picks up right after there, where Salli is pregnant through the whole season. One of Joe [Morton's] ... I keep using the actors' names ... One of Joe's long-lost loves comes back. My character has a love interest all the way through. And then Jordan [Hinson], my daughter, deals with 'Is she going to go to college and leave Eureka or is she going to stay?' So all that stuff gets resolved." (SCI FI Wire)

TLC has secured the life rights of US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger, which it will adapt into a documentary special about the life of the pilot, who successfully landed a passenger jet in the Hudson River in January, saving the lives of everyone aboard. The cabler is planning a late 2009 airdate for the doc, which will be produced by Daniel H. Birman Prods. (Variety)

Elsewhere, documentary filmmaker Nanette Burnstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture, American Teen) has signed a deal with RDF USA to develop and produce unscripted series. (Variety)

James Marsters is still open to reprising his role as vampire Spike, should Joss Whedon end up writing a Spike-centric project. "Oh, yeah, when Angel was coming down, [creator] Joss [Whedon] came to me and said, 'Do you want to do a Spike project?'" Marsters told SCI FI Wire. "And I said, 'Heck yes. In fact, whatever you want to do, whether it's Spike or not, wherever I am in the world, just call me. I'll come running. But you have seven years, Joss, because I don't want to do Spike aging. Let's keep him the same age, and I think that I can hold that look for about seven years before it starts to become too different.' Maybe there's a few more years, but at this point, really it would all have to do with a camera test. Can we light my face in such a way that it's still in the same ballpark as what the audience is used to? If that's possible, then I think that it would be a good thing to do." (
SCI FI Wire)

BBC America will launch Apprentice UK, featuring 14 contestants competing for a job with tycoon Sir Alan Sugar, on Tuesday, May 8th at 8 pm ET/PT, with subsequent episodes airing at 9 pm ET/PT. The first four episodes previously aried on CNBC; those will be repeated with the channel having the US premiere of all other installments. (via press release)

Lifetime has ordered four-hour mini-series Everything She Ever Wanted, based on Ann Rule's book about a woman and her much younger husband who are determined, at any cost, to become members of Atlanta's elite. Project, written by Michael Vickerman and directed by Peter Svatek, will star Gina Gershon (Life on Mars), Ryan McPartlin (Chuck), and Victor Garber (Eli Stone). (Hollywood Reporter)

HBO, along with Paramount Pictures and executive producer Robert Evans, are developing a six-hour mini-series about the life of Sidney Korshak, a Chicago attorney who arrived in Hollywood and "leveraged relationships with politicians, labor leaders, showbiz and the underworld to become the ultimate behind-the-scenes showbiz fixer." Project, based on a Vanity Fair article by Nick Tosches, will be written by Art Monterastelli. (Variety)

Could drama be leaving UK's Channel 4? That seems to be under discussion as one board member is floating an idea in which the beleaguered channel would drop all of its drama series in an effort to save millions of pounds and refocus the channel on documentaries and reality series. However, many--including Liza Marshall, the head of drama, and Kevin Lygo, director of television and content, are strongly opposed to the idea. (The Stage)

CBS and Sony Pictures Television, along with executive producer Michael Davies, are said to be developing a daytime one-hour update of game show The $25,000 Pyramid as a possible replacement for Guiding Light. However, other options are being looked at, including in-house productions such as talk shows. (TV Week)

CMT has ordered eight episodes of reality competition series Runnin' Wild... From Ted Nugent, that will "feature the right-wing rock star and hunting advocate teaching contestants how to survive in the wild, then chasing after them along with his 18-year-old son, Rocco." Series is expected to launch in August. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Greer said…
So happy that there's finally a release date for Pushing Daisies but still angry that they never aired the last couple of episodes. Ridiculous!

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