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Channel Surfing: Details on Kanakaredes' Exit from CSI, Alphas Lands Two, More on McPherson, HIMYM, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing.

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello talks to CSI: NY executive producers Pam Veasey and Zachary Reiter about the departure of Melina Kanakaredes from the crime procedural and how they'll handle Stella's exit, given that Kanakaredes will not be reprising her role this fall. "We’re giving her a noble exit,” said Reiter. "We chose not to go the route of killing her off or having her go missing. We felt that would weigh too heavily on the team." However, the action will instead pick up a few months after the events of the season finale and reveal that Stella moved to New Orleans. "She left to run a lab there," Veasey told Ausiello. "And she picked that city because it’s the city of Katrina, the city of BP oil, the city where people are looking for someone to lend a hand. She’ll essentially be Mac in New Orleans. We wanted to do something that was respectful and made a lot of sense." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

More casting on Syfy's 90-minute drama pilot Alphas: Malika Yoba (Defying Gravity) and Laura Mennell (Watchmen) have signed on to star in the pilot, which is written by Zak Penn and Michael Karnow and directed by Jack Bender. Yoba and Mennell will star opposite David Strathairn and will play members of the Alpha team, a group of people "who have extraordinary mental and physical abilities" and who "investigate difficult-to-solve cases that the CIA and FBI have either passed over or were unable to solve." (Variety)

The Hollywood Reporter's Kim Masters is reporting that ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson resigned from the network amid a formal sexual harassment probe into alleged misconduct involving several women--both executives and on-air talent--and an incident at a corporate retreat. Said investigation had been going on for the three weeks leading up to his announcement that he would be stepping down from the company. "Upon Steve McPherson returning to work from his vacation on Monday, he made a voluntary decision to resign and ABC accepted his resignation," said McPherson's lawyer, Tom Hoberman, in a statement. "It is not uncommon for high level executives to be the subject of gossip and innuendo. That would include rumors of internal situations which can easily be misinterpreted or misrepresented. Seems like it goes with the territory, and there is nothing further to discuss." According to Masters, ABC "pointedly did not deny allegations of inappropriate conduct." The situation remains in flux and ABC has yet to officially name a replacement for McPherson, though it's widely believed that ABC Family's Paul Lee has scored the seat. (Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed)

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan talks to How I Met Your Mother creators/executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas about what went wrong with the fifth season of the CBS sitcom. "We set out to say, 'What if every episode, you hit the reset button at the end of the episode?'" said Bays. "...We had fun doing that, but I feel like that's not the show we wanted to do." Thomas concurred. "A certain kind of fan of the show felt like last season was less emotionally interesting, less interesting in the larger arc of 'Who's the mother?' but also less interesting in the sense of moving forward in these characters' lives," he told Ryan. "I feel like we earned fans by exploring a lot of different rites of passage in people's lives, and last year I feel like we did a lot less of it." Ryan also gets Bays and Thomas to discuss details of Season Six of Mother, including the return of Rachel Bilson, the handling of Barney and his quest to find his real father, Marshall and Lily's attempts to have a baby, the third installment of the Robin Sparkles saga, and the fact that "by the end of the season, everyone's lives will change dramatically." (Chicago Tribune's The Watcher)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello, meanwhile, has a few further details on the return of Rachel Bilson's Cindy to How I Met Your Mother. "Bilson will appear in the show’s sixth season premiere this fall when Cindy shows up at MacLaren’s bar, the favored hangout of Mother‘s central quartet," writes Ausiello. Meanwhile, her return sets up some important storytelling. “The season premiere is going to be very much informed by her presence,” Carter Bays told Ausiello. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that USA has renewed procedural drama In Plain Sight for two additional seasons, the series' fourth and fifth installments. "The main cast, including Mary McCormack, Frederick Weller and Paul Ben-Victor, are all set to return to In Plain Sight, which will continue to film in New Mexico," writes Andreeva. (Deadline)

E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos has a run down of just who will be on Glee this season, who won't be, and who may be. It's a long list, to say the least. (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Paul Giamatti (John Adams) has been cast in an HBO telepic that will depict the two-week tour that Nikita Khruschchev took of the United States in 1959. Project, from Playtone, is based on Peter Carlson's nonfiction book "K Blows Top," and will be adapted by Paul Bernbaum. "Once in the States, Khrushchev famously blew up when he was informed that a planned trip to Disneyland had to be tabled because of security concerns," writes Variety's Cynthia Littleton. "(The book's title comes from New York Daily News headline about the Disneyland flap.)" (Variety)

BSkyB has signed an exclusive output deal with HBO, said to be in the arena of $234 million over the next five years. Under the terms of the deal, the satcaster retains exclusive rights to all new HBO series, with the first being Boardwalk Empire, current series, past series, and right of first refusal on UK co-productions. (Variety)

Elsewhere across the pond, Channel 4 has secured the UK rights to NBC's upcoming thriller The Event, which will launch in the UK in October. (Variety)

Stay tuned.


mck said…
"It is not uncommon for high level executives to be the subject of gossip and innuendo."

It's also not uncommon for these rumors to be true.

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