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Channel Surfing: Starz to "Party Down" for Season Two, FOX Orders "Human Target" and "Sons of Tucson," "Torchwood" Ignites in July, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

Good news: pay cabler Starz has renewed comedy series Party Down, from creators Rob Thomas, John Enbom, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd, for a second season. The entire cast of Season One of Party Down will return for a sophomore season, though Jane Lynch's commitment to FOX's upcoming series Glee could create complications for her return and the actress is the only cast member who isn't already signed on for a second season. Party Down will return to production this summer for a Season Two launch date sometime in 2010. Also returning: directors Fred Savage and Bryan Gordon, who will direct episodes of the series, along with Ken Marino, who is locked to helm an installment as well. (E! Online's Watch with Kristin, Variety)

FOX has reportedly ordered pilots Human Target, from Warner Bros Television, and comedy Sons of Tucson, from 20th Century Fox Television, to series. FOX had no comment on the news, which is hardly surprising as the network will unveil its schedule to advertisers on Monday. Human Target stars Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley; it revolves around a man hired to pose as people whose lives are in danger, becoming in effect a human target. (Series is based on a DC Comics/Vertigo title.) Sons of Tucson, starring Tyler Labine and Natalie Morales, follows a hustler who is hired to pose as the father of three kids whose real father is in jail for white collar crimes. Series was created by Tommy Dewey and Greg Bratman. (Variety)

BBC America has announced that Torchwood's third season, comprised of five episodes, will air this July, following a similar air pattern as BBC One in the UK and will air day-and-date with the UK airings. (You can take a look at the trailer for season three, Torchwood: Children of Earth, here.) (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

FOX has renewed drama Lie to Me for a second season of thirteen episodes and has hired The Shield creator Shawn Ryan to come aboard as showrunner on the 20th Century Fox Television-produced series. The hiring doesn't mean curtains for Ryan's other series, CBS' The Unit, however; should that series be picked up for another season, Ryan will juggle duties on both of the 20th-produced series. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files, Hollywood Reporter)

Meanwhile, Dollhouse is said to still be alive at FOX, with Hollywood Reporter's Nellie Andreeva reporting that "cult favorite Dollhouse is still alive, with the final decision hinging on the low-rated series' economics." (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC's Scrubs is said to be inching its way to a ninth season renewal following reports that offers have gone out to the series' cast, with many of them--including Zach Braff--expected to return for a ninth season, even if only for a handful of episodes. (Variety)

The New York Post is reporting that Desperate Housewives' Lily Tomlin and Kathryn Joosten, who play Roberta and Karen McClusky on the ABC drama, are in talks to reprise their roles in an untitled spin-off focusing on their characters. (New York Post)

Showtime has confirmed that Alanis Morissette will will appear in at least seven episodes of Season Five of Weeds, which launches Monday, June 8th. Morisette will guest star in the series as no-nonsense clinic OB/GYN Dr. Audra Kitson, who treats Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) for her pregnancy. (via press release)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton will not be returning to One Tree Hill for the series' seventh season, launching on the CW this fall. Their final appearances on the series will air this Monday on the season finale. The reason behind their departure? Failed contract negotiations, according to Ausiello, who says that two new characters will be introduced next season to fill the void left behind by Murray and Burton and Austin Nichols will be bumped to series regular. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

A&E announced a slew of scripted development at their upfront yesterday, including the The Quickening from writer Jennifer Salt (Nip/Tuck) about a bi-polar LAPD cop who goes off of her medication; Night Falls, about a Manhattan cop with a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality disorder, from writer Daniel Connolly and executive producer Brian Robbins; an untitled Matthew Carnahan cop drama which splits its focus on the criminals and the FBI team assigned to track them down; and James Ellroy-scripted drama The Lead Sheet, a period drama set in the 1970s as the LAPD looks to capture the elusive Hillside Strangler. Two of those projects will get pilot greenlights in the next few weeks, joining Jerry Bruckheimer's Cooler Kings. (Variety)

Nikki Finke is reporting that ABC pilots Limelight and No Heroics are dead, while Romantically Challenged "came in better than expected but star Alysso Milano was worse than expected." At CBS, Miami Trauma and Three Rivers are both fighting for a slot on the schedule. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)

Universal Media Studios have signed an overall deal with former Scrubs writers Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman, who co-created comedy pilot Nobody's Watching with Bill Lawrence. Under the terms of the deal, they will come aboard upcoming NBC comedy series Community as executive producers, working alongside creator Dan Harmon on the series, and will develop new projects for the studio hopefully in the 2010-2011 season. (Hollywood Reporter)

In other deal-related news, CBS Television Studios has signed a two-year overall deal with writer Ken Sanzel, under which he will remain showrunner on CBS drama NUMB3RS, should the series be renewed for a fifth season. Failing a renewal, Sanzel will be shifted over to another CBS Television Studios series. (Variety)

Discovery has announced another HD nature documentary series entitled Wild Planet: North America, on which the cabler will team with former BBC Natural History Unit head Keith Scholey as part of the first of a batch of documentary series that will catalogue the planet's natural beauty continent by continent. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC is developing a US adaptation of Dutch reality series Find My Family with RDF USA and executive producer Tom Forman (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) in which everyday people, desperate to track down a long-lost friend or relative, get reunited with their missing individual. Project, which just recently wrapped production on a pilot, will be hosted by Tim Green and Lisa Joyner. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Very cool about Party Down! I would be sad, though, if Jane Lynch didn't return as she's one of my favorite characters.
Brodie said…
I can't wait for Torchwood in July! Thanks for the update!
Ally said…
Yay, Party Down!

And I say NO to the Desperate Housewives spinoff. Does no one understand the concept of "small doses?"
slippy said…
HUMAN TARGET = awesome source material.

I've got all the issues from this series and let me tell you, the dialogue, characterisation and stories are gripping indeed. If the FOX adaptation borrows half of what Peter Milligan has put onto the page... then we're in for a treat, especially with some decent effects.

Perhaps Chris Chance (the 'hero') will be a bit like Echo from Dollhouse every week, only this time someone we can relate to.

Either way, it'll be interesting.

Steve
UK

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