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Channel Surfing: Fox Snags Locke and Key, Trouble for Tilda, Torchwood Star Lands Three Inches, Temps, The Office, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing.

Vulture's Josef Adalian is reporting that FOX is in talks with 20th Century Fox Television and Dreamworks to develop a series based on Joe Hill's comic book "Locke and Key," which revolves around "three kids who end up watching over a secret, spooky New England mansion filled with mystical doors that transport them to different worlds and give them special powers (like turning into a ghost)," according to Adalian. But FOX isn't turning to just anyone to adapt the series created by Hill (who happens to be the son of Stephen King): Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Fringe, Hawaii Five-0) and Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as well as Steven Spielberg are attached as executive producers. (Vulture, Hollywood Reporter)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that there's some major behind the scenes drama brewing at HBO's much anticipated dark comedy pilot Tilda, which stars Diane Keaton as a Nikki Finke-esque Hollywood blogger. Showrunner Cynthia Mort has been removed from the project after the pilot shoot, during which she allegedly clashed with director/executive producer Bill Condon and with Keaton herself. "It was an unhappy marriage from day one,” an unnamed source told Ausiello about Mort and Condon's working relationship. “They banged heads about almost everything…and during production she picked huge public fights with anyone who disagreed with her on anything, including Diane.” Mort's removal prompted a nasty email to the production and the studio; neither she nor HBO would comment on the story, though Ausiello notes that Condon is assembling a new creative team and is close to picking a new showrunner for the project. (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Which former Torchwood star is crossing the pond to star in Syfy drama pilot Three Inches? Naoko Mori--who played the much missed Toshiko for two seasons on BBC Three's Torchwood--has been cast as a series regular in Three Inches, which follows a slacker who discovers that he has a useless superpower: he can move any object three inches with his mind. Mori will play "a woman who can duplicate and recite any sounds she hears." Also cast: Melrose Place's Stephanie Jacobsen, who will play Watts, described as "a beautiful 'super' hero who has the ability to shape the emotions of anyone she meets at close range." (Deadline)

Good news for fans of Party Down: the creators of the short-lived Starz comedy series have landed a put pilot from NBC for their next project, a single-camera comedy entitled Temps. The project, created by Rob Thomas, Jon Enbom, and Dan Etheridge, was the subject of an intense bidding war before a deal was reached between NBC and studio Warner Bros. Television. According to Variety's Michael Schneider, Temps will revolve around "a group of recent college grads who are forced to take a variety of oddball temp jobs to make ends meet." Any chance those trademark pink bowties could make a return appearance? (Variety)

E! Online's Jennifer Arrow is reporting that producers of NBC's The Office, which will see the departure of series lead Steve Carell after the upcoming season, would prefer to promote from within rather than bring in an A-lister to replace Michael Scott. Arrow caught up with writer/producer Warren Lieberstein to ask him about whether the show can go on without Carell and just where Michael's replacement will come from. "We're really sad. I don't know how you soldier on from Steve leaving," said Lieberstein. "He's such an amazing talent. He's the best. He's the best, honestly. But we're kind of lucky, we have a lot of movie stars in our cast! Craig Robinson, Ed Helms, Rainn Wilson—and that Krasinski guy is not bad, and Jenna Fischer, she's pretty great. I think the reason we've been able to survive as many seasons as we have is because of the supporting cast." As for the matter of succession, Lieberstein said, "We're still debating. A lot of us want from within, because we think we have such a strong cast, but we'll see. We have a network that also [has] wants." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

In other Three Inches-related news, The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd is reporting that Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) has also joined the cast of the Syfy superhero pilot, where she will play Belinda Spackman, the mother of the main character, who is described as "a brutally cynical force of nature who will do anything to protect her son, who has developed a unique not-so-superpower: the ability to move any object three inches using his mind." (Hollywood Reporter)

E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos has an interview with True Blood star Denis O'Hare, who is stealing scenes this season as the Vampire King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington. O'Hare told E! Online that, despite his character's longevity, he can still be killed. "I am 3,000 years old, but it can be done," said O'Hare. "The vampire rules are if you behead them, if you stake them with wood, or if you put silver on them, they're going down. The silver weakens them incredibly, the wood will actually kill them, and beheading is game over." (E! Online's Watch with Kristin)

FOX is developing an untitled drama pilot with writer Rick Eid and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci about a prosecutor who discovers that he can tell whether a defendant is guilty or innocent. "Show revolves around an overly ambitious prosecutor who wrongfully convicts an innocent man for murder, an event that becomes the trigger for his magical flashes and an understanding that he has a debt an understanding that he has a debt to repay to the innocent," writes Variety's Cynthia Littleton. (Variety)

Meghan Markle (Fringe) has been cast as one of the leads in USA's legal drama pilot A Legal Mind, where she will star opposite Patrick Adams and Gabriel Macht. She'll play Rachel Lane, described as "an attractive paralegal with an encyclopedic knowledge of the law who's assigned to Mike [Patrick Adams] and becomes his valuable after-hours research ally." Whedonverse alum Gina Torres has also been cast in the project, though her role--senior partner Katherine Pearson--is in second position to ABC Family's Huge. (Hollywood Reporter)

FX is developing comedy 13th Grade, about a "a high school graduate who's content with his meager lifestyle -- until his girlfriend dumps him for being 'stuck' between childhood and adulthood"--with Michael Cera, Derek Waters, and Emily Kapnek. Kapnek and Cera are writing the script, while Waters is set to co-star in the project. (Variety)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos) will star opposite Sherry Stringfield in Lifetime's currently untitled Josh Berman drama pilot, where she will play Brooke Kross, the partner to Stringfield's police detective Molly Collins. Elsewhere, John Hawkes (Lost) will star in FX drama pilot Outlaw Country, where he will play Tarzen Larkin, the uncle to Luke Grimes' Eli, who is described as "one of the most charismatic and compelling characters in Slaughter, a big-time player in the Southern crime world." (Deadline)

Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy) and Tom Cavanagh (Ed) are set to guest star in an upcoming episode of USA's Royal Pains when the series returns for its first ever winter season this January, according to Fancast's Matt Mitovich. Sedaris will play Nan Noonan, "Jill's partner for a Hamptons golf tournament," while Cavanagh will play pro golfer Jack O'Malley. (Fancast)

TLC has ordered eight episodes of Sextuplets Take New York, which is--you guessed it!--about a family raising four boys and two girls in Queens, New York. It will launch on September 14th. (Hollywood Reporter)

Yep, Jennifer Aniston is going to guest star on ABC's Cougar Town next month, when she'll drop by as a therapist for Courteney Cox's Jules. (via press release)

TV Guide Magazine's Will Keck is reporting that Life Unexpected's Reggie Austin has been cast as the husband of Vanessa Williams' character on ABC's Desperate Housewives this season. He'll make his first appearance in the fifth episode of the season and will be playing Doug, the New York pro baseball player husband of Williams' Renee Perry. (TV Guide Magazine)

20th Century Fox Television and Chernin Entertainment have signed a blind script deal with Get Him to the Greek writer/director Nicholas Stoller. (Hollywood Reporter)

Former TNT programming executive Julie Weitz has been hired as president of Carol Mendelsohn's production company. (Variety)

Stay tuned.

Comments

Rebecca said…
Wow, FX has become Deadwood alum central, hasn't it? John Hawkes is like #643. Not that I'm complaining . . .

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