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Channel Surfing: FOX Renews "Dollhouse," "Bones" Gets Two Season Pickup, "So You Think You Can Dance" on Tap for Fall, and More

Welcome to (a very early edition of) your Monday morning television briefing on the first day of the 2009 network upfronts.

In a surprising twist, FOX has renewed drama series Dollhouse for a second season. Dollhouse, which secured a thirteen-episode order from the network, is expected to remain on Friday evenings next season. Variety's Cynthia Littleton writes, "The 20th Century Fox TV fantasy drama starring Eliza Dushku has delivered modest but consistent ratings on a low-trafficked night, thanks to Whedon's built-in fan base." It's believed that the renewal was secured after the studio agreed to drastically reduce the series' budget and accept a significantly lower license fee. Just what that decision will mean for the writing staff and cast of Dollhouse remains to be seen. (Variety)

Good news for Bones fans (even those irked by the season finale's twist): FOX and studio 20th Century Fox Television have signed a deal to renew Bones for not one but two seasons. The eleventh hour renewal came down to the wire as the two sides had to hammer out a new license fee for the series, which is returning for its fifth season this fall. News of Bones' renewal was announced by creator Hart Hanson via his Twitter account. Hanson also indicated that frequent guest star Stephen Fry would reprise his role as Dr. Gordon Wyatt on the series. "There is every chance," said Hart, again via Twitter, "that Stephen Fry will be on Bones in the future." (Variety)

Elsewhere at FOX, the network is expected to announce a first-ever fall outing for reality franchise So You Think You Can Dance next season, likely to be paired with drama Glee on Wednesdays. Other potential timeslot pairings include House and Lie to Me on Mondays,Fringe and Human Target on Tuesdays, and Bones and So You Think You Can Dance's result show on Thursday. Just what will be paired with Dollhouse on Fridays? Past Life perhaps? Meanwhile, comedies Brothers and Sons of Tucson are expected to bow in midseason. (Hollywood Reporter)

Still more FOX news: FOX has ordered 13 episodes of comedy Brothers, starring Michael Strahan, Darryl "Chill" Mitchell, and CCH Pounder. Series, from Sony Pictures Television and Tantamount, revolves around the strained relationship between two brothers, one a retired NFL player (Strahan) and other a wheelchair bound man (Mitchell) whose own dreams of NFL glory were sidelined by a car accident. Meanwhile, drama Maggie Hill is said to still be in contention for a midseason slot. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS has reportedly given a go-ahead to begin staffing on three new drama series, making their official series orders all the more likely later this week. The untitled NCIS spin-off, medical drama Three Rivers (starring Moonlight's Alex O'Loughlin), and legal drama The Good Wife (starring Julianna Margulies), all of which hail from CBS Television Studios (formerly known as CBS Paramount Network Television) have all been told to begin staffing ahead of CBS' official upfront presentation on Wednesday. (Variety)

Meanwhile, Nikki Finke is reporting that CBS has given medical drama Miami Trauma a greenlight to start staffing and that the Eye is considering launching U.S. Attorney in midseason. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

ABC has renewed reality series True Beauty for a second season. Project, from executive producers Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher, featured ten handsome contestants who live together in a house and undergo a series of challenges to determine which of them has the most inner beauty. (Futon Critic)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has a fantastic interview/profile of Jane Lynch, currently on the small screen in Starz's Party Down and FOX's Glee. Lynch said that Party Down, created by Rob Thomas, John Enbom, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd, was the most fun she'd had in her life. "It’s what I really love to do. I love being part of a team where everybody’s kind of got equal weight, Lynch told Ryan. "It’s about teamwork. There’s really no room for the big ego-trip thing that you hear about." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

