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Channel Surfing: NBC Renews "Parks and Recreation," John Barrowman to Wisteria Lane, "Being Human" Gets Third Season, "Chuck," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Great news for fans of NBC's killer comedy Parks and Recreation : the Peacock has renewed the series for a third season, set to launch this fall. News of the renewal was broken by The Wrap's Josef Adalian, who reported that due to "certain production timing issues," an early renewal was required on the Universal Media Studios-produced comedy, which is executive produced by Greg Daniels and Mike Schur. ( The Wrap ) Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Torchwood 's John Barrowman is joining the cast of ABC's Desperate Housewives for at least five episodes this season. Barrowman, who is slated to appear beginning in April, will play "the Big Bad at the center of the Angie (Drea de Matteo) mystery," writes Ausiello. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) BBC Three has commissioned a third season of supernatural drama Being Human and announced that all three of the

Channel Surfing: Natalie Zea Tackles "Lawman," Armande Assante Targets "Chuck," CW Orders More Scripts for "Melrose" and "Diaries," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Former Dirty Sexy Money star Natalie Zea, who most recently recurred on HBO's Hung , has signed on a series regular on FX's drama Lawman , starring Timothy Olyphant. Zea, who appeared in Lawman 's pilot, will reprise her role as the ex-wife of Olyphant's US Marshall Givens in the series. Project hails from Sony Pictures Television and FX Productions. ( Hollywood Reporter ) Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Emmy winner Armand Assante has been cast as a guest star on NBC's Chuck , where he will play "a Castro-esque dictator who Casey has unsuccessfully tried to assassinate multiple times." ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) The CW has given a full season order to veteran drama series One Tree Hill , which is currently in its seventh season. Initially, the netlet had only ordered 13 installments for this season but the order bumps the episode total to a full 22.

Channel Surfing: Whedon Talks "Dollhouse" Season Two, J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Lands FOX Comedy, Amaury Nolasco Leaves "Southland," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Los Angeles Times ' Show Tracker has an interview with Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon about Season Two of the FOX drama series, which returns on Friday. Asked about how malleable the future depicted in the unaired thirteen episode "Epitaph One" is, Whedon said, "We talked about whether it was malleable or not, and right now we pretty much take it as gospel. But then we have a lot of different opinions about how it gets there and who does what. We're fascinated by the implications of this future, and a lot of this season has been guided by it without being so beholden to it that people who didn't see it won't understand. We were incited by the idea that the abuse of power is more widespread than just this one house." ( Los Angeles Times ' Show Tracker ) J.J. Abrams' production shingle Bad Robot has landed a pilot presentation order from FOX for a half-hour comedy series that's being

Channel Surfing: Sissy Spacek Finds "Big Love," Saffron Burrows Circles "Criminal Intent," Alan Ball Keeps "Blood" Subplot a Possibility, and Mo

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. I had an amazing time last night at The Killers concert at the Hollywood Bowl but am a wee bit exhausted this morning as a result. That said, onto the headlines. Oscar winner Sissy Spacek will join the cast of HBO's drama series Big Love next season in a multiple-episode story arc where she will play a "powerful Washington D.C. lobbyist." Spacek's casting comes on the heels of announcements that Bella Thorne will replace Jolean Wejbe on the series next season and that Ben Koldyke will appear as Dale, a "state-appointed trustee and love interest for Alby (Matt Ross)." Big Love launches its fourth season early in 2010. ( Los Angeles Times ' Show Tracker ) Saffron Burrows ( My Own Worst Enemy ) is said to be in talks to join the cast of USA's Law & Order: Criminal Intent , where it's thought likely that she would play a new partner for Jeff Goldblum's Detective Zach Nichols. ( Hollywoo

Channel Surfing: NBC Detects US "Prime Suspect," Kristin Kreuk Flies to "Chuck," Katherine Heigl Takes Break from "Grey's," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. NBC is developing a US version of British crime drama series Prime Suspect , which starred Helen Mirren as the dogged and damaged Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison. The US version, which will be developed and written by Without a Trace 's Hank Steinberg, will be shot as a two-hour presentation and is the first effort of a multi-year deal between NBC and ITV Studios, the production arm of British terrestrial network ITV. "We want to carefully choose a couple of iconic titles this year to reinvent, and our intention is to create another classic television show from this brilliant original format," said NBC Primetime Entertainment president Angela Bromstad. "Hank Steinberg was key in helping us secure this project, and we are incredibly excited about this modern vision for the show." ( Variety ) Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello is reporting that former Smallville star Kristin Kreuk has been

