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Channel Surfing: Justin Kirk Gets "Modern Family," "Top Chef Masters," Leslie Hope Returns to "The Mentalist," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday television briefing.

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that Weeds' Justin Kirk has landed a guest starring role on ABC's Modern Family but says that there is potential that he could recur later this season or next. Kirk will play Lee Keizler, the "gung-ho and athletic boss" of Jesse Tyler Ferguson's Mitchell, who quits his stressful law job to become legal counsel for clothing line owned by Kirk's Lee. (TV Guide Magazine)

Bravo has unveiled the 22 master chefs who will be competing for the top prize on Season Two of Top Chef Masters, which is set to premiere on Wednesday, April 7th. Those chefs include: Jody Adams, Govind Armstrong, Graham Elliot Bowles, Jimmy Bradley, David Burkey, Wylie Dufresne, Susan Feniger, Debbie Gold, Carmen Gonzalez, Maria Hines, Susur Lee, Ludo Lefebvre, Tony Mantuano, Rick Moonen, Mark Peel, Monica Pope, Thierry Rautureau, Marcus Samuelsson, Ana Sortun, Rick Tramonto, Jerry Traunfeld, and Jonathan Waxman. [Editor: it's immediately noticeable that there are more female chefs competing this season and that there are some familiar faces--Mark Peel, Ludo, Wylie, and others--are set to return to compete once more.] (via press release)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Leslie Hope is set to return to CBS' The Mentalist for the final two episodes of the season. Hope will reprise her role as psychic Kristina, last seen during The Mentalist's first season. "Jane tries to prove once and for all that she is a charlatan," executive producer Bruno Heller told Ausiello. "At the same time, [he finds] himself strangely attracted to her." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Pilot casting alert: Andrea Anders (Better Off Ted) has been cast opposite Matthew Perry in ABC comedy pilot Mr. Sunshine. (Also cast: Nate Torrence.) Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives) has landed a role in Jerry Bruckheimer's NBC drama pilot Chase; Matt Jones (Breaking Bad) will star opposite Gary Cole in TBS comedy pilot Uncle Nigel; and Eamonn Walker (Kings) has been added to the cast of ABC drama pilot The Whole Truth. (Hollywood Reporter)

Frank Grillo (Prison Break), Luke Mably (The Prince and Me), Janina Gavankar (The L Word), and Chandra West (90210) have been cast in ABC's supernatural crime drama series The Gates, about the residents of a gated community, all of whom have their secrets. Series, from Fox Television Studios and writer/executive producers Richard Hatem and Grant Scharbo, is being eyed for a summer launch. Pilot will be directed by Terry McDonough. Grillo will play a cop from the city who lands a gig as chief of police in this seemingly idyllic community; Mably will play a cardiologist who is also a "vampire-like creature"; West will play the owner of a local tea shop; Gavankar will play a local cop with a secret. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC has ordered a second season of reality dating series Dating in the Dark and has slated six episodes of the Endemol USA-produced series to air this summer. (Variety)

TBS gave out two cast-contingent pilot orders yesterday. Comedies In Security, from writers/executive producers Pete Segal and Ric Swartzlander, about "two sisters who head up a private-security team protecting the super elite while dealing with personal and family issues," and Franklin & Bash, from Kevin Falls and Bill Chais and Sony Pictures Television, about "two street lawyers and lifelong friends who, after taking down a white-shoe law firm in a high-profile case, are recruited by the firm's patriarch." (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC is said to be close to giving a pilot order to an untitled single-camera comedy from Mad About You creator Paul Reiser and studio Warner Bros. Television about a group of male friends. Reiser has written the pilot script on spec as well as scripts for subsequent episodes. (Variety)

Leverage star Gina Bellman would jump at the chance to work with Doctor Who head writer Steven Moffat, if she had the chance. "I think there was a petition online to get me involved in Doctor Who," Bellman told Digital Spy. "I'm not a Doctor Who fanatic but I am a Steven Moffat fanatic. I've worked with him on Jekyll and Coupling so if he was to write anything for me - not just Doctor Who - I'd drop everything to go and do that." (Digital Spy)

Comic book guru Stan Lee has teamed up with Archie Comics and A Squared Entertainment for series Super Seven, about "seven aliens who find themselves stranded on planet Earth after their spaceship crashes, only to be befriended by none other than Lee himself. Taking them under his care, Lee becomes their leader and enables them to resume their lives as superheroes on Earth." Series, produced by Lee's POW! Entertainment, is being looked at for a fall launch. (The Wrap)

TLC has renewed reality series One Big Happy Family for a second season, with twelve episodes set to air in June. (Hollywood Reporter)

Season Five of reality series Gene Simmons Family Jewels is set to launch on A&E on Sunday, March 21st at 9 pm ET/PT. (via press release)

Stay tuned.


Tamara said…
I can't wait for Top Chef Masters to come back. And what a fantastic lineup! It will be fun to see a few of the previous competitors as well as some new faces.
MC said…
Top Chef Masters should be good based on this list. Definitely interested to see how Marcus Samuelsson does after his showing on Iron Chef America. Also Rick!

Heads up Jace, you spelled Tony Mantuano's name "Rony".

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