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Channel Surfing: Melina Kanakaredes Leaves CSI: NY, Game of Thrones Lands Aidan Gillen, Peter Weller Joins Dexter, True Blood, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing.

Another one bites the dust: Melina Kanakaredes is the latest star to leave their CBS drama series, following in the footsteps of A.J. Cook, Eddie Cibrian, and Liz Vassey. Kanakaredes, who has starred on CBS' CSI: NY for six seasons, has announced that she will not be returning for a seventh go-around as Detective Stella Bonasera. "We hoped Melina would return to CSI: NY for another season, but we respect her decision to move on," said CBS Television Network and CBS Television Studios in a joint statement released yesterday. "Her amazing talent and invaluable contribution to the success of the series are greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten. She will forever remain a friend to the network and studio and we wish her the very best." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

Meanwhile, yesterday's rumor appears now to be a fact: Sela Ward is joining CSI: NY, following Kanakaredes' departure. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Aidan Gillen (The Wire) has signed on as a series regular for HBO's upcoming George R.R. Martin drama series Game of Thrones, where he will play Littlefinger, described as a scheming "adviser to King Robert who manipulates those in power to fit his own agenda." Production on Game of Thrones is set to begin later this month in Northern Ireland, with a launch expected in the first half of 2011. (Hollywood Reporter)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Peter Weller (Robocop) has been cast in Season Five of Showtime's Dexter, where he is slated to appear in eight out of the twelve installments as "a troubled Miami Metro police officer who gets caught up in an internal affairs investigation." Season Five is set to premiere September 26th on Showtime. (Deadline)

MAJOR SPOILER! TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that a panther will be appearing on the set of HBO's vampire drama True Blood, fueling speculation that Jason Stackhouse could be transforming into a werepanther at some point this season. "I've been working with the panthers and they're a lot cooler than the wolves," True Blood creator Alan Ball told Keck. "We have shot some scenes with actual panthers in the same way we have shot with actual wolves. But I won't say there are or aren't werepanthers on the show." [Editor: the reveal of the panther would fall in line with what Ball told me a while back for my True Blood set visit and feature for The Daily Beast: that someone's love interest this season is secretly a were. Hmmm...] (TV Guide Magazine)

SPOILER! Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has some major dirt on a huge plot twist planned in the "game-changing" second season opener of CBS' The Good Wife, as the series' law firm, Lockhart & Gardener "will be in the midst of merging with another firm," according to Ausiello. "Everyone [will be thrown] for a loop,” Good Wife executive producer Robert King told Ausiello, “[especially partners] Will [Josh Charles] and Diane [Christine Baranski]. And Alicia [Julianna Margulies], who thought she was [in the clear], once again has to prove herself in new surroundings." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

MAJOR SPOILER! TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck reports that Booth and Brennan will finally get to close the book on the murderous Gravedigger, Heather Taffet (Deirdre Lovejoy), this season on FOX's Bones... but the same episode that features Heather's final appearance will introduce a new nemesis for the team who creator Hart Hanson said is "someone much worse, who will dog us for the season." What else did Keck manage to get out of Hanson about this new big bad? ""It's someone highly motivated to do great harm to our people — a personal vendetta," said Hanson. "One of our characters will be a victim." (TV Guide Magazine)

Not only did TVGuide.com's Denise Martin moderate last night's Glee event at the Paley Center but she also has an exclusive interview with co-creator Ryan Murphy about the second season of the musical-comedy in which he confirms that the upcoming Britney Spears tribute episode will in fact revolve around Heather Morris' addled cheerleader Brittany, who will sing two of the pop singer's songs. (TVGuide.com)

Fancast's Matt Mitovich is reporting that former Melrose Place star Shaun Sipos is joining the cast of the CW's Life Unexpected, where he will recur as Eric, a new teacher at the high school where Lux attends. (Fancast)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello and Andy Patrick are reporting that Arielle Kebbel (Gilmore Girls) and Amy Price-Francis (The Cleaner) have joined the cast of the CW's Life Unexpected, where they will play respectively Paige, described as "the new hottie in town who may well wind up tending more than bar for Baze (Kristoffer Polaha)," and Kelly, described as "a conservative author/chatterbox who becomes a partner on the radio show that Cate (Shiri Appleby) and Ryan (Kerr Smith) front." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

File this under random recastings: Timm Sharp ('Til Death) has been cast in HBO comedy series Enlightened, where he will play the new boss of Laura Dern's formerly self-destructive character who returns to work after a spectacular meltdown. Sharp replaces Mos Def, who exited the series due to "deal issues," according to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva. Production began yesterday on the project, from executive producers Dern and Mike White. (Deadline)

The title for the season opener of ABC's Grey's Anatomy? “With You I’m Born Again," according to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

In a move that will surprise absolutely no one, ABC has renewed its Canadian summer drama series Rookie Blue for a second season. (Hollywood Reporter)

Among the actors lending their voices to Adult Swim's Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III: Zac Efron, Donald Glover (Community), and Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show), who will join an already burgeoning voice cast that includes Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, Breckin Meyer, Seth MacFarlane, Dan Milano, Abraham Benrubi, Donald Faison, Rachael Leigh Cook, Adrianne Palicki, Eden Espinosa, Hugh Davidson, Bob Bergen, Keith Ferguson, Tom Kane, Zeb Wells, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, and Ahmed Best. The special will air December 12th. (Variety)

Reveille and Jack Black's shingle Electric Dynamite Prods. have jointly optioned the rights to A.J. Jacob's non-fiction book "My Life As An Experiment," with the aim to adapt the work as a half-hour comedy series. (Deadline)

Joe Jonas will guest star on TV Land's Hot in Cleveland, where he will play the son of Valerie Bertinelli's character. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Sony Pictures Television has promoted James Canniffe to SVP of US alternative development. He will report to Holly Jacobs. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Effie said…
I love the wolves on True Blood and think they do an amazing job with the transformations. It doesn't look hokey at all but is actually pretty cool.
I second that, Effie.

Werepanther? How great is that? I hope this happens!

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