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Channel Surfing: Mystery Man in Black from "Lost" Talks, FX Aims for Hit with "Archer," "Harper's Island" Doomed, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

TVGuide.com talks to Lost's Titus Welliver, who played the mysterious man in black seen in the fifth season finale (that many of us are referring to as Esau). "The way that I interpreted it, on a biblical level, is that it's a sort of Cain-and-Abel scenario," said Welliver of the showdown between Jacob and his character. "So by destroying Jacob, what does that prove — that [the man in black] can ultimately have power over the island? Do the castaways become solely his playthings? And why was it so important that he find the loophole to be able to kill Jacob? That moved me in the direction of thinking that if he needs this loophole, there's a greater power than the two of them that they're answering to." (TVGuide.com)

FX has ordered six episodes of animated comedy Archer (working title), about the eccentric employees of an international spy agency, from writer/executive producer Adam Reed. Project, which will launch this fall and be paired with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, features the voices of Jon Benjamin, Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler, and Judy Greer. Says Variety's Michael Schneider, "Benjamin plays Sterling Archer, a suave spy who goes by the code name Duchess. Walter plays his mother, while Tyler is his ex-girlfriend, Agent Lana Kane. Greer plays his secretary; Parnell is the spy agency’s comptroller." (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Lynette Rice is reporting that there's no hope for CBS' Harper's Island, citing unnamed insiders who "insist" that there won't be a second season of the serialized slasher series. CBS, meanwhile, wouldn't comment officially on the likelihood of a cancellation. Series was originally intended to be an ongoing franchise where each season would introduce a new killer and a new batch of victims. (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

Steven Weber (Brothers & Sisters) and newcomer Ben Schnetzer are in talks to come aboard ABC midseason drama series Happy Town, where they would respectively replace Dean Winters and John Patrick Amedori, who appeared in the original pilot. (Which I reviewed here.) Weber will play John Haplin, scion of the town's founding family who is distraught after the kidnapping years earlier of his daughter by the mysterious "Magic Man." Schnetzer will play John Haplin's son who is himself enmeshed in a star-crossed romance with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. (Hollywood Reporter)

Modern Family director Jason Winer has signed a new multi-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, under which he will remain on board ABC's single-camera comedy Modern Family as a director and co-executive producer. He'll direct six additional installments from the series' initial thirteen-episode commitment as well as develop new series for the studio with his writing partner Ryan Raddatz. (Variety)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan talks to Torchwood: Children of Earth star John Barrowman about the event season of the Doctor Who spin-off series. "I say this with my hand on my heart: If I were only asked to be Captain Jack for the next 10 years, I would do it," said Barrowman. "I'm definitely up for [Season] 4, 5, 6, whatever. For as long as they want to do it, I'm there." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville scribe Drew Z. Greenberg has joined the writing staff of Syfy's Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica, according to showrunner Jane Espenson. (Twitter)

Ryan Seacrest has signed a new contract that will pay out $15 million a year for the next three years that will keep him on board as host of FOX's American Idol through 2012 and make him exclusive to 19 Entertainment/CKX. Simon Cowell is already in the midst of renegotiating his own contract and Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi are all said to be "expected to ink new deals to return next year." (Variety)

Taryn Manning will guest star in the third episode of the CW's Melrose Place, where she will play a singer whose latest music video is directed by Jonah (Michael Rady). (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Los Angeles Times' Liesl Bradner profiles ubiquitous actor Patrick Fischler, who has appeared on the small screen this past year on such high-profile series as Lost, Mad Men, and Southland. "After Mad Men I got a lot of 'How dare you speak to Don Draper like that?'" Fischler said. "People -- mainly women -- were mad at me that I told Don off. I took it as a compliment." (Los Angeles Times)

Showtime has ordered six episodes of half-hour variety series Live Nude Comedy, described as a "mix of stand-up comedy and modern-day burlesque." Project, from Salient Media and The Collective and executive producers Gary Binkow and Michael Green, is hosted by Shannon Elizabeth and will launch on Thursday at midnight ET/PT on the pay cabler. Format will include an audience-participation sketch with Elizabeth, followed by two comedians and two dancers. (Variety)

E! Online's Watch with Kristin is reporting that Michelle Trachtenberg will fulfill her guest turn on the CW's Gossip Girl this fall, despite NBC shifting her midseason medical drama series Mercy to the fall. "Our sources tell us that Michelle Trachtenberg won't miss a beat of Gossip Girl," wrote Team Watch with Kristin. "She's doing everything she was expected to do as of last spring, and Georgina's episodes are good!" (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

HBO and Cinemax have joined Comcast's TV Everywhere initiative, allowing the cable operator to stream its series, movies, and other premium content to 5000 subscribers in the Philadelphia area in a pilot program to start in several weeks' times. The pay cablers join TNT, TBS, and Starz in the test program, which if it is successful, will be made available to Comcast subscribers around the country at no additional cost. (Hollywood Reporter)

It's official (finally!): CBS has announced that Neil Patrick Harris will host the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, to be broadcast live on September 20th. (Variety's Emmy Central)

Cabler VH1 has ordered four episodes of concert series Live and Loud Fridays from Live Nation. Series, which will feature rock performances from venues around the country, will launch this week with Poison and Def Leppard. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Banshee said…
I'm very interested to see what happens with "Esau" on Lost next season and wonder if Jacob really is dead or if he'll be back in some way or another.
The CineManiac said…
My desire to see Melrose Place just went down about 95% with the news that Taryn Manning is joining as she bugs the ever-living hell out of me. I don't know what it is but I can't stand her.

And I am seriously upset about Harper's Island. Sure it was cheesy and sometimes non-nonsensical, but it was a blast and, for me, must see TV. I looked forward to Saturday nights each week just to watch the show.

So I'm hoping that CBS starts to hear from the fans and realizes that although it wasn't a huge hit, it seemed to do pretty good in a burn(off) zone like saturday night. an average of 4.8 million viewers seems pretty good for a weekend to me.

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