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Channel Surfing: Emerson Talks Lost Finale, Perkins Leaves Weeds, Goggins Now Regular on Justified, Modern Family, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

Fancast's Matt Webb Mitovich talks to Lost's Michael Emerson about the super-sized series finale of the ABC drama series, set to air May 23rd. Emerson--who plays fan favorite Benjamin Linus--wasn't surprised by ABC's decision to bump the final episode to a full two-and-a-half hours. "The finale script was so thick and so dense with action," Emerson told Mitovich. "When we were shooting it, we went so far overtime that I thought, 'How are they ever going to squeeze all this into two hours?!' If Lost has any flaws, it’s that occasionally we suffer from trying to cut too big a show [for the given time slot]. So I’m happy to hear they thought there was enough great stuff that they had to let it breathe. It’s a really great sign." (Fancast)

In other Lost-related news, Muppets invade the Lost production offices to ask Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse one question: "where does the Dharma food come from?" [Editor: my favorite bit had to be that Lindelof was confused with David Cross on Arrested Development.] (/Film via Vulture)

Looks like Weeds' Elizabeth Perkins is heading to the big screen, where she will star alongside James Marsden in Tim Hill's Hop. Move means that the actress--who plays played Celia on Showtime's dark comedy Weeds for five seasons--will depart the Lionsgate Television-produced series. No word on how she'll be written out of the current storyline. Perkins is also said to be developing a television comedy series, which would serve as a vehicle for herself. (Hollywood Reporter)

Good news for Walton Goggins fans: it looks like he'll be sticking around Harlan County for some time to come. Producers on FX's drama series Justified, which earlier this week was renewed for a second season, have promoted Walton Goggins to series regular. Goggins, who plays Aryan underground leader Boyd Crowder, was originally meant to be killed off in the pilot episode of the Sony Pictures Television-produced drama. "He's amazing and he's just a great guy," showrunner/executive producer Graham Yost told The Hollywood Reporter. "There had to be charm in Boyd. We knew with Boyd, going in, that who we cast was critical for the success of the pilot, therefore getting it to become a series. So Goggins' casting was really instrumental. Without him, we wouldn't be on the air." (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

E! Online's Megan Masters talks to Modern Family's Ty Burrell about the ABC comedy series' upcoming episode filmed and set in Hawaii. "Basically, Phil and Claire [Julie Bowen] are trying to use this opportunity to have the honeymoon they didn't get to have the first time around. So they're just running from the kids, trying to have some alone time," said Burell, who told Masters that the Hawaii episode nearly didn't happen. "The Hawaii trip essentially is two episodes. We had done the episode at LAX, which was based on Jay's [Ed O'Neill] birthday and Gloria [Sofia Vergara] surprising him with a trip to Hawaii, then surprising him again, much to his chagrin, that she is bringing the whole family. When we were finished, essentially the writers felt this isn't an old-fashioned, multicamera show where you just describe your trip. The more contemporary thing—and something we've really established for the show—is when we say we're going somewhere, we've gone there. So that's when the wrote they Hawaii episode. It totally worked out in our favor." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

SPOILER! Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has the scoop on Grey's Anatomy's two-hour season finale right from creator Shonda Rhimes herself. "The theme of the first hour is sanctuary, which sort of uses the idea that the hospital is our characters’ safest place and our safest place as viewers," Rhimes told Ausiello. "[Then we use] the hour to slowly turn that on its head [so] that by the end, the hospital is definitely kind of the least safe place in the world... The second hour is about choices, and we get to watch our characters make big ones. Lexie chooses between Mark and Alex. Owen chooses between Teddy and Cristina. Bailey faces the hardest medical choice that a doctor has to make. And the other choice that’s being made is Callie and Arizona, and whether or not they’re going to be together or not. It IS going to come down to the baby thing." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

HBO is developing an American remarke of French Canadian comedy series Taxi 22, which will be written by Dave Flebotte, who will executive produce with James Gandolfini, Nancy Sanders, Mark Armstrong, Dennis Erdman, Clark Peterson, and Francois Flamand. Project, which revolves around "a politically incorrect cab driver in New York City," is being looked at as a potential starring vehicle for Gandolfini. (Variety)'s Nellie Andreeva is reporting that CBS has ordered a pilot for a daytime culinary game show that will feature Emeril Lagasse from producers FremantleMedia. Potential series, which will be filmed in front of a live audience and feature contestants competing against each other as they prepare a dish, is said to be a possible replacement for cancelled daytime soap As The World Turns. (

