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Channel Surfing: Tamsin Greig Lands Episodes, Steve Carell Looks to Leave The Office, History Casts The Kennedys, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

Cast changes are afoot at Showtime's upcoming Matt LeBlanc-led comedy Episodes, with Thomas Haden Church pulling out of the project due to a scheduling conflict with a film and Claire Forlani being recast after the recent table read earlier this week. But with Forlani out, Showtime has had the luck of landing British actress Tamsin Greig (Black Books, Green Wing, Love Soup) to replace her. [Editor: I think Greig is a much better fit and is a comedy genius. Showtime is beyond lucky to have nabbed her. Grieg's Black Books character, Fran Katzenjammer, remains a perennial favorite.] Greig will step into Forlani's role, as the female half of a husband-and-wife writing team whose British series is adapted for American television... and ruined in the process. Showtime has ordered seven episodes of the series, which is created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, who executive produce alongside Jimmy Mulville. (Variety)

Steve Carell has announced his intention to leave The Office after one more season. Speaking to BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright, Carell said that his contract with the Universal Media Studios-produced comedy goes "through next year" and then went on to say, "I think it will probably be my last year." NBC isn't commenting though it's thought likely that The Office wouldn't continue without Carell on board as Michael Scott. [Editor: in fact, it's the perfect opportunity to wrap up the series.] "This could be a negotiating ploy, but honestly, I don't think so in this case," an unnamed insider told E! Online's Megan Masters. (Office Tally via E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

History Channel has unveiled the cast for its upcoming eight-hour controversial miniseries The Kennedys, which will star Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes (as Jacqueline Kennedy, no less!), Barry Pepper, and Tom Wilkinson. Project, which will air in 2011, is executive produced by Joel Surnow, Jonathan Koch, and Steve Michaels, with Steve Kronish writing and Jon Cassar directing. The mini will dramatize the "the personal relationships between the Kennedy clan -- including John's and Bobby's tumultuous relationship with their father," according to Variety's Michael Schneider. (Variety)

Ricky Gervais will once again host NBC's Golden Globes telecast, the network has announced. Despite the fact that the 68th Annual Golden Globes don't air until next January, NBC took the unusual step of announcing that Gervais would return... nine months ahead of broadcast. "I can't believe they invited me back after awful things I said," said Gervais in a statement. "Let's see how far I can go this time." NBC's Paul Telegdy, meanwhile, compared Gervais to an unstoppable force of nature. "As viewers discovered with our last awards telecast, Ricky's surprising and unpredictable humor is a great fit for the Globes which will continue as a live event across the nation," said Telegdy. "He's a true force of nature with a wicked sense of humor who always keeps everyone on their toes waiting for the unexpected."(Hollywood Reporter)

SPOILER! Don't expect any sense of closure for Katherine Heigl's character on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, according to series creator Shonda Rhimes. "It’s going to linger," Rhimes told Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello. "And I actually feel good about it lingering because [it means] Alex is left with unfinished business. And that’s going to be very interesting for his character." Meanwhile, Rhimes isn't spilling about the game-changing season finale for Greys. "The events of the finale itself change the game," she told Ausiello. "Whether anyone lives or anyone dies is not really necessarily the point of it." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Jimmy Fallon is said to be at the top of the list for potential hosts for this year's Primetime Emmy Awards, a group that's also said to include Jerry Seinfeld and duo Tina Fey and Steve Carell. NBC will announce the host officially, but it's widely thought that Fallon, who hosts the Peacock's Late Night franchise, will announce the host next week. (Variety)

ABC has ordered six episodes of US adaptation of Russian game show The Six, in which contestants must work together in order to solve logic-based puzzles in under a minute. Project, from Merv Griffin Entertainment, will be hosted by Vernon Kay and production will get underway this summer. (Hollywood Reporter)

HBO has signed a three-year overall deal with Entourage creator/executive producer Doug Ellin, under which he will develop new projects for the pay cabler and remain aboard Entourage for its seventh and eighth seasons. Ellin already has two projects in development at HBO: a political comedy about a man working for a former US president after he leaves office (written by Ben Schwerin) and a female-skewing project with Ally Musika. (Variety)

Spike has ordered a pilot presentation for comedy Kings By Night, which will revolve around three men who start a casino in their workplace at night. Project, written by Ben and Dan Newmark and directed by Richie Keen, will be produced by FremantleMedia. (Deadline.com)

ABC Studios has signed a two-year overall deal with former Better Off Ted writers Kat Likkel and John Hoberg, under which they will develop new projects for the studio and join the writing staff of a new or existing series. (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has a first look image of Jack Bauer from the series finale of FOX's 24, which is set to air May 24th. The photo depicts a backpack-clad Jack Bauer raising his gun at... who knows, really? (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Additionally, Ausiello also has a first look image of the Smallville season finale, airing May 14th, which features a rain-slicked showdown between Clark and Zod. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Comcast and General Electric are optimistic that the NBC Universal deal will be closed by the end of the calendar year. (Variety)

Dr. Drew Pinsky and Howard Lapides are launching their own shingle, Dr. Drew Productions, which will be based in Los Angeles and focus on developing "high-quality reality television projects." (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

E! has ordered six episodes of documentary What's Eating You?, which will take a look at both common and extreme examples of eating disorders and air this fall on the cabler. (Examples are said to include ""a woman who eats a roll of toilet paper dipped in pickle juice every night before bed; another who lives in seclusion and feels compelled to eat twigs, pencil erasers and super-glue; and an aspiring model whose body is so starved that she physically smells because her body literally is eating itself alive.") (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Salary negotiations are set to get underway for four cast members on CBS' NCIS, including Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, David McCallum, and Sean Murray, each of whom are looking to increase their episodic paycheck before the series returns in the fall for its eighth season. "The real question is how much CBS is willing to pay the four stars moving forward: Deadline.com is reporting that the company dangled low-ball offers, which stalled negotiations," writes Entertainment Weekly's Lynette Rice. "Representatives for CBS declined to comment." (Entertainment Weekly's Hollywood Insider)

The cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey will be answering fans questions during a live premiere party that will be hosted by Andy Cohen and will be streamed on Bravotv.com and Ustream.tv. (TVGuide.com)

TLC has ordered a fourth season of L.A. Ink. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Blythe said…
I love Tamsin Greig (although I'm pretty sure that no one on this side of the pond knows who she is). I wasn't really interested in the project before but now, with her in one of the lead roles, I will definitely be checking it out!
Jinkies said…
Steve Carell has most certainly outgrown The Office. And, without him, there really is no show. The Office was excellent for the first few seasons but it is now just goofy and lame. It's definitely time for the talented Mr. Carell to move on to better things.

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