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Channel Surfing: AMC Sets Mad Men Return Date, Scott Porter Returns to FNL, Laurence Fishburne Staying Put at CSI, Lost, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

Mark your calendars, Mad Men fans: Season Four of the period drama is set to launch on Sunday, July 25th at 10 pm ET/PT while new drama Rubicon will launch with two back-to-back episodes on Sunday, August 1st at 8 pm before it moves into its regular 9 pm timeslot the following week. "Sunday nights are where you find the best of premium television so it should be no surprise that AMC -- the home of premium television on basic cable -- is stacking our original dramas there as well," said Charlie Collier, president of AMC, in a statement. "We welcome back Mad Men and look forward to introducing Rubicon all on Sunday nights this summer." Rubicon stars James Badge Dale (The Pacific), Dallas Roberts (Walk the Line), Jessica Collins (The Nine), Christopher Evan Welch (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Lauren Hodges (Law & Order) with Arliss Howard (The Sandlot) and Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow). (via press release)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Scott Porter will be reprising his role as Jason Street in Season Five of NBC/DirecTV's Friday Night Lights. Porter, who will appear in the seventh episode of the season, was last seen during Season Three of the drama series. He'll be joined by fellow former stars Taylor Kitsch and Jesse Plemons and possibly other ex-Friday Night Lights cast members for what is likely the series' last season. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd is reporting that Laurence Fishburne has renewed his deal and will remain as the lead of CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation through the 2010-11 season. "In the upcoming Season 10 finale, Fishburne will face off against two serial killers in a battle of wits that will conclude in a life-and-death cliffhanger," writes Hibberd. "One villain is played by Matt Ross (Big Love) in a guest-starring role. The other is Bill Irwin, who reprises his role as Nate Haskell, the Dick and Jane Killer. Also in talks to guest star in the finale, veteran actor Marty Ingels." (Hollywood Reporter)

SPOILER! TV Guide Magazine talks to Lost and Supernatural star Mark Pellegrino, whose enigmatic character on Lost, Jacob, is set to get some major reveals in the May 11th episode ("Across the Sea"). "Jacob has a lot of darkness and corners we haven’t explored yet, so the differences between him and Lucifer are not as much as you would think,” Pellegrino told Keck. "With these archetypal characters, the boundary between good and evil becomes blurry. Jacob’s on a mission. It’s your judgment as to whether he’s good or bad." (TV Guide Magazine)

BBC America has announced the launch of Season Three of comedy Gavin and Stacey, set for Friday, May 14th at 9 pm ET/PT, the much-delayed premiere of Season Two of Ashes to Ashes on Tuesday, May 1st at 10 pm ET/PT, and the third season premiere of comedy Not Going Out on Friday, May 14th at 9:40 pm ET/PT. (via press release)

Brannon Braga (24) has come aboard the Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin-executive produced FOX drama Terra Nova as showrunner/executive producer, according to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva, who reports that the project--revolving around a family from 100 years in the future who return to a pre-historic Earth overrun with dinosaurs--has been given an unofficial pickup, with 13 episodes ordered. (Deadline.com)

Meanwhile, Michael Ausiello is reporting that Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler has been made a "very lucrative offer" to star in Terra Nova. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Gil McKinney (ER) has been cast in a recurring role on Friday Night Lights, where he is set to appear in at least six episodes as a married graduate teaching assistant in the college history department who falls into a relationship with Aimee Teegarden's Julie. In other casting news, Aisha Tyler and Scott Foley (The Unit) have been cast in CBS comedy pilot Open Books; Foley--who is a regular on ABC drama pilot True Blue--will guest star. (Deadline.com)

TVGuide.com's Natalie Abrams has an interview with V star Logan Huffman about why his character, Tyler Evans, is about to change and why he's the real hero of the series. "There is something special going on with him," said Huffman of Tyler. "To be honest, people don't realize it because it's right in front of their face, but Tyler is a hero. Have you read The Hero with a Thousand Faces? He's the only character that fits every criteria. Almost every famous character does not know who his father is. Luke Skywalker! Those characters have huge hearts, but not much of a brain, and through pain they gain a real soul." (TVGuide.com)

David Hasselhoff is returning to CBS' daytime soap The Young and The Restless after an almost three decades-long absence beginning in June. (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Donnie Wahlberg (Boomtown) has been cast in a two-episode story arc on TNT's upcoming drama series Rizzoli & Isles, opposite Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. He'll play Sgt. Joey Grant, Rizzoli's childhood friend who now serves as her boss. Series premieres in July. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

FOX has given a pilot presentation order to animated comedy Heel about "a man and his sociopathic dog who is jealous of his owner's family," from writer/executive producer Chris Cluess, Reveille, and Machinima. (Variety)

Elsewhere, FOX renewed Cops for a 23rd season. (Hollywood Reporter)

The premiere of Matt Smith-led Doctor Who on BBC America scored an average of 1.2 million total viewers, a record-setting telecast for the digital cabler, as well as a record for adults 25-54 (0.9). (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

TNT has shot a pilot for reality adventure project The Great Escape from executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, according to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva. "The show, which has a MacGyver-flavor to it, puts ordinary people in extraordinary movie-like situations challenging them to escape using only their everyday skills, team work and what they can find around them," writes Andreeva. Project shouldn't be confused with Michael Bay and Magical Elves' own adventure project, One Way Out, which is being shopped to networks. (Deadline.com)

Starz has begun to reorganize its management under recently installed president/CEO Chris Albrecht, with EVP of development Bill Hamm now out at the network and several others expected to receive pink slips. Former HBO executive Carmi Zlotnik is expected to join the pay cabler. (Variety)

Elsewhere, The Wrap's Josef Adalian takes a look at why Albrecht is shaking up the management structure at Starz and offers some rationale as to why Hamm may have been axed. (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Warner Bros. Television has signed a two-year overall deal with Fringe executive producer Jeff Pinkner, under which he will remain on board the FOX sci-fi drama as co-showrunner and will develop new projects for the studio. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Mrs. James Ford said…
I hope Kyle Chandler stays away from Terra Nova because Brannon Braga is the worst. I don't know why people keep hiring him. Braga has ruined every show he's touched.
Stella said…
Hurray for Mad Men! Only three months to go!
Tempest said…
Ashes to Ashes again on BBC America -- finally! I was started to get really irritated. They're running Star Trek:TNG -- I can get that in the US on a number of different channels -- give me stuff I can't get here! (Ok, sorry, rant over.)

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