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Ridealong: An Advance Review of Season Two of TNT's "Southland"

While NBC tonight presents its latest drama Parenthood (you can read my advance review here ), TNT is set to go head-to-head with the Peacock by launching Season Two of Southland tonight in the same timeslot. Given that NBC axed Southland last year after committing to a second season of the series, it will be very interesting to see how the Ann Biderman-created cop drama does on cable and up against the Peacock's latest series offering... and I am sure that NBC's executives will also be looking at the numbers to see whether they made the right or wrong decision to cut Southland from its schedule. Personally, I think NBC made its decision based on fear and reacting to the fact that Southland struggled after launching with boffo numbers... and the fact that the series, executive produced by John Wells, was a sprawling cop drama where the good guys don't always win and some of them would appear to be just as messed up inside as the criminals they're chasing. I give

Channel Surfing: Grace Park Heads to "Hawaii Five-O," James Callis Has "FlashForward," Dermot Mulroney Lands "Rockford Files," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Former Battlestar Galactica star Grace Park--most recently seen opposite Benjamin Bratt in A&E drama The Cleaner --is the latest to come aboard CBS' remake of cop drama series Hawaii Five-O , starring Alex O'Loughlin and Daniel Dae Kim. Park will play Kona Kalakaua, who is the niece of Hawaii State Police detective Chin Ho Kelly (Kim) and is described as " beautiful and smart champion surfer who is about to graduate from the police academy when McGarrett (O'Loughlin) recruits her to join his team." Meanwhile, Park's former Cylon co-star Tricia Helfer has joined the cast of TNT's Dark Blue, which returns later this year for its second season, as a series regular. ( Hollywood Reporter ) SCIFI Wire is reporting that James Callis ( Battlestar Galactica ) has signed on for a multiple-episode story arc on ABC's FlashForward , where he will play a mysterious character whom producers are keeping under

Channel Surfing: "Lost" Series Finale Date Revealed, FOX Has Had "Conversations" with Conan, "Doctor Who," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Lost showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse appeared on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and announced that the series will wrap its run on Sunday, May 23rd. "The reason I think that anybody even cares about Lost is that we announced an end date three years ago," said Cuse. "We are eternally grateful to [Steve McPherson] to end the show on our own terms and I think that made all the difference in terms of Lost being the show that it still is." ( Hulu ) Entertainment Weekly 's Jeff Jensen has an interview with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse about some of the more specific plot points from last night's season premiere of Lost . As it's not yet aired everywhere yet (UK gets it on Friday), I won't quote anything from the piece but urge you instead to check it out. ( Entertainment Weekly 's PopWatch ) FOX's Rupert Murdoch has acknowledged that it has had "conversations&

Channel Surfing: Idina Menzel to Tackle "Glee", Zach Levi Talks "Chuck," ABC Scores Date with "Conveyor Belt of Love," and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. Former Wicked star Idina Menzel is in advanced talks to join the cast of FOX's Glee in a recurring role when the series returns in March with its back nine episodes. Menzel, who will play the coach for the glee club's main rivals, Vocal Adrenaline, could potentially appear in all nine remaining installments this season. [Editor: personally, given the strong resemblance between Menzel and Lea Michele, I figured producers would get her to play Rachel's biological mother. Unless...] Menzel will also be joined by Spring Awakening 's Jonathan Groff who, as previously reported, joins Glee in a multiple-episode story arc and is slated to appear in five or six episodes this spring. ( Hollywood Reporter , Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) Meanwhile, E! Online's Megan Masters has some details about what we should expect from Glee 's back nine episodes. "I don't know if Glee starts back after a

Channel Surfing: FX Renews "Sons of Anarchy," BBC Renews "Merlin," BBC America Sets "Doctor Who" Special, "True Blood" Lures Two, and More

Welcome to your Thursday morning television briefing. On the heels of Tuesday night's second season finale, FX has ordered a third season of Kurt Sutter's biker drama Sons of Anarchy , with thirteen episodes on order for September 2010. Additionally, the cabler has signed a two-year deal with Sutter that will keep him on board Sons of Anarchy as the showrunner/executive producer. "This has been a wonderful ride and we're just getting started," said Sutter in a statement. "I'm really proud of the work by our incredible cast and crew. The response this season from the fans and critics has been terrific and I can't wait to get back to the writer's room and start on season three." (via press release) BBC One has commissioned a third season of Shine Television-produced medieval drama Merlin . "With its mix of magic, adventure and humour Merlin is perfect Saturday-evening family television, and we are thrilled that Shine Television will be

Channel Surfing: CBS Dams "Three Rivers," Alec Baldwin to Quit Acting in 2012, "Torchwood," Two Sink Teeth into "True Blood," and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Sorry Alex O'Loughlin fans: CBS has pulled Three Rivers from its schedule, effective immediately. Beginning this Sunday, Cold Case will move to 9 pm ET/PT with the 10 pm timeslot to be filled by a revolving door of drama repeats. According to the Hollywood Reporter 's James Hibberd, Three Rivers "is still in production and the network will complete all 13 episodes of the show's initial order." Whether or not CBS will burn off the remaining installments remains to be seen but it's clear that there's no future for the low-rated medical drama. ( Hollywood Reporter 's The Live Feed ) Could 2012 bring about the end of the world? Or at least the end of Jack Donaghy? Alec Baldwin has revealed his intentions to quit acting when his contract with NBC's 30 Rock expires in 2012 in an interview with Men's Journal . "I don't have any interest in acting anymore," said Baldwin. "I