SPOILER: Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello catches up with Prison Break executive producer Matt Olmstead after Friday evening's season finale to discuss the shocking ending of the series, which saw the death of Wentworth Miller's Michael Scofield. "For me, it is a happy ending," Olmstead told Ausiello. "Look at the very first episode of the season when Michael realizes Sara's alive. They have a chance to run away, and they both elect not to because, as two people of conscience, they can't live with what they both now have experienced. And at the end of the finale, when they're on the beach and talking about the baby that's coming, that's a huge victory in that they both stood their ground and, with the help of other people, brought down the ultimate antagonist. So they have their moment." Olmstead also teases the plot of the two-hour direct-to-DVD Prison Break film, which is due to be released on July 28th. "Sara is on the hook for [killing] Michael's mother and she gets locked up while pregnant," said Olmstead. "The tables are turned… once a doctor in prison now imprisoned, and Michael's on the outside. The majority of the cast is back. It's Michael, Lincoln, Sara, Sucre, T-Bag, Mahone... all the heavy-hitters." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

HBO has handed out a series order to animated series The Ricky Gervais Show, which will feature Gervais, his longtime writing partner and friend Stephen Merchant and the quirky Karl Pilkington, who has appeared with Gervais and Merchant on their podcast and will be the focal point for the series. Series, which has been ordered for thirteen episodes, hails from Media Rights Capital and Wildbrain and is expected to launch in 2010. "Karl is a man who believes that a sea lion is a cross between a fish and a dog," said Gervais and Merchant in a statement. "Hopefully, Karl will enter the pantheon of animated greats."(Variety)

Reports are swirling that ITV sci-fi drama Primeval, which airs Stateside on BBC America and Sci Fi, could birth a spin-off of its own. Executive producers Jonathan Drake and Tim Haines have reportedly begun drafting plans for a second Primeval-based project that could expand the series' mythology outside the UK and could be set in the United States. (Digital Spy)

Former CSI castmember Jorja Fox will guest star on an upcoming episode of Lifetime's dramedy Drop Dead Diva, which premieres July 12th. Fox will play a "soccer mom with a criminal past" on an episode of the Lifetime series about a dead model who is reborn into the body of an overweight attorney. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

20th Century Fox Television has signed a deal with Columbia Records to release music from the upcoming series Glee on iTunes and other digital platforms as well as on compact disc. (Hollywood Reporter)

E! Online's Watch with Kristin talks with Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr about what's to come on the CW drama series. Szohr teases that Vanessa will definitely get over Nate ditching her for Blair and that there could be the potential for another encounter with Chuck Bass. "Obviously, Vanessa's a little bit hurt because that's her boyfriend, but what comes around goes around, so I'm sure Vanessa will be all right. [...] Vanessa hates Chuck... that's what's fun about it. We'll see." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

FOX and animation studio Aniboom have teamed up on a contest where animates can submit short films. The prize: a development deal at FOX and the opportunity to create the "next great animated holiday special" or, potentially, a weekly series. "FOX has long been the sole primetime animation powerhouse, and we're searching for a fresh new animated holiday special that could potentially become an instant classic and maybe even a weekly series," said FOX president Kevin Reilly. "By tapping into Aniboom's community of undiscovered talent, we hope to find the next original hit holiday concept, like Simpsons Treehouse of Horror or A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas." (Hollywood Reporter)

Ryan Seacrest has indicated that there could be some major changes in store for next season of FOX's American Idol. "I don't know what they'll do next year. I don't know if they'll keep the tweaks that they've made this season or if they're going to implement new ones," Seacrest told Broadcasting & Cable's Marisa Guthrie. "But it's no secret that Simon is thinking about it being his last season. Everyone's deal is up next year except for Paula's." (Broadcasting & Cable)

CBS Television Studios have signed a two-year first-look deal with Drew Carey, currently the host of daytime game show The Price Is Right. Under the terms of the deal, Carey will develop projects via his International Mammoth TV shingle. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


susie que said…
I'm very surprised about Dollhouse. Too bad Firefly, a far superior show, didn't have an extra chance like this!
Jana said…
Thanks for the link to the Jane Lynch interview. I think she's an incredible comedian! I really hope she's able to stay on Party Down, though, because she's one of my favorite characters!

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