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Channel Surfing: Syfy Soups Up for "Alphas," Chandra Wilson to Visit "Private Practice," Abdul to Leave "Idol," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

Cabler Syfy has ordered a 90-minute pilot for Zak Penn and Michael Karnow's action-adventure drama Alphas, which had been previously set up at ABC two season ago under the name Section 8. Project, from BermanBraun Television and Universal Cable Studios, follows a team of agents who "possess hyper-developed neurological abilities" (read: superpowers). "What we loved about this idea is that it played into a new way of approaching the superhero genre: the idea of ordinary people who have one slightly extraordinary feature about them and are singularly not so special but together can do extraordinary things was very attractive," said Syfy EVP of original programming Mark Stern. Section 8, which had a six-episode order from ABC, left the network post-writers' strike over creative differences before winding up at Syfy, which ordered it to pilot from the three projects in had in development. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Grey's Anatomy's Chandra Wilson will appear in spin-off series Private Practice next season. "The Grey’s Anatomy Emmy nominee will cross over to sister show Private Practice early into Season Six (Episode Three, specifically) when Bailey visits Oceanside Wellness," writes Ausiello. "I’m told the crackling chemistry between Bailey and Sam (Taye Diggs) that was on display during previous crossovers will once again get some play during this latest visit." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

FOX has confirmed that Paula Abdul will NOT be returning to music competition series American Idol next season. Abdul announced her decision via Twitter yesterday, a statement that the network later confirmed, along with FremantleMedia North America, and 19 Entertainment. "With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return to #IDOL," wrote Abdul, who then continued by saying, "I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all ... being a part of a show that I helped from day 1 become an international phenomenon." In an official statement, FOX, Fremantle, and 19 Entertainment said: "Paula Abdul has been an important part of the 'American Idol' family over the last eight seasons and we are saddened that she has decided not to return to the show. While Paula will not be continuing with us, she's a tremendous talent and we wish her the best." (Variety)

New York Magazine's Logan Hill has a fantastic interview with Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, who clarifies our obsession with the period drama. "Drinking and smoking and having sex with other people’s wives and all those things—they are bad, bad behaviors,” said Hendricks. "But it’s all done with fabulous clothes and lighting and excellent music, and that makes for a really sexy show. Being bad is sexy." (New York Magazine)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that D.B. Sweeney (Crash) has been cast in a six-episode story arc next season on CBS' Criminal Minds. "He’s playing a U.S. Marshal who’s brought in to help with a big [case] that arcs through the first part of the season," executive producer Ed Bernero told Ausiello. "He’s a contemporary of our team and knows several members of our team really well." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

The remake fever isn't abating any time soon at the CW, according to network boss Dawn Ostroff, who told reporters at yesterday's TCA session that the netlet is looking at other potential remake possibilities. "I don't know if we'd do Party of Five," said Ostroff, "but there are other shows we're looking at that we would possibly think about." Meanwhile, Gossip Girl spin-off Lily might be dead but that doesn't mean that the CW will stop trying to find a potential spin-off from Gossip Girl. "If Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage would be open to it, of course we'd be open to it," said Ostroff. "There is a spinoff actually of the book series which is called 'The It Girl,' and we've explored that with them. It's been harder to find how you make that a world that's well-rounded enough for us, because it takes place at a boarding school, and it's very insular." And, oh, Body Politic is definitely dead. (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Rescue Me co-creator Peter Tolan has teamed with Michael Wimer to launch and as-yet-untitled production company that will be based at Sony Pictures Television and operate under a three-year overall deal. "It's important to establish this company right out of the gate, so that would mean tempering my cable instincts and coming up with something that would bring more people into the tent," said Tolan. "I'm never going to take that darker, cynical side out of myself, but I'm going to make the shows a little bit more welcoming." (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC will offer a primetime preview special that will highlight offerings from the Peacock this fall and will air on all of NBC Universal's portfolio of channels, including NBC, Syfy, Bravo, and USA, as well as being offered online at NBC.com. Series such as Community, The Jay Leno Show, Trauma, Mercy, The Biggest Loser, Heroes, Southland, and the channel's Thursday night comedies are among those getting the promotional treatment. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC has confirmed that production on long-running daytime soap All My Children is moving from New York to Los Angeles. The former studio that housed All My Children will not be given to One Life to Live and both series will begin broadcasting in high-definition in early 2010. (Variety)

Ann Gillespie has signed on to reprise her role as Jackie Taylor-Silver next season on 90210, where she will appear in a multiple-episode story arc that has her attempting to reconcile with daughters Kelly (Jennie Garth) and Silver (Jessica Stroup). Her first appearance is slated to air in October. (TVGuide.com)

The N--about to be rebranded as TeenNick--has optioned Deborah Gregory's novel series "Catwalk," about four friends at Manhattan's Fashion International High School. Gregory will adapt her series with Without a Trace scribe Jacob Epstein. (Hollywood Reporter)

More changes afoot for the Emmy Awards, this time affecting just who is eligible to judge this year's categories, a move that prohibits full-time employees from voting in any category for which the network they work for are nominated. It's a move that is likely to frustrate pay cabler HBO, which is nominated for 99 Emmy Awards in most of the major categories; move would then bar their employees from voting in any of those categories. (Variety's Awards Central)

Stay tuned.

Comments

susie que said…
Dear CW,

Please stop doing remakes. Or, at the very least, please make better remakes that don't make me want to rip my eyes out.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Television Watcher

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