Here are the entertainment news items for this past week:
ABC Family Channel has pulled the repeats of Friday Night Lights from their schedule as of today (October 18) because “it wasn’t performing from a ratings standpoint.” The show’s final season premieres on DirecTV on October 28.
NBC has picked up both Chuck and Chase for the entire season and has ordered four more scripts for Undercovers.
ABC has trimmed the episode order for the TV series V from 13 episodes down to 10. The show will be back on January 4 at 9 PM.
Fox has ordered two more scripts for the FOX series Human Target, which will return with new episodes starting on November 17.
Not only has Hawaii Five-0 been given a full season order by CBS, but all the other new shows introduced by the network – Mike & Molly, The Defenders, Blue Bloods and $#*! My Dad Says – have also been given full season orders.
Actor Simon MacCorkindale passed away late last week at the age of 58. He was the star of the NBC series Manimal and also appeared in Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Hart to Hart and The Dukes of Hazzard.
Legendary actress Barbara Billingsley, best known as the picture-perfect matriarch June Cleaver, on Leave It To Beaver passed away this past weekend. She was 94.
Legendary actor and Happy Days patriarch Tom Bosley has passed away. The sitcom star was 83.
NOTE: Condolences are extended to their families, friends and fans. Moment of silence, please…
CBS is developing a drama series based on the best-selling novel, The Pawn, the first in Steven James’ eight book series. The story follows FBI agent Patrick Bowers as he uses geospatial investigative techniques to track high profile crimes.
The CW is developing its own musical and dancing drama (ala Glee). Titled Acting Out, the project is described as Glee meets Bad Santa and explores relationships of counselors and staff of a down-on-its-luck summer camp whose new owner is a young curmudgeon in the vein of Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa.
CSI show runner Carol Mendelsohn has sold a new crime drama to CBS. The project is currently untitled, but brings to the small screen a series of suspense novels from author Thomas Perry.The thrillers star protagonist Jane Whitefield, a half-white, half-Indian young woman who works as a one-person witness protection program, helping hide people who are in danger.
The CW is developing two supernatural-tinged projects involving a trio of female veterans of Joss Whedon’s “camp”: Marti Noxon, Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain and one other project. One of the shows is based on a book series from L.J. Smith, the author of The Vampire Diaries. Craft and Fain (both alums of Angel and Dollhouse) are adapting Smith’s three-book Secret Circle series for a one-hour drama about a California teen who moves to her mom’s hometown of New Salem and discovers that she is a witch. Meanwhile, Noxon, a well-known Buffy and Angel writer, is shepherding the CW drama project Chloe with her production partner Dawn Parouse (Prison Break). The potential series revolves around a young female con artist who dies and returns to earth as a Divine Covert Operator. Both Secret Circle and Chloe are just pilot scripts at this point, but there’s a good chance the CW will film at least one of them this spring. Andrew Miller, who has no apparent Whedon connection but did write for the web series Imaginary Bitches, is penning a pilot script and will also exec produce. In addition to its two current CW series, Alloy is also developing the music-themed pilot Confessions of a Backup Dancer for the network.
The CW has also handed out a script order to an untitled drama project starring Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), which marks the actress’ producing debut. The project – from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage – is based on an idea by Trachtenberg and would star the actress as a young criminology student with a gift for profiling and a dark past.
It looks like FOX is thinking about developing a potential spinoff series to Bones built around a character that would be introduced as a recurring on the series this season. Casting for the role is expected to begin shortly. If the powers that be can find an actor who can carry a new series, the new character, Walter Sherman, will debut in the December 6 episode of Bones.
Gerard Butler is teaming up with Bob Cochran (co-creator of 24) to produce Pinkerton, a short series showcasing fictional events surrounding the man responsible for founding the first detective agency in the United States, Scottish-born officer Allan Pinkerton. Starz has already drafted a pilot script for the 8-10 hour limited show run.
