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Channel Surfing: "Amazing Race" Teams Revealed, "Office" Manager Signs Deal, and More

Good morning and welcome to your morning television briefing. Universal Media Studios has signed The Office writer/producer Michael Schur to a hefty seven-figure overall deal, under which he will create, develop, and executive produce comedy series for the studio. The newly minted deal includes Schur's writing/producing services on the untitled comedy that he and Greg Daniels are developing for Amy Poehler; he'll serve as co-creator/executive producer on the pilot, set to shoot in January (after the birth of Poehler's baby in October), alongside Daniels. Four writers so far have been hired on the untitled Poehler comedy (which will also star Aziz Ansari), which seems to have neither a title nor an available concept. Schur, meanwhile, will continue to write occasionally on The Office and could appear on-screen again as Dwight's cousin Mose. ( Variety ) CBS has revealed its lineup of sixteen contestants for the thirteenth edition of reality series The Amazing Race , w

Easter Eggs and Cocktails: Three Sundays on "Mad Men"

I've rarely ever wanted to reach into my television set and slap a character as much as I did watching last night's episode of Mad Men ("Three Sundays"). While I understand the jealousy that is clearly seething under the surface, I felt that the actions of Anita (Audrey Wasilewski), Peggy's sister, were completely unforgivable and selfish. Is Peggy living in a deluded dream world where there don't appear to be consequences to her actions (namely having a child out of wedlock)? Sure, but that doesn't give Anita the right to rat her out to the new young priest, Father Gill (Colin Hanks) who seems to be taking a shine to Peggy... and may have been the only person who could have gotten her to rejoin the church, something that both Anita and her mother Katherine (Myra Turley) seem to want. Anita's betrayal of Peggy, couched as it was in the terms of the confession, was all the more calculated and cruel; she wanted to take something of value from Peggy and

Exclusive: "Top Model" Trans Contestant No Stranger to the Series

Much has been made of the decision by the producers of CW's America's Next Top Model to include a trans contestant among the mix of girls vying for the top prize on the next cycle of the reality competition series. The CW announced earlier this week that Isis, a 22-year-old former office assistant from Maryland, would be among the pack of wannabe models competing for that Cover Girl contract this fall. Isis, who was born as a male, would be the first trans contestant to make it on the series, though previously Claudia Charriez had made it to the semi-final rounds, though she was disqualified because of her status as a trans woman. Take a look at this clip of Claudia discussing her brush with Top Model on the first season of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency [via fourfour ]: Which brings us to today. It seems as though the producers have changed their tune from when Claudia auditioned originally for Top Model , given that they are now allowing Isis to compete in the

Channel Surfing: "Torchwood" Title Revealed, Fishburne in at "CSI," "Gavin & Stacey," and More

Good morning (on what appears to be a spectacularly grey day here in LA) and welcome to your early morning television briefing. Hungry for more Torchwood ? The official Torchwood magazine, published by Titan, has the details for the third season's story arc... or at least the title of the five-part story. Creator Russell T. Davies has revealed the title to be "Torchwood: Children Of Earth." The series' third outing is set to air over the course of one week on BBC1 in Spring 2009. "I usually give you all one or two tone words when we have a meeting like this," Davies told the production team during his tone meeting last month, "But if I were to give you two words this time, they would be 'Euros Lyn'. More than ever before, this series of Torchwood will be director-led, and it will look absolutely amazing." Euros Lyn directed such Doctor Who episodes as "The End Of The World," "The Girl In The Fireplace," and the two-p

Talk Back: BBC America's "Skins"

Given as enamored as I am of BBC America's latest series offering, Skins , I am curious to know what those of you who tuned in thought of the series' first two episodes, which aired back-to-back last night on BBC America. If you haven't read my original advance review of Skins ' first three episodes , click here to read about a series that I described as "absolutely gripping, funny, and emotionally resonant" and "filled to the rafters with quirky and complex characters, all of whom seem shockingly real." If you tuned in last night, what did you like best about Skins ? (Or conversely, what didn't you like?) Which characters were the best drawn and which ones were (for now, anyway) lacking in definition? And what did you think about both the premiere episode's cliffhanger (you know which one I mean) and the Cassie storyline? Talk back here. What's On Tonight 8 pm: The Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother (CBS); Summer Olympics (NBC)

Link Tank: TV Blog Coalition Roundup for Aug. 15-17

Televisionary is proud to be a member of the TV Blog Coalition. At the end of each week, we'll feature a roundup of content from our sister sites for your delectation. This week, I took a look at another British import, reviewing the first three episodes of BBC America's new drama Skins , launching this Sunday, offered a look at the CW's new promo for 90210 (offering a look at Brenda and Kelly together!), and reinstated an old feature at Televisionary, Channel Surfing, in which I break down each morning's television-related news and happenings . Elsewhere in the sophisticated TV-obsessed section of the blogosphere, members of the TV Blog Coalition were discussing the following items... With the news that the Emmys will have actors recite classic TV lines from the past 60 years, Buzz put out a call for your favorite TV quips. ( BuzzSugar ) This week, Sandie shared some news and spoilers about the new season of Smallville . ( Daemon's TV ) We wind down the week wit

From Across the Pond: BBC America's "Skins"

I was a little skeptical going into Skins . After all, it's a teen-centric series featuring real teens who actually look like they're the age group they're playing (spots and all) and, let's be honest, I don't really fit into their target demographic anymore. How wrong I was. Skins , which launches on Sunday on BBC America (after a breakout run on UK network Channel 4), was absolutely gripping, funny, and emotionally resonant, not to mention filled to the rafters with quirky and complex characters, all of whom seem shockingly real. I only meant to watch the first of the three episodes submitted by the network for review but found myself shaking with anticipation and ended up watching all three installments in one go. I'm extremely glad that I stuck around after the slightly shaking beginning which seemed to focus a little too much on popular Tony ( About a Boy 's Nicholas Hoult), whom I found to be a far less interesting character than the rest of his peer