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Channel Surfing: FOX Sends "Dollhouse" to the Attic, ABC Axes "Hank," Syfy Blasts into "Outer Space," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

It's official: FOX has canceled Joss Whedon's metaphysical drama series Dollhouse. The series, which is currently in production on this season's eleventh episode, will finish production and the network is currently expected to air all thirteen installments of the low-rated Friday night drama beginning December 4th. Whedon himself posted on Whedonesque about the cancellation news (which didn't come as a surprise to anyone tracking the ratings) and said, ""I don't have a lot to say. I'm extremely proud of the people I've worked with: my star, my staff, my cast, my crew. I feel the show is getting better pretty much every week, and I think you'll agree in the coming months. I'm grateful that we got to put it on, and then come back and put it on again. I'm off to pursue internet ventures/binge drinking," he wrote. "Possibly that relaxation thing I've read so much about. By the time the last episode airs, you'll know what my next project is. But for now there's a lot of work still to be done, and disappointment to bear. Thank you all for your support, your patience, your excellent adverts. See you again." (Hollywood Reporter, Whedonesque)

ABC has canceled struggling Kelsey Grammer comedy series Hank and has yanked it off of the schedule, effective immediately. The network will instead use the Wednesdays at 8 pm timeslot to air a mix of comedy specials and holiday specials. There are five unaired episodes of the Warner Bros. Television-produced Hank on the shelves and it's not clear whether any of these installments will air. News comes after the network opted not to pick up supernatural drama Eastwick for its back nine, while the rest of ABC's Wednesday lineup--Modern Family, The Middle, and Cougar Town--have all been picked up for full seasons. (Variety)

Syfy has ordered five half-hour episodes of hybrid animated comedy Outer Space Astronauts. Series, from executive producers Russell Barret, David O. Russell, and Scott Puckett, will follow "eight military misfits who journey to the far reaches of the galaxy on board the O.S.S. Oklahoma" in a style that will blend both live-action as well as 2D and 3D animation techniques. It's slated to launch on December 8th. "Syfy fans have never seen animation quite like this before," Syfy EVP of original content Mark Stern told the Hollywood Reporter. "Out of the basement and mind of show creator, Russell Barrett, he's delivered a funny and fresh take on the future of underground and homegrown animation today." (Hollywood Reporter)

Martha Plimpton, Lucas Neff, and Olesya Rulin have been cast in FOX single-camera comedy pilot Keep Hope Alive, from writer/executive producer Greg Garcia. Project, from 20th Century Fox Television, follows Jimmy, a 25-year-old man (Neff) who is forced to raise his infant child with the help of his quirky family after the mother, with whom he had a one-night stand, ends up on death row. Plimpton will play Jimmy's no-nonsense mother. Michael Fresco is attached to direct. (Hollywood Reporter)

Author Ray Bradbury has signed a deal with indie producers White Oak Films to develop The Bradbury Chronicles, a six-hour miniseries based on six of his short stories. No network is currently attached to the project, which will be executive produced by Bradbury, John Dayton, Merrill Capps, Todd Klick, Cory Travalena, and Dale Olson, with Bradbury himself adapting his own work. (Variety)

Scott Cohen (Gilmore Girls) and Stephanie Childers (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) have been cast in ABC Family's untitled Michael Jacobs single-camera comedy pilot, where Cohen will play an unemployed architect who "begins to mentor his underdog middle daughter, while his veterinarian wife (Childers) shares a closer bond with their Type-A older daughter." Elsewhere at ABC Family, Troian Bellisario and Ian Harding will star opposite Lucy Hale in drama pilot Pretty Little Liars. (Hollywood Reporter)

FOX has given a series order to Mark Burnett-produced game show Our Little Genius, in which child geniuses, ranging from six to twelve years old, are given the chance to put their knowledge to the test and earn cash prizes. "In television, we often showcase kids who are incredible singers, actors or dancers, so it's high time we give the spotlight to kids with incredible brains," said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company, in a statement. "The kids on this show are ridiculously smart, and with its unique appeal to both parents and children alike, I think Our Little Genius is one of Mark Burnett's most compelling creations yet." (via press release)

Warner Bros. Television has signed a new three-year overall deal with Old Christine creator Kari Lizer, under which she will develop projects for the studio as well as remain on board Old Christine as executive producer, should the series be picked up by CBS for a sixth season. (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC has confirmed its plans for its musical competition series The Sing-Off and will strip the series across a single week beginning Monday, December 14th. Series, from Tenth Planet Prods., Outlaw Entertainment, and Sony Pictures Television, will launch with a two-hour installment and air double-length episodes on Tuesday, December 15th and Wednesday, December 16th before wrapping up with a two-hour finale on Monday, December 21st. It will take a breather on Thursday, December 17th, when NBC airs a two-hour primetime Saturday Night Live Christmas special. (Variety)

BBC Two has acquired UK rights to Showtime's dark comedy series Nurse Jackie, which it plans to launch early next year. (Variety)

Elsewhere at the British terrestrial network, Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser will star opposite Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz), Emma Pierson (Little Dorrit), and Jerry Hall (Calendar Girls) in a BBC Two adaptation of Martin Amis' novel Money, a "comedic tale of excess, greed and flawed ambition set at the beginnings of Eighties capitalism." Production begins this month on the two one-hour installments, written by Tom Butterworth and Chris Hurford and directed by Jeremy Lovering. (BBC)

Broadcast's Robin Parker takes a look at the new production models emerging as American and British comedy writers join forces, with several Atlantic-crossing series such as David Cross' The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret and Matt LeBlanc-led Episodes becoming a reality. (Broadcast)

CurrentTV pinkslipped 80 full-time staffers yesterday in the company's Los Angeles, London, New York, and San Francisco offices as the cabler moves from a shortform content strand to a more traditional television network model, with its schedule likely to be filled mostly by acquisitions. (Hollywood Reporter)

TruTV has ordered reality series NFL Full Contact, which will offers viewers a behind-the-scenes-look into the inner workings of the football league and focus on key personalities within the sport. Series, from executive producers Steve Sabol and Anthony Horn, will launch on February 8th. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Heatherette said…
I never thought I would be happy hearing that a Joss Whedon show got canceled but Dollhouse, while it had a few shining moments, never quite lived up to its potential. At least now Whedon can move on to other projects.

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