Skip to main content

Channel Surfing: Dustin Hoffman Gambles on "Luck" for HBO, Julie Benz Suits Up for Superhero Pilot, "Modern Family" Vacation, "FlashForward," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

Dustin Hoffman (Last Chance Harvey) will star in HBO's David Milch and Michael Mann-executive produced drama pilot Luck, which is set in the world of horseracing. Hoffman, will play the lead, Chester "Ace" Bernstein, described as "a man in his late 60s just released from four years in prison who's autodidactic, intelligent, and deeply involved in gambling." Hoffman is the latest cast addition to the high-profile drama pilot, following the attachments of Dennis Farina and John Ortiz last week. Project, being eyed for a potential January launch on the pay cabler, is written by David Milch and will be directed by Michael Mann, both of whom executive produce alongside Carolyn Strauss. (Variety)

Dexter's Julie Benz has signed on to star opposite Michael Chiklis in ABC superhero drama pilot No Ordinary Family, about a family that find themselves developing new abilities. In the project, written by Greg Berlanti and Jon Harmon Feldman and directed by David Semel, Benz will play Stephanie, the wife of Chiklis' police artist, described as "a gifted scientist who develops a power for superspeed." Also cast: Christina Chang (24), who will play a police officer who works at the same precinct as Jim (Chiklis). The casting follows that for Autumn Reeser and Romany Malco. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck has details on Modern Family's upcoming Hawaiian vacation storyline, which finds the Pritchett clan heading to Maui to celebrate Jay's birthday. [Editor: I don't want to be spoiled about the episode, but if you're not that spoiler-averse, click through to read Keck's interviews with the cast about the episode.] (TV Guide Magazine)

Will ABC order another season of the ratings-starved sci-fi drama FlashForward, which dropped 43 percent of its viewers during its ten-episode run in the fall? According to Entertainment Weekly's Lynette Rice, the network's decision may come down to the fact that the series does do well overseas, particularly in the UK, Spain, and Italy. "ABC may not make a decision on FlashForward and V, which returns March 30, until right before its upfront presentation in New York this May," writes Rice. "Several ABC dramas, in fact, have yet to receive pickups for another season, though Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Brothers and Sisters are slam dunks. Comedies like Cougar Town, The Middle and Modern Family have already been picked up, while shows like Ugly Betty have already been cancelled. Long shots include Better Off Ted, The Deep End, Scrubs and The Forgotten." (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

Former American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee (who'll be seen next on Community) has been cast as one of the leads in NBC comedy pilot The Pink House, where she will play Emily, described as "a down-to-earth Midwest girl new to Manhattan Beach who lives in an apartment behind the guy's house and works as a pharmaceutical rep." Project revolves around two twenty-something Midwestern best friends who move to California and rent a house on the beach. (Hollywood Reporter)

In other pilot casting news, Jaime King (Gary Unmarried) and Mehcad Brooks (True Blood) have joined the cast of Noah Hawley's ABC drama pilot Generation Y, Fran Kranz (Dollhouse) has ben cast in NBC comedy pilot Friends With Benefits, Alexandra Breckenridge (The Ex List) will co-star in FOX comedy pilot Traffic Light, Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights) and Bryce Johnson (Popular) have been added to the cast of FOX drama pilot Midland, and Peggy Lipton (Twin Peaks) and Escher Holloway (Choose Connor) have been cast in Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas' ABC dramedy pilot Cutthroat. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck has a first look at Robert Englund's guest starring turn in the April 15th episode of FOX's Bones, where he will play Ray Buxley, the creepy janitor at Brennan's former high school. "He befriended Bones back when she was a wallflower in high school, and is still carrying a torch for her," Englund told Keck. "He doesn’t like Booth at all!" (TV Guide Magazine)

Elsewhere, The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan has a first-look video clip from this Friday's episode of Syfy's Caprica featuring James Marsters (Buffy, Torchwood) as Barnabas Greeley. (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

David Morrissey (Doctor Who, State of Play), Natascha McElhone (Californication), Eddie Marsan (The 39 Steps), and Aidan Gillen (The Wire) have been cast in Sky1's six-part drama series thorne, based on the novels of Mark Billingham. Production is slated to begin today on thorne: sleepyhead, the first of six planned films that will air this autumn. Telepic will be directed by Stephen Hopkins (24) and is written by Silent Witness' Jim Keeble and Dudi Appleton. (The satellite network has already commissioned the second, thorne: scaredy cat.) Morrissey will play DI Tom Thorne on the hunt for an elusive serial killer who has murdered three women and left a fourth with a condition called "locked in syndrome," where she is aware of everything around her but unable to move or speak. Morrissey, Marsan, and Gillen are set to reprise their roles in the second thorne film. (via press release)

