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Channel Surfing: Damages Season Four Details, Susan Sarandon Gets Miraculous, RTD Teases Torchwood, Fringe, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

Now that the ink has dried on Damages's DirecTV deal, Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello talks to executive producers Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman about whether the format for the serpentine legal drama will be altered for its fourth and fifth seasons, whether the budget will be affected, why Ellen has gotten past the fact that Patty tried to have her killed, who will be returning, and a host of other issues. "DirecTV wants us to do the show that we’ve been doing," said Zelman. "If anything, they want us to push what we’ve been doing even further. They’re encouraging us to be as bold as possible, which is something we strive for anyway. There have been no discussions about altering the show in any fundamental way." Except for the fact that the episodes will be longer, that is. "What’s exciting for us as creators is that on the 101 Network there are no commercials, so it’ll be an uninterrupted hour," said Todd A. Kessler. "And that lends itself to the type of storytelling we do." Production on Season Four begins in January. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

The cast of HBO's drama The Miraculous Year--from writer John Logan and director Kathryn Bigelow--just keeps getting better and better. Susan Sarandon (The Lovely Bones) will join Norbert Leo Butz, Frank Langella, Hope Davis, Lee Pace, Patti LuPone, Eddie Redmayne, and Linus Roach, among others in the cast of the drama pilot, which follows the lives of a wealthy Manhattan family. Sarandon, who will guest star in the pilot, will play Patty Atwood, the director and choreographer for the new show that Norbert Leo Butz's Terry is mounting. (Deadline)

Russell T Davies has teased information about the upcoming fourth season of Torchwood that will air in the US on Starz next year, telling a journalist from SFX that it will be very dark indeed, if not darker than Torchwood: Children of Earth. "Actually, this story is also very dark," said Davies. "I think with that, Torchwood found its feet. People found something very compelling and very chilling about it. I love the way people got on their high horse saying, 'Oh, he killed his grandson!' Hello! He saved every single child in the world! If you would fail to do that then you're the monster, frankly. It's this extraordinary treatment that only science fiction heroes get You find that. If ever a word is said out of place by the Doctor or Captain Jack, or even by Sarah Jane sometimes, people throw their hands up in horror, whereas in any other drama any character is capable of any thing at any time. That's the only way to write, and it's the same for these people as well. I thought it was fascinating and challenging what he did there, but hard—it was so hard. I do think with the whole of Children Of Earth we found a new heartland for Torchwood." (via Blastr)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has a video interview with the stars of FOX's Fringe, in which Anna Torv, Josh Jackson, and John Noble discuss Season Three, the romance between Olivia and Peter, and familial bonds. Well worth a look if you don't mind vague spoilers. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan talks to Bruce Miller and Jaime Paglia, the producers of Syfy's Eureka about Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton's upcoming turns on the dramedy series as well as about James Callis' Dr. Grant. According to Paglia, Day will play a "very eccentric scientist, someone who was invited to be at Eureka but turned it down," when the series returns for the back half of its season in 2011. According to Ryan, Day's character will be "brought in to consult on a problem and Day's character and the character played by Wheaton, who will appear in several episodes, will be involved in a love triangle with a Eureka regular. The producers wouldn't say who it is, but I'd bet money that it's Fargo." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Glee fans, say goodbye to Coach Tanaka. TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that Patrick Gallagher--who plays the surly high school coach/gym teacher, is not expected to return for the second season of Glee this fall and the producers will be introducing a new character--Dot Jones' Shannon Beiste--as the new football coach at William McKinnley High. "As he has not been written into the show's first few episodes," writes Keck, "it appears that Tanaka ran his course after failing in his attempt to marry Emma." (TV Guide Magazine)

Liam Neeson is set to guest star on an upcoming episode of Showtime's Laura Linney-led dark comedy The Big C, where he will play Bee Man, an eccentric man whom Cathy consults for a possible cancer treatment. (via press release)

Nigel Lythgoe is said to be thisclose to finalizing a deal that will see him return to FOX's American Idol as an executive producer for the tenth season. Lythgoe is widely expected to close the deal and serve alongside Ken Warwick, Simon Fuller, and Cecile Frot-Coutaz. "Fox is seeking to bring back Lythgoe to work on the hit series as part of a master plan to reboot the show following the exit of top judge Simon Cowell," writes The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd. "In addition, Idol fans can add pop star Justin Timberlake to the list of potential Cowell replacements. Timberlake, along with legendary singer Elton John, is on Idol producer 19 Entertainment chief Simon Fuller's wish list." (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Common (Date Night) has been cast in AMC period drama pilot Hell on Wheels, the first talent attachment to the drama, which depicts the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Common will play Elam, described as "a freed slave who comes west seeking work on the railroad and his place in the world" and who, "as a half black, half white man... does not completely belong to either world." (Deadline)

G4 has purchased four anime-inspired series based on Marvel characters from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The cabler has ordered twelve episodes each of X-Men, Wolverine, Iron Man and Blade, which it will launch in 2011. Marvel Entertainment will produce with Madhouse and each of the anime series will have some thread connecting it to Asia in some way. [Editor: the inclusion of Wolverine here then makes sense, given his history in Japan, but X-Men? Interesting.] (Variety)

It's thought quite elementary that BBC One's new mystery series Sherlock--a modern-day version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's sleuth from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss--will be recommissioned for a second season after 7.5 million viewers tuned in on Sunday to watch the first episode. (Broadcast)

In other UK news, British viewers will be able to watch the CW's Nikita and NBC's Chase, following a deal between studio Warner Bros. Television and The Living TV Group (a division of BSkyB) that will bring the series to Living. Nikita will air this fall on the channel, while Chase will jump across the pond in 2011. (Hollywood Reporter)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Jeff and Jackie Filgo have left ABC's comedy pilot Awkward Situations For Men, which is being reworked and will be reshot. The cast of the original pilot--Danny Wallace, Tony Hale, and Laura Prepon--will return for the redone pilot though studio Warner Bros. Television will have to find a replacement for the Filgos, who wrote the pilot with Wallace and served as executive producers on the project. (Deadline)

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that an earthquake will rock Los Angeles in the September 13th season premiere of 90210. "We wanted to open the season with an event that has both physical and emotional ramifications for several people," co-executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman told Keck and added that the incident will seriously affect one character. "One of them has a very serious injury that takes time to resolve and sort of changes the direction of his or her life." (TV Guide Magazine)

Epix has acquired rights to stand-up comedy film Louis C.K.: Hilarious, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year. The pay cabler will air the film on September 18th on Epix, its website, and its on demand service before Comedy Central gets a second window in 2011. (Variety)

CBS and CBS Studios have signed a talent holding deal with former King of Queens star Leah Remini, who will also serve as one of the hosts of CBS' new mom-centric daytime talk show. Under the terms of the deal, Remini will star in a new half-hour comedy pilot for the network. (Deadline)

Former ITV managing director Lee Bartlett has returned Stateside, where he has moved into the business affairs EVP position at Discovery Communications. He'll be based in Los Angeles and will report to Peter Ligouri. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


Julia said…
So, so happy that Damages will be coming back! Season two wasn't the best but seasons one and three were incredible and I hope they're able to keep up that kind of storytelling.
Webster said…
I'm also happy to see Damages return for two more seasons.
An edgier show with amazing stories and longer episodes. A win-win all around.

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