MADE FOR TV MOVIE NEWS
Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) and Marion Ross (Happy Days) will star in the Hallmark Channel made-for-TV movie called Randall Reunion Races, which is set to premiere in 2011. Here is a description of the movie: If you think the competitive world of fashion is tough, nothing is as intimidating as meeting the fiancé’s family for the first time. Budding designer Alicia Crosby (Kayla Ewell from The Vampire Diaries) must earn the affections of a new family and she must do so under the pressures of their annual extravaganza. The film also stars Thad Luckinbill and McKenna Jones.
Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) joins Kellie Martin (Life Goes ON and ER) and Simon Kassianides (Quantum of Solace in the Hallmark channel movie called Smooch that is slated to premiere around Valentine’s Day 2011. The movie is an updated loosely-based, live-action homage to the Brothers Grimm short story — The Frog King. Shipka plays Zoe, a young girl obsessed by fairytales and happy endings who is searching for the perfect man for her widowed mother Gwen (Martin). It is Zoe’s belief in a frog’s potential charm that compels her to abduct one from her middle school science class, carrying him to the San Francisco Bay in a water-filled lunchbox where she intends to set him free. Having skipped class, Zoe is surprised to see another schoolmate at the Wharf, and in her anxiety, accidentally drops her green friend overboard. As she surveys the scene, a male monarch (Kassianides) in full royal regalia emerges from a dinghy in which he fell after a wild night of partying. The dazed prince looks more like Humpty Dumpty, sporting a giant goose egg on his head, courtesy of his fall from the pier. Though the prince has little memory of who he is or how he got into such a predicament, he is in luck. Zoe knows precisely how this fairytale ends.
Bill Pullman and Matthew Modine have joined the cast of the HBO movie Too Big to Fail as two big financial CEOs. The movie dissects the 2008 financial crisis and the power brokers who brought the world’s economy to the verge of collapse. Pullman will play Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase. Modine will play John Thain, former chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch who sold the company to Bank of America to avoid following Lehman Bros. into bankruptcy. They join a star-studded ensemble cast led by William Hurt, James Woods and Paul Giamatti.
BOX OFFICE NEWS
Gabourey Sidibe (Precious and The Big C) and Michael Peña (World Trade Center) have both joined the cast of the box office movie Tower Heist, playing employees in a luxury apartment building who attempt to rob the owner of the penthouse, a fraudulent banker (Alan Alda) under house arrest for swindling his employees.Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy also star. NOTE: Tea Leoni and newcomer Nina Arianda have also joined the cast.
Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan and Hung) has joined the cast of the romantic comedy Wanderlust, which stars Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston as a married couple who try escaping modern society. Hahn will play a member of a commune Rudd and Aniston visit after moving from New York. MalinAkerman, Lauren Ambrose and Alan Alda co-star.
Meg Ryan, Curtis Jackson, John Lithgow, Kevin Zegers, Anthony Anderson, Esai Morales, Joe Anderson and Kat Dennings have all joined the drama box office movie Lives of the Saints, an ensemble tale following several intertwining stories of a group of Los Angeles residents seeking redemption for past mistakes. They soon learn to find forgiveness from unlikely places.
Dakota Fanning is in negotiations to join the supernatural thriller If I Star based on the Gayle Forman’s young adult novel. The story revolves around a gifted musician (Fanning), and her boyfriend, a rising indie rock star.Mulling the choice between her art and her relationship, things get tougher when a fatal car accident leaves her stuck considering the choice between life and death.
Universal has picked up rights to the young adult fantasy series Sweep by Cate Tiernan, which spans 15 books and follows a 16-year-old girl who discovers she’s a blood witch, descended from an ancient and powerful line. Ultimately, she must decide whether to use her powers for good or evil.
British actor Martin Freeman will be playing Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s two-part Lord of the Rings prequel. The rest of the announced cast includes Richard Armitage, playing Thorin Oakenshield, head of the company of dwarves who are off to recapture his lost inheritance; Aidan Turner (Being Human) and Rob Kazinsky as Kili and Fili; Graham McTavish as Dwalin; John Callen as Oin; Stephen Hunter as Bombur; Mark Hadlow as Dori and Peter Hambleton as Gloin.
