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Channel Surfing: HBO Renews Treme, Damages May Be Dead, Jared Harris Promoted on Mad Men, 24, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

It took just one episode, apparently, before HBO ordered a second season of New Orleans-set drama series Treme, from creators David Simon and Eric Overmyer. "We would have picked up this show last week," HBO president Michael Lombardo told The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd. "We've seen the first nine episodes it's as strong as any show we've seen. Much like The Wire, the audience is so passionate and so invested. We're about servicing our subscriber base and I believe that people will become addicted to this show. We have to be a place where this kind of excellence is giving space to continue." According to Lombardo, Season Two of Treme is being targeted for a spring 2011 debut, where it will likely be paired with the first season of fantasy drama Game of Thrones. "They should be ready about the same time," said Lombardo. "[Game] looks beautiful, the compelling scripts are just fantastic, we're doing reshoots but nothing major. The show is there." Production on Treme's second season will begin this fall. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

The Wrap's Josef Adalian, meanwhile, talks to Lombardo in a Q&A-style interview about the Treme renewal. "The first season of True Blood we picked up in the first week. Whether it was after the first day, I don't recall," Lombardo told Adalian. "But I must be candid: We knew we were picking this up (before the premiere). We were actually trying to arrange a phone call with David before we got numbers, but because of David Mills' funeral, that was just impossible. We were sure early on in a way that was unique." (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Variety's Stuart Levine is reporting that Monday night's season finale of FX's Damages may wind up being the series finale, after all. "Despite a meeting in the next two weeks between Sony Pictures Television and DirecTV to discuss the possibility of the Glenn Close skein changing networks, insiders say it doesn't look as though the drama is a good fit for the satellite provider," writes Levine. "Sony, of course, wants to see Damages continue, but the studio would have to take a substantial license-fee reduction. With what would be the fourth year of the show, and cast and crew expecting salary increases, it would likely be difficult -- though not impossible -- to cut costs." If Sony was able to broker a deal with DirecTV, their Channel 101 would want to take the first window of Damages' fourth season, which could be a problem for FX, which co-produces the legal drama. [Editor: I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that something could be worked out but in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the finale as much as I possibly can.] (Variety)

Good news for Mad Men fans: Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Jared Harris has been promoted to series regular for Season Four of the period drama, which returns to AMC this summer. "Harris joined the Emmy-winning drama in Season Three as Lane Pryce, Sterling Cooper’s new financial officer (installed by UK parent company Putnam, Powell, and Low)," writes Ausiello. "In the finale, he became a founding partner in SCDP alongside Don Draper, Bert Cooper, and Roger Sterling." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Elsewhere, Ausiello also has a spoiler-laden interview with 24 executive producer Howard Gordon about this week's shocking twist... which I won't spoil here, but I will say that Gordon is candid about the decision they made and much more. "It was an incredibly emotional day," said Gordon about the final day of shooting on 24. "I’m just so incredibly proud to be a part of it... This has been an incredibly strong season. I can [only] judge it in terms of what my own opinion is of the show and what I hear about it anecdotally from the people who are friends and family, but I feel very proud of this year. Kiefer is very proud of this year. People are happy to be ending with such creative vigor." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) has been cast in ABC comedy pilot Southern Discomfort, where she will play Haley, described as "a recent Harvard graduate who returns to her Texas hometown to reunite with her old boyfriend." She'll star opposite Don Johnson and Mary Steenburgen in the pilot, which hails from Sony Pictures Television, Tantamount, and ABC Studios. Bush's casting is said to be in second position to her role on the CW's One Tree Hill, which has yet to receive a pickup for another season. (Hollywood Reporter)

Elsewhere, Ben Browder (Stargate SG-1) has joined the cast of the CW's drama pilot presentation Hellcats, where he is set to play football coach Red Irvine. (

More wrestling is coming to Syfy, following the conclusion of a multi-year deal between cabler Syfy and World Wrestling Entertainment to bring Friday Night Smackdown to the sci-fi channel beginning October 1st. As part of the move, Syfy will shift its traditional Friday night programming block of originals--which includes Caprica, Stargate Universe, and Sanctuary, among others--to Tuesdays. "WWE is the ultimate in imagination-based sports entertainment," said Syfy programming president Dave Howe. "The fantastical thrills of Friday Night SmackDown provide an ideal addition to the Syfy slate, as it targets the younger male and female demographics, which are the fastest-growing categories for WWE." Syfy's current wrestling series, NXT, will wrap up its run in October. (Hollywood Reporter, Variety)

Naren Shankar is said to be leaving CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, stepping down from his role as executive producer/co-showrunner on the procedural drama in order to focus on his development deal with CBS Television Studios. (

Kevin Eubanks will depart NBC's Tonight Show on May 28th and will be replaced, beginning June 6th, by American Idol's Rickey Minor, the musical competition series' music director. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed, Variety)

Looks like Glee star Lea Michele injured her knee while filming an upcoming episode that features the music of Lady Gaga. (Specifically, it was the glee club's take on Gaga's "Bad Romance.") "I'm directing that episode and I did more coverage on that song then we've ever done in the history of the show," co-creator Ryan Murphy tells told E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos. "It's a big number. It's like, big and athletic and hard. And those girls and Chris [Colfer] I think did it for six hours straight." As for Colfer, he too was amazed that he wasn't injured shooting the show-stopping number. "I almost died just trying on my getup," Colfer told Dos Santos. "Literally, I probably almost died because I wear 10-inch heels and those take some getting used to. They're like stilts walking around. They're platform, stick stiletto heels. And I had to dance my ass off in them [laughs.]" (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

In other Glee-related news, FOX has released the Sue Sylvester "Vogue" video from next week's "Power of Madonna" episode of Glee. The video, a shot by shot remake of Madonna's "Vogue," can be seen in its entirety below:

BBC has confirmed that it will not be going ahead with a third season of post-apocalyptic drama series Survivors. "The BBC is committed to making a broad range of varied and ambitious drama, but in order to achieve this we do have to move on from some pieces in order to allow new work to come through," said a BBC spokesperson. "After two series, Survivors will not be returning." (Daily Telegraph)'s Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Wizards of Waverly Place showrunner Peter Murrieta will depart the Disney Channel comedy should it be picked up for a fourth season. (

Arthur Smith and Kent Weed's reality shingle A. Smith and Co. is developing a reality series based around Aussie magician James Galea and will pitch the project--which mixes comedy, illusion, and sleight of hand--to networks. (Variety)

Looks like Carrie and Co. will be walking in their Manolos over to E! and Style, according to a report by Alex Weprin in Broadcasting & Cable. Comcast Entertainment Group has signed a deal to acquire off-net and ancillary rights to all 94 episodes of HBO's Sex and the City beginning in January 2011. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Warner Bros. Television has hired ICM agent Tom Burke as SVP/head of casting for the studio, where he will oversee all casting both for WBTV and offshoot Warner Horizon. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Sianne said…
That's great that Jared Harris will be a Mad Men series regular. He's a great actor and an excellent addition to the show.
AskRachel said…
Not a big fan of Glee but the Vogue video is hilarious.

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