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Channel Surfing: Comedy Central Resurrects "Futurama," Shawn Ryan Back at FX, "Mad Men" Returns (and Runs into 11 O'Clock Hour), and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

Who said dead means dead? Comedy Central has signed a deal with studio 20th Century Fox Television for twenty-six new episodes of long-dead series Futurama, which it will launch in 2010. "When we brought back Family Guy several years ago, everyone said that it was a once in a lifetime thing -- that canceled series stay canceled and cannot be revived," said 20th Century Fox TV Chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden in a joint statement. "But Futurama was another series that fans simply demanded we bring back, and we couldn’t have been happier when Matt and David agreed that there were many more stories yet to tell." Series, which features the voices of Billy West, Katey Sagal, and John DiMaggio, ended its run on FOX in 2003 and has since aired repeats on Comedy Central, as well as the DVD-based episodes. "It's sweet, and basically everybody who has worked on the show wants to come back," said co-creator Matt Groening. "I choose to believe it's more than the economic situation. People had a good time working on this show." And it's worth noting that the studio still has an option to license the new installments to a broadcast network... like FOX. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files, Variety)

FX has ordered a pilot for one-hour dramedy Terriers from writer/executive producer Ted Griffin (Ocean's Eleven) and executive producer Shawn Ryan (The Shield). Series, from Fox 21 and Ryan's MidKidd Prods., revolves around a former cop turned private eye who forms a partnership with a younger hotshot who "solve crimes while trying to avoid danger and responsibility." (Variety, Hollywood Reporter)

AMC will launch Season Three of award-winning period drama Mad Men on Sunday, August 16th at 10 pm ET/PT and the seaspm premiere will air with limited commercial interruptions. And the cabler has been able to reach a compromise with creator Matthew Weiner about the additional two minutes of commercial ad time they sought to include in Mad Men's upcoming season, with the episodes now slated to run over into the 11 pm hour in order to accommodate the additional ads. "It's wonderful to have partners who can respond to both a business and creative challenge in such a satisfying way," Weiner told Variety. "We're thrilled that we've crafted a way to maximize our business and at the same time meet everyone's demands -- those of our marketers and advertisers, those of our creative team and those of our viewers," said Joel Stillerman, SVP of original programming, production and digital content at AMC. (Variety)

Casting roundup: Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire), Dabney Coleman (Heartland), and Paz de la Huerta (Amsterdam) have been cast in Martin Scorsese's HBO period drama pilot Boardwalk Empire, which started shooting yesterday. Elsewhere, Adam Jamal Craig (The Office) has come aboard CBS' upcoming drama series NCIS: Los Angeles as a regular; he'll play Dominic Vale, a new young agent at the Office of Special Projects. (Hollywood Reporter)

Showtime has renewed Nurse Jackie for a second season... just a day after launching the series to the highest rated premiere numbers in Showtime's history. (Televisionary)

Going to Comic-Con San Diego this year? E! Online's Watch with Kristin has an up-to-the-minute roundup of the TV-related panels that have so far leaked out ahead of the official announcement. They include panels for Psych on Thursday, The Big Bang Theory and Past Life on Friday, Chuck, Eastwick, V, Fringe, Human Target, Vampire Diaries, and MythBusters on Saturday, and Smallville and Supernatural on Sunday. There's also a Wednesday evening WB Pilot Preview Night planned. Still to come: days and times for such series as Dexter, Dollhouse, Flash Forward, Ghost Whisperer, Legend of the Seeker, Lost, and True Blood. (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

ABC yesterday announced via press release premiere dates for their new and returning series this fall. They include:

Saturday, September 5
8-11:30 pm: Saturday Night Football

Friday, September 11
10-11 pm: 20/20

Monday, September 21
8-10 pm: Dancing with the Stars
10-11 pm: Castle

Tuesday, September 22
8-10 pm: Dancing with the Stars (special two-hour episode)
10-11 pm: The Forgotten

Wednesday, September 23
8-9 pm: Dancing with the Stars the Results Show (special day and time)
9-9:30 pm: Modern Family
9:30-10 pm: Cougar Town

Thursday, September 24
8-9 pm: FlashForward
9-10 pm: Grey’s Anatomy

Sunday, September 27
7-9 pm: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (two-hour season premiere)
9-10 pm: Desperate Housewives

Tuesday, September 29
8-9 pm: Shark Tank
9-10 pm: Dancing with the Stars the Results Show (regular day & time period premiere)

Wednesday, September 30
8-8:30 pm: Hank
8:30-9 pm: The Middle

Sunday, October 4
7-8 pm: America’s Funniest Home Videos
8-9 pm: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (regular time period premiere)

Friday, October 9
8-10 pm: Ugly Betty (two-hour season premiere)

Friday, October 16
8-9 pm: Supernanny
9-10 pm: Ugly Betty (regular time period premiere)

SAG members have ratified the two-year feature-primetime contract with an overwhelming vote of support of 78 percent in favor of the new deal. The announcement of the vote's outcome ends the year-long conflict between the guild and the studios. "This decisive vote gets our members back to work with immediate pay raises," said SAG intermin national executive director David White, "and puts SAG in a strong position for the future." (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

I can't wait for Mad Men to come back in August and am happy to hear that they won't be cutting down the running time of this superb advertising-world drama to fit in more, well, advertising.
Brodie said…
I wish I was going to Comic-Con this year! I'd love to see Chuck and get a sneak peek at V and Flash Forward!

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