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Channel Surfing: Christian Slater Gets "Forgotten," Emerson Says No Happy Ending for "Lost," Piper Perabo Engages in "Covert Affairs," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

Christian Slater (My Own Worst Enemy) is in talks to topline ABC drama series The Forgotten, from Warner Bros. Television and executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer. If the deal closes, Slater would replace Rupert Penry-Jones, who appeared in the original pilot episode as a former cop whose daughter was kidnapped and went missing. Another role--that played in the pilot by Reiko Aylesworth--is also being recast. The series is set to launch Tuesday, September 22nd at 10 pm. (Hollywood Reporter)

Don't look for the series finale of Lost to feature a happy ending, according to series regular Michael Emerson. "I don't think Lost will have a happy ending," Emerson told Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello. "It's the end and I think we are going to start seeing more casualties. I would put money on major characters being killed. I believe it will be a sad ending to the show -- or at least bittersweet. I think it will definitely be a series finale for grownups." And Emerson is still trying to make sense of this season's finale. "I killed Jacob... maybe... probably," mused Emerson. "It isn't like we haven't seen plenty of other people be killed and somehow come back. And what does it mean if I did kill him? I Who the hell was he anyway? Obviously, Ben wanted a father. So much of our show is about bad fathers. It is one of our biggest themes. And Jacob disappointed in those final moments. And maybe Jacob made it easy for him. Maybe that was all meant to happen. Is it all ordained? Maybe. And for that matter, can Jacob even be killed? Stay tuned is my response." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Piper Perabo (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) has been cast as the lead in USA's espionage drama pilot Covert Affairs, which has yet to receive a firm greenlight from the cabler (though a pilot order is expected in the next few weeks). Perabo will play Annie Walker, a CIA trainee who joins the agency while still recovering from a relationship with an ex-boyfriend who is of special interest to her spymasters. The search is on to cast male lead Auggie Anderson, a blind tech expert. Project, written by Matt Corman and Chris Ord, comes from Universal Cable Prods. Perabo last year starred in ABC drama pilot The Prince of Motor City. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan raves about BBC America's upcoming Torchwood: Children of Earth and talks with series creator Russell T. Davies about what viewers should expect from the five-episode third season "event" and promises more to come in the next few days. (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Hilary Duff is joining the cast of CW's Gossip Girl next season in a multiple-episode story arc, where she will play Olivia, an incognito movie star who enrolls at NYU in order to live a simpler life and becomes Vanessa's roommate... and gets romantically entangled with Dan Humphrey. (E! Online's Watch with Kristin, Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) is said to be in talks with CBS and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to host the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in September. (Variety)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan is reporting that there will be not one but two Farscape panels at San Diego Comic-Con later this month. The first, scheduled for Friday, July 24th at 10:15 am, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series and will feature creator Rockne O'Bannon, executive producer Brian Henson, and stars Ben Browder and Claudia Black. The second will focus on the Farscape series of comic books. (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Meanwhile, A&E Home Entertainment yesterday announced that they are releasing the entire series of Farscape as a repackaged "series megaset" featuring all four seasons of the series in November. (via press release)

ABC is developing reality competition series The Fast and the Funniest, which follows stand-up comedians as they travel around the country completing various tasks and performing at stops along the way. Series is described as a cross between "Last Comic Standing and The Amazing Race." Casting is underway on the series, which hails from Keep Calm Prods. and executive producers Page Hurwitz and Javier Winnik. (Variety)

Four pilots--ABC's Solving Charlie, This Little Piggy, and Romantically Challenged and CBS' House Rules--remain in contention for midseason slots on their respective schedules after cast options were extended on the pilots. Options on Alyssa Milano, Kyle Bornheimer, and Kelly Stables on Romantically Challenged have been extended; on Solving Charlie, Jimmy Wolk, Dakota Goyo, Brad Henke, and Dania Ramirez have stayed on; on This Little Piggy, only options on Andrea Parker and Rebecca Creskoff have been extended; and on House Rules, most of cast will remain on board, including Zoe McLellan, Eion Bailey, Kristin Bauer, Tawny Cypress, Anna Chlumsky, and Denzel Whitaker. (Hollywood Reporter)

Rocky Carroll will appear in both NCIS and upcoming spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles next season as NCIS director Leon Vance. Carroll is set to appear in at least six episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles' initial thirteen-episode commitment and remains a series regular on NCIS. (TVGuide.com)

NBC will air its two-episode docuseries The Wanted, which centers on "an elite team with intelligence, unconventional warfare and investigative journalism backgrounds as they hunt suspects such as Mullah Krekar, the founder of terrorist organization Ansar Al Islam," on Monday, July 20th and Monday, June 27th at 10 pm ET/PT. (Variety)

Seminal 1990s dramedy Ally McBeal is finally coming to DVD, according to Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch, who writes that both the first season and the entire series are available for pre-order at Amazon. (Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch)

Discovery Channel has given out a series order to unscripted series The Colony, in which ten strangers will spend two months inside an abandoned warehouse complex without electricity, running water, or contact with the outside world and must build a functioning society following a fictional major catastrophe. Series, from Thom Beers Original Productions, is set to launch Tuesday, July 21st at 10 pm. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Stay tuned.

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