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Channel Surfing: FOX Renews "Dollhouse," "Bones" Gets Two Season Pickup, "So You Think You Can Dance" on Tap for Fall, and More

Welcome to (a very early edition of) your Monday morning television briefing on the first day of the 2009 network upfronts. In a surprising twist, FOX has renewed drama series Dollhouse for a second season. Dollhouse , which secured a thirteen-episode order from the network, is expected to remain on Friday evenings next season. Variety 's Cynthia Littleton writes, "The 20th Century Fox TV fantasy drama starring Eliza Dushku has delivered modest but consistent ratings on a low-trafficked night, thanks to Whedon's built-in fan base." It's believed that the renewal was secured after the studio agreed to drastically reduce the series' budget and accept a significantly lower license fee. Just what that decision will mean for the writing staff and cast of Dollhouse remains to be seen. ( Variety ) Good news for Bones fans (even those irked by the season finale's twist): FOX and studio 20th Century Fox Television have signed a deal to renew Bones for not one

Channel Surfing: Starz to "Party Down" for Season Two, FOX Orders "Human Target" and "Sons of Tucson," "Torchwood" Ignites in July, and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Good news: pay cabler Starz has renewed comedy series Party Down , from creators Rob Thomas, John Enbom, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd, for a second season. The entire cast of Season One of Party Down will return for a sophomore season, though Jane Lynch's commitment to FOX's upcoming series Glee could create complications for her return and the actress is the only cast member who isn't already signed on for a second season. Party Down will return to production this summer for a Season Two launch date sometime in 2010. Also returning: directors Fred Savage and Bryan Gordon, who will direct episodes of the series, along with Ken Marino, who is locked to helm an installment as well. ( E! Online's Watch with Kristin , Variety ) FOX has reportedly ordered pilots Human Target , from Warner Bros Television, and comedy Sons of Tucson , from 20th Century Fox Television, to series. FOX had no comment on the news, which i

Channel Surfing: NBC Renews "Southland," Zachary Levi Teases Season Three of "Chuck," Rob Thomas Talks "Party Down," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. All eyes are on NBC today as the net plans to unveil to advertisers a slew of new and returning series at its "infront" in New York. Loads of rumors are flying around about the fate of several projects so please take any reports with a grain of salt until they are officially confirmed by NBC. NBC has renewed freshman drama Southland for a second season of thirteen episodes, despite the fact that the series came in third place on Thursday. However, execs are said to be high on the John Wells-executive produced drama from Warner Bros. Television and believe it has the potential to become a hit... though it will have to do so in a timeslot other than the 10 pm hour as NBC will be handing over that timeslot to Jay Leno this fall. Freshman comedy Parks and Recreation is also expected to get a second season order today as well, though it's thought that NBC may delay decisions on such series as Chuck and such pilots as Davi

Televisionary Exclusive: Writer/Executive Producer John Enbom Talks "Party Down"

If you're at all like me, chances are you've fallen under the quirky and hilarious charms of Starz's biting comedy Party Down , created by Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, John Enbom, and Paul Rudd. Party Down , which stars Ken Marino, Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Ryan Hansen, Lizzy Caplan, and Martin Starr, follows the misadventures of the employees of a hapless catering team, each of whom dreams of a better life doing... anything but catering. I caught up with Party Down writer/executive producer John Enbom ( Veronica Mars ) to talk about the genesis of the series, why he believes viewers have latched onto this comedy as quickly as they have, the likelihood of a sophomore season, and whether we'll get to see executive producer Paul Rudd turn up in a guest role. Televisionary: Where did the idea for Party Down originate? How did you, Rob, Dan, and Paul come up with the concept? John Enbom: The cater-waiter idea was originally Rob [Thomas]'s and, since the rest of us had

Future Sailors: A Look at Comedies "The Mighty Boosh," "Party Down," and "Better Off Ted"

It's rare when a comedy series comes along and makes me fall under its spell. I'm typically pretty averse to the weak charms of most sitcoms and it takes quite a lot for me to invest my time in brand-new comedy series, given their relatively short shelf lives these days. So imagine my surprise when I fell head over heels in love with not just one but three comedy series over the last few weeks. All three air on very different networks, ranging from broadcast to cable to premium, but all three have managed to win me over with their loopy, goofy charms. I reviewed ABC's Better Off Ted a few weeks back, before it premiered, and reviewed the first few episodes of Party Down , airing on Starz, but I've been far too quiet about the strengths of both of these innovative series. Likewise, I'm currently obsessed with British import The Mighty Boosh , which launched its third season over on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block. Three very different series i

Channel Surfing: ABC Cuts Back "In the Motherhood" to Seven Eps, Alicia Witt Scores "The Mentalist," NBC Cancels "Lipstick Jungle," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. After airing just one episode, ABC has cut its episodic commitment for midseason comedy In the Motherhood from thirteen episodes to seven, just slightly more than half of its original order. The network had ordered the comedy, based on a web series, during the writers strike. ( Los Angeles Times ' Show Tracker ) Alicia Witt ( Law & Order: Criminal Intent ) will guest star in the season finale of CBS' The Mentalist , where she will play pianist Rosalind Harker, a woman who used to date serial killer Red John, the enigmatic serial killer who killed Jane's family. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) E! Online has confirmed that NBC has canceled drama series Lipstick Jungle, after all. "It was going to stay and we just were officially told it's finally not coming back," series star Brooke Shield told E! Online's Cristina Gibson. "It's very sad. I think a lot of people were really s

Channel Surfing: Kristin Bell to "Party Down" with Rob Thomas, Lindsay Duncan to Travel with the Doctor, "Project Runway" Wraps Season, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Just a few quick headlines to get through today on this rather quiet programming-news-related morning. Looking for one more reason to turn into Starz's upcoming comedy series Party Down , from co-creator Rob Thomas ( Veronica Mars ) ? Turns out that Veronica herself--Kristin Bell--will be appearing on the series, according to Kristin Dos Santos. "I'm about to guest star on Rob Thomas' new show, called Party Down ," Bell told Dos Santos. "It's on Starz...a lot of old Veronica Mars people are on it and some really cool comedians like Adam Scott." Starz has confirmed the casting coup saying, "Kristen Bell will be appearing in our new original comedy series, Party Down , premiering on Friday, March 20." Bell's episode, the season finale, is slated to air May 22nd and it's thought that Bell will play Veronica Moon, a rival caterer. ( E! Online's Watch with Kristin ) Rome 's

Are We Having Fun Yet?: An Advance Review of Rob Thomas' New Comedy Series "Party Down"

As a huge fan of Veronica Mars , I've been extremely curious to see what creator Rob Thomas would do with a pared-down comedy about a group of wannabe actors and writers working as party caterers in LA. Especially since said comedy, Party Down , which launches next month on pay cabler Starz, features more than a few Veronica Mars alums in starring or cameo roles. So I was ecstatic when I had the opportunity to catch an early look at Starz's Party Down , which stars Ken Marino ( Veronica Mars ), Adam Scott ( Tell Me You Love Me ), Lizzy Caplan ( Cloverfield ), Martin Starr ( Freaks & Geeks ), Jane Lynch ( Two and a Half Men ), and Ryan Hansen ( Veronica Mars ). No, you're not dreaming: Rob Thomas and fellow executive producer/writers John Enbom, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd may have assembled the single best comedy cast EVER. A quick recap of Party Down 's simple premise: Ken Marino's moronic team leader Ron Donald (a more genial version of Michael Scott, had