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Channel Surfing: Kristen Bell Wants Veronica Mars Movie, Tricia Helfer Nabs Lie to Me, SNL Lands Bryan Cranston, Fringe, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. Just a few headlines to go through before the long weekend...

Remember the Veronica Mars feature film that never was? So does Kristen Bell, who has taken to Twitter and the interwebs in order to drum up support for a feature film return to the UPN/WB series that so many of us fell in love with. Creator Rob Thomas had floated a film version of Veronica Mars back in 2009 but Warner Bros. passed on the concept, deeming that there wasn't enough of an audience to warrant the expenditure. (As if!) After radio silence about the project, Bell has now taken her cause to the streets. Or at least to Twitter, where yesterday she tweeted the following messages: "mars fans-can we bug @wbpictures & tell em the must do a VM film?? new tactic. bombard em w/tweets, theres evidence of fans they cant ignore... #veronicamars fans send petitions & any obsessive [behavior] u have 2 @wbpictures & demand the film. they c no audience 4 it? i beg 2 differ." Needless to say, several petitions have already sprung up in support of Bell's campaign. [Editor: I'd long given up hope of ever seeing a Veronica Mars feature film, though I'd love one. I do miss Neptune and Bell's Veronica. While I still don't have faith it will get made, my hat is off to Bell for drumming up support... and for not turning her back on her roots.] (Vulture)'s Adam Bryant is reporting that Tricia Helfer--she of the skin-tight dresses and blonde wig on Battlestar Galactica--will be guest starring this season on FOX's Lie to Me, where she will play Naomi. According to Bryant, her character is "attracted to Lightman (Tim Roth) despite being frustrated by the inability to hide anything from him. But when she calls on Lightman for protection from a violent ex-boyfriend, it's Lightman who begins to wonder if her beauty has impaired his lie-detecting skills." No airdate for Helfer's episode has been announced but it will air as part of Lie to Me's third season, which kicks off on November 10th. (

Good news for Breaking Bad fans: Bryan Cranston will host Saturday Night Live this season. The Hollywood Reporter has indicated that Cranston--who took home an Emmy Award this past weekend for his work on the AMC drama series--will host the October 2nd episode. (Hollywood Reporter)

Bubs Alert! Entertainment Weekly's Lynette Rice has a first-look at Andre Royo--yes, who played Bubbles on HBO's dearly missed The Wire--in an upcoming episode of FOX's Fringe, where he'll guest star opposite Anna Torv's Olivia Dunham. Royo, who will appear in the September 23rd episode, will play "a taxi driver that Olivia (Anna Torv) encounters as she fights to find her way home." (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Jamie Oliver is heading to Los Angeles. ABC has renewed the British chef's reality series Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution for a second season of six episodes, which will be shot in Los Angeles. Reports have indicated that the sophomore season will air either in midseason or next summer. (Variety)

Speaking of food shows, The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd has an interview with chef/author/l'enfant terrible Anthony Bourdain, in which the two discuss culinary television shows, travel, and more. Asked about his views on FOX's Masterchef, Bourdain had this to say: "Dreadful. I saw one episode where they had the contestants try to identify the ingredients of chili. 'I'm guessing there's onion in there' -- you know what I'm saying? 'There might be beef too.' I wish Gordon Ramsay well, but I think Top Chef remains the benchmark... I'm horrified at the low level of competitor in Hell's Kitchen. None of these people could ever -- ever -- be up to the standards of a line cook at a real Gordon Ramsay restaurant. So the whole construct seems artificial to me. Top Chef, on the other hand, what they ask these cooks to do is really difficult, and the quality of the contestants is very high." (Hollywood Reporter)'s Adam Bryant is reporting that Thomas Calabro (Melrose Place) will guest star on an upcoming episode of CBS' CSI: NY, where he will play "a man who is searching with his wife (Helen Slater, Smallville's Lara-El) for their missing son. Together, they follow clues left for them from a mysterious caller." His episode will air sometime this fall. (

Oren Peli and Michael R. Perry--the creators of Paranormal Activity--have joined forces with Dreamworks Television and ABC Studios to develop horror drama The River, which revolves around "search for a person who went missing on the Amazon river and employs the found-video footage format popularized by Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and, of course, Paranormal Activity." Project is said to be thisclose to a pilot pickup at ABC. (Hollywood Reporter)

Elsewhere, Paul Scheuring (Prison Break) and McG have gotten a "hefty commitment" from ABC for their private investigator drama I, PI, which revolves around "an investigator who learned everything he ever needed to know about being a P.I. from watching shows like Magnum, P.I. and Simon and Simon while growing up. As a result, he tends to subconsciously emulate those TV shamuses while out on the streets." The duo will executive produce along with Peter Johnson and McG will direct the pilot, should be ordered. (Variety)

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that Marc Guggenheim (Eli Stone) and Jennifer Robinson have sold a pilot script for an untitled event drama to ABC. Project, which the two will write, "follows the White House Office of Crisis Management as they tackle one huge global crisis per season" with "the first season [chronicling] a crisis with a ticking clock on board the international space station." The two will executive produce with Gary Fleder and Mary Beth Basile and Fleder is attached to direct, should the project go to pilot. Elsewhere, Sam Raimi has sold a script for drama pilot Lancaster, from writer Andrew Lipstiz, about a Scotland Yard copper who joins the LAPD. [Editor: sort of like a reverse Keen Eddie.] (Deadline)

CBS is said to be developing a comedy based on Susan Brightbill's upcoming book "The True Adventures of a Terrible Dater," with Brightbill attached to adapt her book, which revolves around a single architect in Chicago who attempts to make her way through the dating scene. Project, from Warner Bros. Television, will be executive produced by Sheldon Turner and Jennifer Klein. (Variety)

Following the departure of executive producer/showrunner Ken Sanzel from CBS' upcoming cop drama Blue Bloods, there has been a flurry of hirings, according to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva. Fred Keller has been brought aboard as a producer/director while writer Linda Gase has been hired as a consulting producer. (Deadline)

Stay tuned.


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