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Channel Surfing: Jerry O'Connell in, Sendhil Ramamurthy Out at "Rex," No "Who" Movie, "FlashForward," "Big Love" for Alby," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

Heroes' Sendhil Ramamurthy has departed NBC's David Tennant-led legal dramedy pilot Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, allegedly due to scheduling conflicts. (The project was in second position to his role on Heroes.) Ramamurthy's role, that of a good-natured lawyer who falls in love with the fiancee (Abigail Spencer) of his best friend Rex (Tennant), has now been recast with Jerry O'Connell (Carpoolers) coming on board the project. Also cast: Lindsay Kraft (Southland) and Cleo King (The Hangover); Kraft will play Rex's assistant, an aspiring singer/songwriter while King will play a private school bus driver coached to represent herself by Rex in the pilot. Project, from Universal Media Studios, also stars Jeffrey Tambor and Jane Curtin (Hollywood Reporter)

Meanwhile, David Tennant has dispelled rumors that there are any plans for a Doctor Who feature film. "I don't think there is a Doctor Who movie," Tennant told Radio Times. "It's not like I'm hell-bent on breaking into movies but it's a nice notion." (via Digital Spy)

Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Jensen talks to FlashForward creator/executive producer David S. Goyer about the series' three-month hiatus and its overall creative direction. "I know we’re all as writers breathing a sigh of relief," said Goyer when asked about the series' thirteen-week scheduling for the second half of the season. "We feel like we have all the chess pieces on the board and now we can just knock the dominoes over and watch them fall in interesting ways. I kind of feel like we did when we got into working on The Dark Knight after finishing Batman Begins: we got done with the origin story, we don’t have to do that anymore, we can now hit the ground running." [Editor: sadly, Jensen didn't ask Goyer about how the revised scheduling will affect the date-specific narrative.] (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

SPOILER! Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that there are major plans afoot this season for Matt Ross' Alby on HBO's drama series Big Love, which returns for its fourth season on January 8th. "There’s a provocative nature to what we’re doing," co-creator/executive producer Mark V. Olsen tells Ausiello. "It’s more than just the Mormon culture. We’re highlighting certain aspects of the church’s relationship with its gay members that I think, as the story unfolds, is going to cause no [small] amount of controversy." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Cynthia Cidre (Cane) will write the pilot for TNT's revival of nighttime soap Dallas, which is being produced by Warner Horizon. Storyline for the resurrected series are being kept firmly under wraps by the network, although several actors from the original series, including Patrick Duffy, Larry Hagman, and Linda Grey, were reportedly approached by producers about reprising their roles. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS has given a script order plus penalty to a series adaptation of James Patterson's upcoming novel "Private." Project, from 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television, revolves around a former CIA agent/Marine who takes over his father's private investigation firm. Jason Cahill will write and executive produce, alongside Brian Grazer and David Nevins. (Variety)

Seven less questions? NBC has cut down the episodic order for midseason comedy series 100 Questions from thirteen installments to just six. The reason behind the reduction, according to NBC, is due to the fact that both Parks and Recreation and Community garnered full season pickups and that the Olympics will clear the network's schedule for two weeks as well. (Parenthood, however, will keep to its thirteen-episode order.) (Hollywood Reporter)

The Los Angeles Times' Maria-Elena Fernandez has a great interview with Modern Family star Sofia Vergara. (You can literally hear her voice as you read the piece, intonation and all.) (Los Angeles Times/Show Tracker)

Pilot casting alert! Laura Leighton (Melrose Place) and Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse) will star opposite Lucy Hale and Troian Bellisario in ABC Family drama pilot Pretty Little Liars. Also cast: Ashley Benson, newcomer Shay Mitchell, Jean Louisa Kelly and Nia Peeples. Elsewhere at the cabler, Tracey Fairway and Nick Robinson will star opposite Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence in an untitled multi-camera comedy and Vanessa Marano and Chloe Bridges will star with Scott Cohen and Stephanie Childers Michael Jacobs' untitled single-camera comedy. (Hollywood Reporter)

Producer Kenn Viselman, the man responsible for who importing the Teletubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine to American television, has formed production company Kenn Viselman Presents, which will focus on development feature films and television programs aimed at the family market. (Variety)

Former FOX Entertainment chairman Peter Ligouri has been hired by Discovery Communications as the company's chief operating officer, where part of his overall responsibility will be overseeing the launch of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, scheduled to debut in 2011. Liguori, who will report to David Zaslav, is expected to begin in his new position in January. (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Late Show with David Letterman co-head writers (and brothers) Eric Stangel and Justin Stangel have been promoted to executive producers. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Jon88 said…
I think I understand the problem with "FlashForward" now. See, Mr. Goyer, if you have chess pieces on the board, there shouldn't also be dominoes....
AskRachel said…
I was already nervous about Rex Is Not Your Lawyer and the addition of Jerry O'Connell to the cast certainly has not quelled my fears. I just hope the project ends up being worthy of David Tennant's talent.
Unknown said…
Jon88 and AskRachel, I was thinking the same things.

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