Channel Surfing: "Chuck" Duo Brief ABC Legal Dramedy, Fred Armisen Heads to "Parks and Rec," Showtime Gives Them "L" as Reality Series, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. ABC has emerged victorious from a fierce bidding war over an untitled legal dramedy from executive producers Josh Schwartz and Ali Adler ( Chuck ). The project, which received a put pilot commitment from the network, is about a female attorney in Los Angeles who "has observed enough misery in her divorce and family law practice to vow never to take the plunge into matrimony." Script will be written by Adler ( Chuck ), who will executive produce along with Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, Sheldon Turner, and Jennifer Klein. ( Variety ) Saturday Night Live 's Fred Armisen will reunite with Amy Poehler on NBC's Parks and Recreation this season. Armisen will guest star in an upcoming episode in which he'll play the counterpart to Leslie Knope (Poehler) in Pawnee's sister city. "Leslie arranges for [Armisen and his colleagues] to come for a visit, but they’re from a city in Venezuela," Parks executive pr

Channel Surfing: MTV Lights US "Skins," FX "Mad" for Cheadle Basketball Drama, HBO to Explore "Savage Love," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. MTV is developing a US adaptation of hit British teen drama series Skins , which airs on E4 and Channel 4 in the UK. Co-creator Bryan Elsley will executive produce the new version, which will be shot in Baltimore with unknown actors, with Company Pictures' Charlie Pattinson and George Faber. "It's been two years that I've been personally involved in trying to get this here to the network," MTV's SVP of series development Liz Gateley told Variety , "and I don't think I've ever had a negotiation drag out as long as this, but I knew it was something very special." Elsley will write the pilot script for the US version of Skins , which MTV has committed to filming. ( Variety ) FX has ordered a pilot script for sports drama March to Madness , about a corrupt college basketball program that manages to reach the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament through some duplicitous means. Project, wri

Channel Surfing: "The Walking Dead" at AMC, Jon Hamm on Season Three of "Mad Men," Paula Abdul Gets "Ugly," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. AMC is reportedly close to signing a deal with Frank Darabont ( The Green Mile ) to write and direct an adaptation of Robert Kirkman's comic series "The Walking Dead" for the cabler. Potential series, about a group of people who have survived a zombie apocalypse who search for a safe place to call their home, will be executive produced by Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert. No studio is currently attached. "This is not about zombies popping out of closets," said AMC's SVP of programming Joel Stillerman. "This is a story about survival, and the dynamics of what happens when a group is forced to survive under these circumstances. The world is portrayed in a smart, sophisticated way." ( Variety ) The Chicago Tribune 's Maureen Ryan has a fantastic, insightful, and lengthy interview with Mad Men star Jon Hamm, in which he talks about Season Three of the AMC period drama. "What I think is i

Channel Surfing: Shawn Ryan Details What Might Have Been on "The Unit," FX Circles "Louie," "House" Romance Detour, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I'm still recovering from way too good of a time at last night's fantastic FOX party at Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, so luckily just a few headlines to get through today. Shawn Ryan has told Futon Critic's Brian Ford Sullivan what might have happened next season on military drama The Unit had the series continued on CBS. "[David] Mamet and I and our writers, we came up with a lot of great stuff," Ryan told Sullivan. "It was going to be a whole new show in the sense that we were going to be training some young people, Bob was going to be training some people for a whole new organization. Jonas was finally going to be seeing his run end. The final season was going to be, I figured the fifth season was going to be the last... It was going to be a long, sort of final mission for Jonas. He's not medically cleared, Mac has to go in and sort of change the medical records so that Jonas can

Channel Surfing: Monaghan Gets "Lost" for Three Episodes, Joey Lauren Adams Falls for "Tara," "Ugly" Betty's New Look Focus-Grouped, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. E! Online's Watch with Kristin is reporting that Dominic Monaghan will reprise his role as rocker Charlie Pace on ABC's Lost next season for three episodes. "Sources tell us exclusively that, yes, Dom's deal to reappear on Lost is done and that the original castmember is set to appear in three episodes in Season Six," writes Jennifer Godwin. "No word yet on the answer to the big question: Is Charlie alive? We'll have to wait until Lost returns to ABC in January 2010 to find out." ( E! Online's Watch with Kristin ) Joey Lauren Adams ( Party Down ) has joined the cast of Showtime's United States of Tara for the series' second season. Adams will play Pammy, a barmaid who "has a history of picking the wrong guys," writes Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello. "Her luck changes the day she meets 'Buck' and falls head over heels in love." She'll app

