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Channel Surfing: Two-Season Renewal for Burn Notice, Patton Oswalt Out of Beach Lane, Anatasia Griffith to Royal Pains, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I still have to get caught up on last night's telly as I was out rubbing elbows with the cast and crew of Doctor Who at a BAFTA/LA screening, Q&A, and cocktail party. (Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Steven Moffat, and former showrunner Russell T Davies were all in attendance and all very chatty.)

Burn Notice fans will be very happy this morning: USA has announced that it has renewed the drama series for a fifth AND sixth season even before Season Four of Burn Notice has even launches. The two additional seasons will run at least a respective 15 and 18 episodes, with Season Five set to begin shooting in about a year. "Once Saturday Night Live makes fun of you,' how can you not commit to extra seasons?" Jeff Wachtel, USA's president of original programming, told Variety. It also helps that USA will begin stripping the series in October 2011, following a deal with studio Fox Television Studios for the off-net rights. (Variety)

The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd is reporting that Patton Oswalt has departed NBC comedy pilot Beach Lane, just days after being cast alongside Matthew Broderick and Kristen Johnston. Move comes after Tuesday's table read, though it was immediately unclear just what Oswalt's status on the pilot was. "One source added that producers have offered Oswalt another part instead," writes Hibberd, "but it's unclear at this time if Oswalt is interested in staying on the show in a different role." (The Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Anastasia Griffith (Trauma) is joining the cast of USA's Royal Pains when the series returns for its second season on June 3rd. Griffith will recur as Dr. Emily Peck, described as "a no-nonsense MD and a potential business rival of Hank’s (Mark Feuerstein)." Ausiello also has the spoilery details about just how Griffith's Emily becomes entangled in Hank's world: "Griffith’s doc will be introduced during the USA Network hit’s second season (premiering June 3) when Boris (Campbell Scott) hires her to temporarily fill in for an MIA Hank." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

SPOILER! E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos has the skinny on a surprising twist (or not too surprising, if you pegged it from the start) coming up on FOX's Glee, which just happens to involve Lea Michele and Idina Menzel. (Guessed it yet?) Regardless, the two will duet on Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" later this season and co-creator Ryan Murphy teased a link between the two characters. "Lea and Idina Menzel will do an acoustic version of 'Poker Face' that [Lady Gaga] blessed and that she wanted us to do," Murphy told Dos Santos. "It's sort of like a stripped-down mother-daughter 'Poker Face' that Lady Gaga was involved in." [Editor: ahem!] (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Debra Winger is said to be in talks to come aboard HBO's In Treatment as a series regular next season, where she would play "a patient of Gabriel Byrne's psychotherapist character Paul [who is] a former big star who is battling insecurity and fear about her career," according to's Mike Fleming. (

E! Online's Megan Masters interviews Smallville showrunner Brian Peterson about what's coming up on the rest of season for the CW superhero drama. Asked if Lois will learn Clark's secret, Peterson said, "What I can say is that this year we've really explored the tough duality of Lois having one relationship with this hero, the soldier of duty relationship, and one romantic love relationship with Clark, and so that just drives all the way through episodes 19, 21 and the finale. Everything that's been going on with that love triangle converges." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Fancast's Matt Webb Mitovich is reporting that Tim Matheson will not only direct the Season Two opener for USA's White Collar, but will also guest star in the episode as "a hedge fund manager who likes to dip into other folks‘ funds – as a part-time bank robber." Season Two of White Collar is set to launch in July. (Fancast)

FOX has announced launch dates for Hell's Kitchen and new culinary competition series Masterchef, with the new season of Hell's Kitchen set to start on Tuesday, June 1st, when it will air two-hour episodes until Masterchef takes over at 9 pm on Tuesday, July 27th. (via press release)

Stage actress Lynn Blackburn has been cast in a recurring role for Season Five of Friday Night Lights, where she will play Laurel, described by Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello as "a smart, tough, and dedicated teacher at East Dillon who befriends [SPOILER ALERT!] the school’s newest hire, Tami." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Casting update: Emily Rios (Men of a Certain Age) has been cast in a multiple-episode arc on DirecTV/NBC's Friday Night Lights, where she is set to play Epyck, described as "a rebel goth girl"; Austin Highsmith (Big Love) will guest star on CBS' Criminal Minds; Sunny Mabrey has been cast in a recurring role on TNT's upcoming drama series Memphis Beat; Janel Parrish (Heroes) will recur on ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars; and Warren Kole (24) has been cast in CW drama pilot Nomads, where he will play Ryker. (Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello talks to Desperate Housewives executive producer Bob Daily about the drama's May 16th season finale and has five hints about upcoming twists, from money problems and an explosion to a birth and a death. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Elsewhere, TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that a former series regular of ABC's Desperate Housewives will return to Wisteria Lane in the season finale this May. "I've promised the show that I'd keep the actor's identity a secret," writes Keck, "but the way they re-introduce this character is genius and sets the stage for some major awkwardness in Season Seven. (TV Guide Magazine)

Spike has ordered a pilot for comedy Playing With Guns, which will star Danny Masterson (That '70s Show) and Joey Kern (Super Troopers). Project--from writers Bob Castrone, Brian Levin, and Jason Zumwalt and executive producers Brian Robbins and Sharla Sumpter Bridgett--revolves around two "childhood best friends who become police officers in their hometown for the everyday perks." (Hollywood Reporter)

Bill Irwin will reprise his role as Nate Haskell on CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for the season's final two episodes, according to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello. "Nate knows who Dr. Jekyll is, which is kind of interesting since he’s been in prison for the last 11 years," executive producer Carol Mendelsohn told Ausiello. "The [May 20] season finale is all about what it will take to get him to give them a name." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

HBO has renewed Real Time with Bill Maher through 2011 and has bumped its episodic order to 35 episodes per season. The current season is set to end in November, with Season Nine expected in February. (Variety)

CBS Television Studios has signed a two-year overall deal with Lost co-executive producer Paul Zbyszewski, under which he will develop new drama projects for the studio and will become a co-executive producer on Hawaii Five-O, should it be ordered to series. (

The Wrap's Josef Adalian has issued a request of ABC: to let the final credits for Lost's series finale run unadorned by promos, bugs, or spots for The Bachelorette. "Specifically, what if ABC actually just aired the closing credits to Lost unadorned, as Darlton intended them, and with the haunting closing score viewers hear only if they watch the show on DVD, on demand or via syndication?" writes Adalian. "A nation of Lost fans whose minds will (hopefully) have just been blown and heartstrings tugged will appreciate the time to let what they've just seen sunk in." (The Wrap's TVMoJoe)

Discovery Channel has ordered a sixth season of Cash Cab. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Excellent update!

But I have a question about some TV lingo you used. What does it mean to strip a series?

Jace Lacob said…
Hi Amanda,

When a series gets "stripped," it means that a network will run it in a particular daily timeslot across the week. So, Burn Notice, for example, could run Mondays through Fridays at 4 pm: a strip across the week. It's unclear whether this means a daytime strip, though that's pretty likely. Hope that helps!
Unknown said…
"I still have to get caught up on last night's telly as I was out rubbing elbows with the cast and crew of Doctor Who at a BAFTA/LA screening, Q&A, and cocktail party."

OK... Just don't forget that your faithful readers are patiently waiting for your "Lost" answered questions, and your thoughts on last night's "Fringe: White Tulip".

Jace Lacob said…

Ha! Lost answered questions coming in about an hour or so (or less, even). Fringe, sadly, will have to wait as I won't get to watch it until this weekend now.
Oh that makes perfect sense. That will be a lot of explosions in one week. :)

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