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Channel Surfing: USA Renews "White Collar," ABC to Burn Off "Ted" and "Scrubs," "True Blood," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

In an early Christmas present to fans, USA gave out a second season order to dramedy White Collar. The news was broken by series creator Jeff Eastin, who announced the renewal via Twitter on Friday. ("White Collar season 2 pickup is official!" wrote Eastin. "Congratulations to the best cast and crew on television.") Hardly a surprising turn of events considering that the Fox Television Studios-produced series posted its strongest numbers--5.6 million viewers overall--for its fall finale. White Collar returns with new episodes on January 19th. (Variety, Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Less good news for fans of ABC's absurdist comedy Better Off Ted or the resurrected Scrubs, however. The Futon Critic is reporting that ABC plans to wrap up the runs of both Better Off Ted and Scrubs in January, burning off both series by double-pumping them in the 8 pm and 9 pm hours throughout the month, along with an extra airing on Friday, January 1st. The news means that both comedies will end their runs by the time the month is over. (Futon Critic)

True Blood casting alert! Lindsay Pulsipher (The Beast) has been cast as a series regular on HBO’s True Blood, where she will play Crystal Norris, described as "a barefoot, sundress-wearing woman who shares an electric connection with Jason (Ryan Kwanten) before vanishing into the forest." (Hollywood Reporter)

In a surprising twist, CBS will use the coveted post-Super Bowl slot on February 7th to launch new reality series Undercover Boss, rather than air one of their current series. Series, executive produced by Stephen Lambert, follows CEOs as they go undercover at their companies to see what challenges actually affect their employees. Series will move into its regular timeslot, Sundays at 9 pm, beginning February 14th... which also sees the start of a new season of The Amazing Race as well. (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

In other CBS-related news, the network will launch the twentieth season of Survivor, named Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, on February 11th. The season will feature the return of twenty former players, who will be divided into two tribes. "20 of Survivor's greatest castaways return, and a conflict will ignite," host Jeff Probst said. "One side chosen for their skills in deception, manipulation, and duplicity: the villains. And the other, defined by their decisions of integrity, courage, and honor: the heroes. Twenty castaways will return seeking revenge or redemption in the biggest battle in Survivor history.” (Reality Blurred)

E! Online's Jennifer Godwin caught up with Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy to talk about the back nine episodes, slated to debut on FOX in March, including some romance for Lea Michele's Rachel. "There's a lot of love stuff going on for [Rachel Berry] in the show in the next episodes: Jonathan [Groff]... Finn... Puck (Mark Salling)," teased Murphy. Murphy also said that he was most excited about the upcoming Madonna-centric episode, which airs this spring. "We have 10 Madonna songs in that episode," Murphy told Godwin. "Huge songs, huge production numbers. I'm really excited about that. I'm really excited about Kristin Chenoweth coming back. She is just a doll, and I love writing for her. I love pitching songs that she's never sung. She'd never sung 'Maybe This Time' before, and she did it on Glee, and now she uses it as her opening number. And then we have a couple of really big top-secret guest stars who I really can't say [who they are yet]." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

ABC given a pilot order to comedy Awkward Situations for Men, which will follow British comedian Danny Wallace as he moves to the States with his wife, "only to discover that his everyday behavior clashes with American values and gets him into trouble." Wallace will play himself in the project, which is produced by Warner Bros. Television and Heydaycq Films. Pilot is written by Wallace (based on his forthcoming book) and Jeff and Jackie Filgo (That '70s Show), who will executive produce. (Hollywood Reporter)

20th Century Fox Television has signed a two-year overall deal with Brett Ratner's Rat TV shingle, which currently has several projects in development at CBS, FOX, and TNT. Those scripted projects include: CBS satirical drama Chaos, from writer Tom Spezialy, about the CIA; FOX drama The Devil and Daniel Webster, a modern take on the classic Stephen Vincent Benet short story, from writer William Blake Herron; and TNT cop drama The Dead Beat, from writer Sean Jablonski. (Variety)

The Wrap's Josef Adalian is reporting that The Paley Center for Media and Sony Pictures Television are said to be in talks about launching a television awards special and are talking to multiple networks to gauge interest in such an offering. Initial reports indicated that the special would compete with the Primetime Emmy Awards, but a Paley spokesperson denied any sort of rivalry. (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Futon Critic is reporting that FOX midseason comedy Sons of Tucson will now launch on Sunday, March 14th at 9:30 pm ET/PT while animated comedy The Cleveland Show will now remain in its current timeslot at 8:30 pm ET/PT. (Futon Critic)

In a rare move, Showtime will air the pilot for comedy Ronna and Beverly, which was not picked up to series earlier this year. In a amortization-related decision, the pay cabler will air the pilot, which stars Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo, twice this week. (Variety)

Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) will host NBC game show Perfect 10, which will premiere in 2010. (via press release)

Stay tuned.

Comments

So the episodes of White Collar that are airing in January, are those considered first season episodes? Does the pick up mean we'll get even more White Collar? If so, that's great news.

I didn't think Scrubs was going to flourish.
The CineManiac said…
I'm excited, but not really surprised by White Collar's 2nd season pick-up.

What did surprise me was the Twist at the end of the Fall Finale! I so didn't see that coming and really don't know where the series will go from here. I also feel the need to go back and rewatch the episodes which have aired thus far, knowing what I now know!
Jace Lacob said…
Amanda,

The episodes in January are part of White Collar's first season and are not part of the second season order. So there's a lot more White Collar coming up!
That's great news about even more White Collar. USA sure knows how to make good dramas (and treat the viewers well).

That twist was a HUGE surprise. I didn't see it coming at all and I usually sniff out a twist a mile away. I bet watching those episodes again will be interesting in highsight.
rockauteur said…
Can't wait for Survivor All-Stars, Heroes vs. Villians! Looking forward to see Russell (who should have won last night - the worst jury decision ever) rock it out again! Too bad he can't face Richard Hatch, granddaddy of alliances and competition shows, who was not allowed to appear on the season because of his prison sentence... but imagine him and Russell teaming up (or going for each other's throats). That would have been amazing television.
Unknown said…
The loss of Better Off Ted is a bitter, bitter blow. I haven't enjoyed a comedy as much since Arrested Development. I wish that freakishly-talented cast had been given more of a chance.
RJ Bubel said…
I can't believe that ABC is pulling the plug on Better Off Ted. That show really is the only thing I am watching on their network and frankly it's one of the better comedies on air, I was surprised to hear it got brought back originally so I was hoping that ABC would have some faith in it and give it a chance to grow. With the right word of mouth buzz and critical success it could of been ABC's Office.

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