Channel Surfing: Zuniga Returns to "Melrose Place," Pileggi and Plimpton on Call for "Grey's," Eliza Coupe "Scrubs" In as Regular, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Daphne Zuniga ( One Tree Hill ) will reprise her role as photographer Jo Reynolds in the CW's relaunch of soap Melrose Place in at least two episodes. Zuniga will join several other cast members from the original Melrose Place on the CW series this fall, including Thomas Calabro, Josie Bissett, and Laura Leighton. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Hollywood Insider ) Martha Plimpton ( ER ) has been cast in a multiple-episode story arc next season on ABC's Grey's Anatomy , where she will play the mother of a young patient at Seattle Grace. Her first appearance is set for the sixth season premiere, slated to air September 24th. In other Grey's casting news, Mitch Pileggi ( Stargate: Atlantis ) will reprise his role as Larry Jennings, the chairman of Seattle Grace's board of directors, in the sixth season premiere. ( Hollywood Reporter , TVGuide.com ) Eliza Coupe has been upgraded to series regular on Scrubs nex

Channel Surfing: Jon Heder Lands Comedy Central Series, ABC Drops "Gravity" in August, Gregory Smith Mines "Copper," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. I was lucky enough to see an advance screening of upcoming film Julie & Julia last night and urge all you film-loving foodies to head out and watch it when it's released. Just make sure you eat beforehand! Comedy Central has ordered ten episodes of an untitled multi-camera comedy series starring Jon Heder ( Blades of Glory, Napoleon Dynamite ). Project, about an unemployed IT specialist who returns to his smalltown to move in with his parents and younger brother, will be written by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Chris Henchy. Series hails from Debmar-Mercury and Gary Sanchez and will have an initial run on Comedy Central; if it scores with audiences, another 90 installments will be automatically picked up with Comedy Central having the first window while Debmar-Mercury will sell the series into first-run syndication at the same time. ( Variety ) ABC has announced that it will launch FTVS' internationally produced drama s

Channel Surfing: AMC Orders "Rubicon" to Series, Callum Blue Takes on Zod for "Smallville," Eve Finds "Glee," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday television briefing. AMC has handed out a twelve-episode series order to political thriller Rubicon , starring James Badge Dale, Miranda Richardson, Lili Taylor, Dallas Roberts, and Peter Gerety. Series, from Warner Horizon, writer/executive producer Jason Horwitch ( Medical Investigation ), and director Allen Coulter ( Six Feet Under ), revolves around an analyst (Dale) of a top-secret government think tank "whose work leads him to uncover a clue that points him toward an unfolding global conspiracy." Series, which will be shot in New York, is expected to launch in 2010. "The pilot is beautifully done and we are very, very excited to move forward with the series," said Joel Stillerman, SVP of programming and production at AMC. "It's a major challenge to find the right balance to take that into a serialized drama format, where you have to pose more questions than are answered but do it in a way that is still satisfying to the audi

Channel Surfing: Matthew Fox Talks "Lost" Final Season, "Reaper" Creators Check into "Dollhouse," Buckley Replaces Green on "One Tree Hill," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. E! Online caught up with Lost star Matthew Fox in Monte Carlo, where he was on hand to attend the Monte Carlo Television Festival, and got the actor to tease some details about Lost 's sixth and final season. Fox, who said that Lost will end with "an incredibly powerful, very sad and beautiful way," went on to say " "I think it is going to be very satisfying and cathartic and redemptive and beautiful. I've talked to Damon pretty extensively and every time I talk to him it's sort of surprising how moving it is just to talk about it." As for the beginning of Season Six, look for the action to begin with the reveal of just what happened after Juliet seemed to detonate the hydrogen bomb, with Fox teasing, "It's very surprising and probably fairly confusing initially to the audience... Like a third of the way in [to the season] I would guess we are going to [settle] in one time frame and i