Channel Surfing: Jason Lee Mired in "Delta Blues," Fred Willard Drops By "Modern Family," Gretchen Mol Strolls on HBO's "Boardwalk," and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. Jason Lee ( My Name is Earl ) has been cast as the lead in TNT drama pilot Delta Blues , where he will play Dwight Hendricks, a Memphis cop who moonlights as an Elvis impersonator and lives with his mother. Pilot, from Warner Horizon and Smokehouse Pictures, is written by Liz M. Garcia and Joshua Harto and will be directed by Clark Johnson, who will executive produce with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. ( Hollywood Reporter ) Proving that the series' casting directors have inherited the comedy casting mantle from Arrested Development and 30 Rock , Fred Willard ( Back to You ) has signed on to guest star on an upcoming episode of ABC's Modern Family , where he will play the father to Ty Burrell's Phil. [Editor: look for Willard to turn up, oh, before the end of the calendar year.] ( Fancast ) Gretchen Mol ( Life on Mars ) has joined the cast of HBO's upcoming period drama Boardwalk Empire in the recurring role

Channel Surfing: David Tennant Crowned "Rex" for NBC, Naveen Andrews to Guest on "Law & Order: SVU," Ramsay Brings "Masterchef" to US, and More

Welcome to your Tuesday morning television briefing. Looks like the TARDIS has deposited the Doctor on our shores. Outbound Doctor Who star David Tennant has signed on to topline NBC's legal dramedy pilot Rex Is Not Your Lawyer . Tennant, who departs from Doctor Who at the end of the year, will play the titular character, Rex Alexander, a Chicago lawyer who suffers from crippling panic attacks who begins coaching his clients on how to represent themselves in court. Project, from Universal Media Studios and BermanBraun, is written by Andrew Leeds and David Lampson and will be directed by David Semel, who executive produces with Barry Schindel, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun, and Gene Stein. ( Hollywood Reporter ) Lost 's Naveen Andrews will guest star on an upcoming episode of NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit . Details on his role are being kept firmly under wraps, though it's known that his episode is slated to air in January. ( TVGuide.com ) FOX has ordered ro

Channel Surfing: Elizabeth Mitchell Talks "Lost" Fate, Itzin to Return to "24," TNT Locks Up "Southland," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. Entertainment Weekly 's PopWatch has an interview with Elizabeth Mitchell and Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse about the ultimate fate of Mitchell's Juliet, last seen detonating the hydrogen bomb that may or may not have caused The Incident at the end of Season Five. While Mitchell is set to reprise her role as Juliet Burke on Season Six of Lost , it's been confirmed that Juliet is definitely dead. Still, there are still some mysteries about the good (or not so good?) doctor that still need to be resolved. "There’s still something very significant that we have not yet learned about the character," according to Cuse. ( Entertainment Weekly 's PopWatch ) Gregory Itzin ( The Mentalist ) will return to FOX's 24 in a multiple-episode story arc that finds him reprising his role as villainous former President Charles Logan, who was last seen being stabbed by his wife Martha (Jean Smar

Channel Surfing: ABC Reveals First "Lost" Promo, BBC One Sets Airdate for "Doctor Who: Waters of Mars," Easton Ellis Spies "Follower" at HBO, and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. ABC has released the first promo for Season Six of Lost , the series' final season. But, be warned, the fifteen-second clip doesn't contain any new footage, which many believe is proof positive that the network will be going out of their way to avoid revealing just what happened after Juliet detonated the hydrogen bomb at the end of last season. There's still no premiere date for Season Six of Lost , but it's expected to debut roughly around the end of January. ( Hollywood Reporter 's The Live Feed ) BBC One has announced today that it will air the latest David Tennant Doctor Who special, Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars , on Sunday, November 15th at 7 pm GMT. No word yet on when BBC America will schedule the special, which will feature Tennant in one of his last appearances before his final two-part story at the end of the year. As soon as BBC America announces their scheduling plans, I'll let you know. No

Channel Surfing: TNT Close to Deal for "Southland," Bravo Hungry for "Top Chef: Just Desserts," "24," NBC Picks Up Three Series, and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing. The Hollywood Reporter 's Nellie Andreeva is reporting that TNT is very close to a deal with Warner Bros. Television to acquire cancelled NBC cop drama Southland . The deal, which is now said to appear "likely," would save the series--which produced six new installments for a second season at NBC--from cancellation, after NBC axed the series before launching the series' second season. ( Hollywood Reporter ) Bravo has ordered a spinoff of its culinary competition series Top Chef entitled Top Chef: Just Desserts , which will air next year and focus on a showdown between pastry chefs in a weekly competition. Top Chef producers Magical Elves are on board for the spinoff, which will begin casting this week. No host or judges have been determined yet for the series, which will air in between cycles of Top Chef and Top Chef Masters . ( Variety ) The Wrap's Josef Adalian takes a look at what appear to be the first