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Channel Surfing: McG "Optimistic" About "Chuck" Renewal, ABC Settles Down with "Modern Family," FOX to Air Two-Hour "Virtuality" Pilot, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing.

While the fate of NBC's on the bubble action comedy series Chuck is still unknown, executive producer McG--who helmed the pilot episode--is feeling positive about an eleventh hour renewal. "We're optimistic," he told SCI FI Wire. "We're going to find out in a week. But the fans have spoken. People really rallied and articulated their love of the show, but it's a cold-hearted numbers business. And I'm happy to report that the people at NBC like the show." (SCI FI Wire)

ABC has given an early series order of thirteen episodes to single-camera comedy Modern Family, from writer/executive producers Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan. The 20th Century Fox Television-producted project, formerly known as My American Family, will track the lives of three American families--one a traditional nuclear family, one a gay couple with an adopted Vietnamese baby, and the last an older man with a young Latina wife--as they are filmed by a Dutch documentary crew. Series stars Ed O'Neil, Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sarah Hyland, Nolan Gould, and Ariel Winter. (Variety)

FOX has announced that it will air the two-hour pilot of Virtuality, created by Michael Taylor and Ronald D. Moore, on Saturday, July 4th at 8 pm ET/PT. Virtuality, which stars Clea DuVall, Erik Jensen, Gene Farber, James D'Arcy, Jimmi Simpson, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Joy Bryant, Kerry Bishe, Nelson Lee, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Omar Metwally, Richie Coster, and Sienna Guillory, follows the crew of starship Phaeton on a ten-year journey on which the crew uses virtual reality modules to escape their mundane existence but a virus infects the system and unleashes a virtual killer into the mix. (Futon Critic)

Nikki Finke is reporting that the Gossip Girl spin-off series focusing on the 1980s adventures of a then teenage Lily Rhodes is now dead at CW. The potential series, which would have starred Brittany Snow and Krysten Ritter, will get a backdoor pilot this Monday as Lily flashes back to her teenage years in 1980s California. However, Finke says "Even though I heard Peter Roth loved its yesteryear vibe, the show went from hot, to lukewarm, to 'fading but wouldn't count out,' to now dead, according to my insiders. I'm really surprised." (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

ABC has pulled comedy Surviving Suburbia off of the schedule for the remainder of the season. Scheduling change goes into effect immediately and will see Dancing with the Stars return to a two-hour format. (Variety)

Could Guitar Hero be coming to television? Video game producer Activision Blizzard is said to be looking into developing its array of video games into television or film projects. Guitar Hero is said to be a likely target for a reality television series and/or concert tour, while World of Warcraft and Call of Duty are being looked at for feature film development. (Hollywood Reporter)

VH1 has ordered a second season of reality series Tough Love, with new episodes slated to air towards the end of 2009. (Variety)

BBC Two has ordered six episodes of comedy series Roger And Val Have Just Got In, starring Dawn French (The Vicar of Dibley, French & Saunders). Series, written by Emma and Beth Kilcoyne, will follow the lives of a middle-aged couple after they arrive home after a long day of work. Casting for the male lead is under way. "Roger And Val leapt off the page at me the very first time I saw it," said BBC Head of Comedy Mark Freeland. "There will be nothing like it when it arrives on BBC Two. It's original, intriguing, sweet, funny and full of pathos. And it's only got two people in it." (BBC)

Hulu has acquired online rights to such British series as Green Wing, Doc Martin, Peep Show, and Kingdom. All four titles are already available for streaming viewing on the site, which is offering all episodes from each of the series' freshman seasons. (Twitter)

ABC has ordered a pilot for an untitled talk show to feature host Aisha Tyler which will incorporate elements of social networking, including Tyler interacting with viewers via Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. While there were rumors swirling that the Tyler talk show, from ABC Media Prods., would take the place of one of ABC's afternoon soaps, sources at the network were quick to clarify, stating that the potential series was being developed for cable or syndication. (Hollywood Reporter)

ITV Global Entertainment has acquired worldwide television and home video distribution rights to multi-platform series Project Chopin, which follows the adventures of two children who discover a magical piano that can fly. Deal encompasses a film, a television docudrama, and 24 two-minute animated shorts, along with online and mobile content. (Variety)

Former RDF executive Martin Rakusen has been hired by ShineReveille International, where he will oversee their day-to-day operations and explore new joint ventures and partnerships. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


The CineManiac said…
I'm excited things seem to be looking good for Chuck. I'm a little surprised that the Gossip Girl spin-off is dead before the "back-door" pilot even airs next monday, but Finke usually seems to know what she's talking baout.
AskRachel said…

Really? I think that Nikki Finke is often incorrect or just posts gossip as "news." Just earlier this week she said that Chuck had gotten picked up for another season even though no decision had been made yet. Not cool!
Anonymous said…
If it's a numbers business, then why hasn't Chuck been renewed already!! It's clearly beating Southland and P&R in the demos that advertisers are interested in, so from a financial perspective it makes no sense that those two have already been renewed while Chuck fans are kept in suspense.

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