E! Online's Megan Masters talks to Smallville's Annette O'Toole and Michael McKean, whose characters Martha Kent and Perry White, are set to return to the CW superhero drama later this month. "It's a case of a Woodward finding her Bernstein," said McKean of Perry's interactions with Erica Durance's Lois Lane. "Perry is impressed right away with how sharp Lois is, and I've read some of her things and think she's talented. But it really kicks into high gear when we realize that the two of us have been working on the same story—two very, very different ends of the same story. We're all looking for the MacGuffin, if you will—a story that in itself is not all that fortunate. But it definitely is something that's going to move things forward. Perry and Lois are kindred spirits." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)'s Nellie Andreeva has the fourth update for Deadline's Primetime Pilot Panic as the networks continue to screen their pilots and make their pickup decisions. Outsourced now seems all but a lock for NBC, along with fellow frontrunner Perfect Couples, while This Little Piggy has begun to cool off and Jimmy Smits' legal drama Garza is heating up. (

USA announced the launch date for Season Two of its hit dramedy White Collar, which will return to the schedule on July 13th at 9 pm ET/PT, where it will offer a lead in to new series Covert Affairs at 10 pm ET/PT. Here's how USA described Covert Affairs: "In COVERT AFFAIRS, USA's newest original series, we meet Annie Walker (Piper Perabo), a young CIA trainee who is suddenly thrust into the inner sanctum of the agency after being promoted to field operative. While it appears that she has been hand-picked for her exceptional linguistic skills, it may be something from her past that her CIA bosses are really after. Christopher Gorham plays Auggie Anderson, a CIA military intelligence agent, blinded while on assignment, and Annie's guide in this world of bureaucracy, excitement and intrigue. Peter Gallagher is Arthur Campbell, the formidable director of Clandestine Services for the CIA. Sendhil Ramamurthy plays Jai Wilcox, an agent with a rich family history within the walls of the CIA. Anne Dudek plays Danielle, a married mother of two and Annie's older sister who knows nothing of Annie's life as a spy. Kari Matchett plays Joan, head of the CIA's Domestic Protection Division... and Arthur's wife." (via press release)

"What grenade?" Meanwhile, Michael Ausiello has a sneak peek at USA's upcoming on-air promo campaign that combines the characters of the cabler's series such as White Collar, Psych, and Burn Notice; you can check out three of the five spots that will begin running soon. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

A&E has announced its scripted development slate, which includes a miniseries adaptation of Robin Cook's "Coma" with executive producers Ridley and Tony Scott attached as executive producers. On the series front, there's Criminology, also from the Scott Brothers; Big Mike, which revolves around a plus-sized police detective, from writers Ed Decter and John Strauss, Sony Pictures Television, and Happy Madison; Hazel Rhodes, about a Southern detective, from writer Daniel Cerone and ABC Studios; and American Crime, which follows a set odd-couple FBI partners, from writers Diana Son and Tanya Wexler and ABC Studios. (Variety)

The Wrap's Dylan Stableford talks to Comedy Central's head of original programming, Kent Alterman, about his development approach, the cabler's slate, and why comedy works on cable. "We want to try to make shows that people want to watch," said Alterman. "With comedy, there’s that elusive alchemy – you know it when it hits you. We want to create shows that people respond to, and we put together a diverse lineup that we think people will. Or I could just speak in sports terms: We gave it 110 percent, left it all out on the field." (The Wrap)

TLC has commissioned a third season of reality series Toddlers and Tiaras, which will return to the lineup on June 2nd. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stay tuned.


Charlotte said…
I'm glad that White Collar will be coming back this summer as it's perfect summertime frothy fun!
rockauteur said…
Walt Goggins should have been a main character on JUSTIFIED to begin with! I miss THE SHIELD!
JanieJones said…
I am thrilled that Goggins will be part of the regular cast on "Justified" next season. Olyphant and he have good on-screen chemistry together.
I've been using the word chemistry and Olyphant together a great deal lately :)
Seriously, I think the permanent addition of Goggins will only enrich a show that keeps getting better.

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