ABC has unveiled the newest competitors for Dancing with the Stars, which launches Monday, March 22nd. Competing this season: Buzz Aldrin, Pamela Anderson, Erin Andrews, Shannen Doherty, Kate Gosselin, Evan Lysacek, Niecy Nash, Chad Ochocinco, Jake Pavelka, Nicole Scherzinger, and Aiden Turner. (via press release)

Entertainment Weekly's Lynette Rice is reporting that Julianne Moore is will reprise her role as twin Frannie and Sabrina Hughes on CBS' As the World Turns, which is ending its 54-year run in September. (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

Starz has acquired event mini-series The Pillars of the Earth, based on Ken Follett's novel about the construction of a 12th century cathedral in England that's beset by war, religious strife, and power grabs. Project, produced by German company Tandem Communications, will air on the pay cabler in July and will launch with a two-hour premiere, followed by six hourly installments. (Variety)

ABC has announced the new Bachelorette and, like many viewers surmised, has selected Ali Fedotowsky, who left this season's Bachelor in order to return to the work. "I am so excited!" Fedotowsky told host Chris Harrison. "I am so thrilled and honored and grateful, I just can't believe it! I'm just really grateful. I'm shaking so bad." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Could Cablevision subscribers in New York be cut off from the Academy Awards? Looks like it, thanks to a retransmission feud that turned ugly between Disney and Cablevision. "With the help of our viewers, we’ve built ABC7 into the most watched station in the country, and have been trying for two years to get Cablevision to acknowledge the station’s value to their business," said Rebecca S. Campbell, President & General Manager, WABC-TV, in a statement. "Despite our best efforts, it has now become clear that Cablevision has no intention of coming to a fair agreement. We can no longer sit back and allow Cablevision to use our shows for free while they continue to charge their customers for them. We’ve worked too hard and invested too many millions of dollars in programming and community outreach, to be taken advantage of any longer – especially since our viewers can watch their favorite ABC7 shows free, over-the-air, or by switching to one of Cablevision’s competitors." (via press release)'s Natalie Abrams is reporting that Matt Frewer (Eureka) has been cast on the CW's Supernatural, where he will play Pestilence, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. "Our first brush with him in Episode 520 seems relatively innocuous and then unfolds into something more substantial," Supernatural executive producer Sera Gamble told Abrams. "Put it to you this way: Horsemen on our show tend to think several moves ahead." (

TV Land has ordered ten episodes of comedy Hot in Cleveland, starring Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick, and Jane Leeves as three women traveling to Paris who end up living together in Cleveland. (Betty White, meanwhile, will appear in the pilot episode.) Project, created by Suzanne Martin, will launch in June. (Variety)

E! has ordered a second season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians spin-off Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, with ten episodes on tap for this summer. (Hollywood Reporter)

TLC has opted not to renew its deal for the Miss America Pageant, leaving the event without a broadcast home. "We are happy that TLC was part of the modernization and revitalization of the Miss America pageant," said TLC management in a statement. "This year we delivered record ratings, besting any of its prior performances on cable. However, our three-year deal has concluded, and we have chosen not to renew. We wish the Miss America Organization well." (Variety)

Stay tuned.


AskRachel said…
I love the idea of the Modern Family clan in Hawaii. I can already picture Phil in some awful Hawaiian shirt ogling a bikini-clad Gloria. Should be hysterical (though, like you, I don't want to be spoiled so I'll have to just wait and watch the episode)!

Popular posts from this blog

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous season

Pilot Inspektor: CBS' "Smith"

I may just have to change my original "What I'll Be Watching This Fall" post, as I sat down and finally watched CBS' new crime drama Smith this weekend. (What? It's taken me a long time to make my way through the stack of pilot DVDs.) While it's on following Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars on Tuesday nights (10 pm ET/PT, to be exact), I'm going to be sure to leave enough room on my TiVo to make sure that I catch this compelling, amoral drama. While one can't help but be impressed by what might just be the most marquee-friendly cast in primetime--Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen, Jonny Lee Miller, Amy Smart, Simon Baker, and Franky G all star and Shohreh Aghdashloo has a recurring role--the pilot's premise alone earned major points in my book: it's a crime drama from the point of view of the criminals, who engage in high-stakes heists. But don't be alarmed; it's nothing like NBC's short-lived Heist . Instead, think of it as The Italian