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Channel Surfing: CW Renews Five, Kripke Steps Down from "Supernatural," Dinosaurs (and Spielberg) at FOX, Montgomery and Blucas "True Blue," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

The CW has given early renewals to five of its series, including freshman drama The Vampire Diaries, reality series America's Next Top Model, and Gossip Girl, Supernatural, and 90210. However, not on the list are One Tree Hill, which has even odds at renewing, the ratings-starved Melrose Place, and newbie Life Unexpected, which has struggled in the ratings. (Variety)

There's a bit of a caveat to that early Supernatural renewal. Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that creator/executive producer Eric Kripke will be stepping down as showrunner on the Warner Bros. Television-produced series, with executive producer Sera Gamble set to take over the reins next season. "Kripke will remain actively involved in the show — and not just in name only," writes Ausiello. "Although CW and Warner Bros. reps declined to comment, a Supernatural insider assures me that Kripke and his current co-showrunner, Robert Singer, will continue to function as hands-on executive producers." Kripke, meanwhile, is in the process of negotiating a new deal with the studio that will contain a "big development component." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

[Editor: Meanwhile, The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan spoke with Gamble via email about Season Six of Supernatural. "No, you will not be getting Apocalypse, The Squeaquel in Season 6 (that's hilarious)," Gamble wrote to Ryan. "We're climaxing that story this season. We've been working on the Season 6 storyline for quite some time, and we're very excited about it. We have lots of ideas, and are grateful for the chance to keep the show going. Please tell the fans that the writers say thank you! We so appreciate the support." You can read Ryan's full post about the situation here.]

Dinotopia, redux? FOX is said to be in discussions with Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin about Terra Nova, a potential drama series about a family who travels back in time from 100 years in the future to prehistoric times, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Project, from 20th Century Fox Television, was written by Craig Silverstein and Kelly Marcel and would likely be ordered directly to series, given the expensive nature of the sets and SFX necessary to bring the prehistoric world to life. Should the project get the greenlight, Spielberg, Chernin, Silverstein, and Marcel would serve as executive producers, along with Katherine Pope, Justin Falvey, and Darryl Frank. (Variety)

[Editor: The Wrap's Josef Adalian, meanwhile, takes a look at why FOX shouldn't go ahead with the Terra Nova project by investigating Spielberg's less than stellar track record in the television series business. You can read his piece here.]

Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace) and Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) have been cast as the leads on ABC drama pilot True Blue. Project, from ABC Studios, revolves around a group of former best friends who went through the San Francisco Police Department together who now reunite to solve the murder of one of their members. Montgomery will play Katherine Miller, described as "the only female police captain in San Francisco, who was once married to another member of the team (Blucas), a detective." Pilot will be directed by Peter Horton. (Hollywood Reporter, Variety)

Taryn Manning (Sons of Anarchy) has been cast as a regular in CBS drama pilot Hawaii Five-O, a remake of the classic television series. Manning will play Mary Ann McGarrett, the younger sister of Detective Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin), who is said to have a "checkered past." (Variety, Hollywood Reporter)

E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos is reporting that former Melrose Place cast member Colin Egglesfield will be guest starring on ABC's Brothers and Sisters in a storyline that is set in the past and which will offer younger incarnations of the Walkers. "Colin is now the frontrunner to fill the shoes of William Walker," writes Dos Santos. "As we previously reported, ex-original Beverly Hills, 90210 star Daniel Cosgrove was set to play Tom Skerritt's dearly departed dad, but once that didn't work out, Colin found himself employed once again." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Eugene Levy (Taking Woodstock) has been cast in CBS multi-camera comedy pilot Hitched, from writer/executive producers Josh Schwartz and Matt Miller (Chuck). Project, from Warner Bros. Television, revolves around a newlywed couple who are still learning about each other. Levy will play the husband's father, described as "a tracksuit-wearing four-times-divorced lothario." (Hollywood Reporter)

British production entity Working Title is entering the television business, launching Working Title Television, which will be a joint venture between the British indie and NBC Universal International and will be based in Los Angeles and London. Unit will be headed up by former NBC Universal Television executive Shelley McCrory; the first project from the venture is Cindy Chupack's NBC romantic comedy pilot Love Bites, with Marc Buckland (My Name is Earl) set to direct. (Variety)

Laurie Metcalf (Easy Money) has been cast in FOX multi-camera comedy pilot Strange Brew, from executive producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnik (Will & Grace) and Warner Bros. Television. Metcalf will play the matriarch of a family who runs a small brewery and has problems working and living together. (Hollywood Reporter)

In other pilot casting news: Nelson Franklin (The Office) has been cast as the lead in FOX comedy pilot Traffic Light, based on an Israeli scripted format about a group of friends who live together in a house; James Murray (Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire) has the cast of CBS drama pilot Chaos, about a team of rogue CIA operatives; and Joe Manganiello (One Tree Hill) has been cast as one of the leads in Craig Thomas and Carter Bays' CBS comedy pilot Livin' on a Prayer. (Hollywood Reporter)

FX has postponed single-camera comedy Louie, starring Louis C.K., to June, where it will be paired with drama Rescue Me. No exact launch date was given for either series but FX has indicated that Rescue Me will air at 10 pm ET/PT, followed by Louie at 11 pm. "Louie is a brilliantly funny and original series, and we are excited by the critical response to the show," said John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks, in a statement. "Even though it is a drama, Rescue Me has always been regarded as one of the funniest shows on television and it will provide an outstanding, compatible lead-in for Louie. We successfully used Rescue Me as a lead-in for the majority of the first season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We believe in Louie and want to provide it with the best possible platform for success." (via press release)

As part of the company-wide layoffs announced at Sony Pictures Television, Jeanie Bradley will be leaving the studio. Bradley had most recently been EVP of programming for the studio and had overseen current duties on such series as FX's Damages. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


AskRachel said…
Josh Schwartz is quickly becoming the J.J. Abrams of television comedy. I'm looking forward to Hitched - especially now that Levy is attached.
Rashell said…
I was wondering whatever happened to Marc Blucas...
Unknown said…
I thought this was the last season of Supernatural. I'm glad to have it back though. It will be great to see Poppy Montgomery back in effect.

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