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Channel Surfing: Whedon Says Bell Has Not Tolled for "Dollhouse," Messing Returns to NBC, Jenny Bicks Finds "Love" for HBO, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan talks to Joss Whedon about Dollhouse's chances for a second season in a massive new Q&A. "I assumed it was dead in the water because the network was refusing to air the thirteenth [episode]," Whedon told Ryan about Dollhouse. "Not refusing, but just not interested. I assumed that meant the bell tolled for us. And they made a point of calling and saying, 'That is not what it means, and we'll keep you posted. I think they want it to succeed. I think they're getting it. They need it to succeed enough for them to pay for it. So I'm oddly hopeful but I'm also ready for anything." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

NBC is in talks to pick up an untitled comedy project that will star former Will & Grace lead Debra Messing, who last appeared in the USA series The Starter Wife. The comedy project, written by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott (Will & Grace), has received a script commitment from NBC as well as an episodic guarantee for Messing, who will also executive produce. Messing will star as a laid-off CEO who struggles to adapt to life as a full-time wife and mother as her husband becomes the family's sole breadwinner. (Hollywood Reporter)

Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City) will write the pilot script for Modern Love, a single-camera half-hour HBO comedy pilot that's loosely based on The New York Times' Modern Love column. Pilot, from BermanBraun and Sony Pictures Television, will revolve around the male editor of the column and his personal life, including "a messy divorce, a strained relationship with his teenage daughter and a difficult return to the world of dating." Alan Poul (Six Feet Under) is attached to direct. "It's going to look at the question of what love and relationships mean in modern terms," said Bicks. (Variety)

DirecTV has acquired off-network rerun rights to HBO dramas Oz and Deadwood, which it will air on its Channel 101 beginning Sunday, May 31st. The channel will air all 36 episodes of Deadwood Sunday nights at 9 pm, followed by all 56 episodes of Oz, which will air at 10 pm. Episodes will be uncensored and unedited and will run without commercial interruption. (Variety)

Ugly Betty will be returning to ABC's schedule a little sooner than expected, with the dramedy slated now to return a week earlier on April 30th, while comedies In the Motherhood and Samantha Who? will now take their leave a week earlier as well. No word on what this means for the fate of either series but it doesn't look particularly promising. (Variety)

Sky 1, the flagship channel of UK paycaster BSkyB, has seized the firstrun UK rights to medical drama House after outbidding rival Five for the NBC Universal series. “We have taken this difficult decision for commercial and scheduling reasons,” said a Five spokesman. “The continuing popularity of our long-running acquired series such as the CSI franchise and NCIS, plus the tremendous performance of our hit acquisition, The Mentalist, means it has been very difficult to find a suitable slot for the next (season) of House." Sky 1 plans to launch the fifth season of House this summer. (Variety)

Bravo is developing an untitled docusoap set inside Santa Monica retailer Fred Segal and will "focus on the oft-stressed and competitive sales team as they cater to well-do-do customers who demand the latest in clothes, shoes, accessories and beauty products." Project, from Target Entertainment, will be executive produced by Jenny Daly and Gunnar Wetterberg. (Hollywood Reporter)

E! has given a series order to Kourtney and Khloe in Miami, an unscripted spin-off of the cabler's own Keeping Up with the Kardashians that will follow the two sisters as they attempt to launch a boutique in Miami and deal with staff. The cabler also ordered eight episodes of The Lamas Family, a docusoap following Lorenzo Lamas and his adult children, which will be produced by Mike Fleiss and Warner Horizon. (Variety)

Stuart Margolin, Ona Grauer, Theresa Joy, and Toby Proctor have been cast in CBS/CTV drama series The Bridge, opposite BSG's Aaron Douglas. Project, a co-production between the two broadcasters, is expected to air later this year. (Hollywood Reporter)

In a surprising move, Robin Schwartz has resigned as president of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network after less than a year. The network won't replace Schwartz but will instead have creative affairs SVP Nina Wass and programming SVP Maria Grasso report directly to CEO Christina Norman. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Hannah said…
I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan so I should want Dollhouse to succeed but, no matter how I try, I just can't get into the show. There are glimmers of originality and excitement but, overall, it just doesn't hold my interest.

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