Mark Sheppard has been cast in the next season of Doctor Who, playing the role of Canton Everett Delaware III.
Australian actress Claire Van Der Boom (The Pacific)will play Rachel, Danny’s (Scott Caan) ex-wife and the mother of their daughter on Hawaii Five-0. She will appear in November.
Jason Lee will guest star in an upcoming episode of the FOX comedy Raising Hope, playing Smokey Daniels, a washed-up rock star who is hired as the lead act at “Grocery-Palooza,” a rock concert at the supermarket where Sabrina (Shannon Woodward) works. The episode will air as one-hour special on October 26.
David James Elliott (JAG) will guest star in CSI: NY, playing Russ Josephson, the ex-husband of Sela Ward’s new investigator, Jo Danville.
Cynthia Watros (Lost and House) will appear in Desperate Housewives, playing Bree’s (literally) crazy friend. Her character will be seen in the ninth episode when she accompanies Bree and new boytoy Keith (Brian Austin Green) on a double date. Rumor has it Watros’ escort for the evening is Keith’s pa, played by John Schneider.
Kyle Secor (Homicide: Life on The Street) will play the brother to Pete (Tim Daly) in an upcoming episode of Private Practice.
Actor Mido Hamada (24) has joined the new FOX drama Terra Nova, which is being produced by Steven Spielberg and headlined by Jason O’Mara. The show is about time-traveling humans from 2149 who travel to prehistoric Earth, where a new colony, Terra Nova, has been built. Hamada will play Guzman, a security head who serves as an advisor to Frank Taylor (Stephen Lang), the first settler of Terra Nova.
Actor Chris Klein (American Pie) will be showing up in an episode of The Good Guys, playing Jack’s (Colin Hanks) old partner, George. While not the brightest bulb, George has been using his charm and connections to climb the ranks of the Dallas Police Department. Jack, meanwhile, is stuck in property crimes.
Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future trilogy) will guest star in an episode of Fringe set for early next year, starring as Walter’s (John Noble) musical hero.
Six-time Grammy winner John Legend is lined up to appear in the season finale of Royal Pains, starring as himself. He will be the musical guest for an MS fundraiser. Royal Pains will be back on the USA Network starting on January 20.
Actress Amanda Detmer (What About Brian) has been added to the cast of the new USA Network pilot Necessary Roughness, starring Callie Thorne (Rescue Me) as a tough love-dispensing therapist who lands a choice gig with a pro football team. In the wake of her success there, she quickly becomes the go-to talk-to for other big-league athletes, musicians and high-profile figures. Detmer will play the best friend of Thorne’s character. Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Concetta Tomei (Providence) co-stars.
Omari Hardwick (Dark Blue) will guest star on an upcoming episode of the NBC series Chase as Chris Novak, a hard luck criminal facing prison who escapes prison to exact revenge on those who betrayed him. While being hunted by Annie Frost (Kelli Giddish) and her team of U.S. Marshals, Novak cuts “a swath of terror through downtown Houston.”
Actor Daniel Faraday (Lost) will join the FX series Justified in a recurring role as the new nemesis to Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant). He will play a high school rival of Raylan’s, Dickie Bennett, who is the smartest of three brothers whose weed-trafficking family has long been at war with the Givens clan.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
With the fall season fully upon us, there is a lot of programming for which to keep track. The list below covers most of what you can expect this coming weekend and next week:
Saturday, October 23:
Chase on NBC at 8 PM (reair)
Doctor Who on BBC America at 8, 9 and 10 PM (reairs)
Growing the Big One movie on Hallmark at 9 PM (Debut)
The Big C on Showtime at 8 PM (reair)
Weeds on Showtime at 8:30 PM (reair)
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf movie on Nickelodeon at 8 PM (Debut)
Sunday, October 24:
Desperate Housewives on ABC at 9 PM
Brothers &Sisters on ABC at 10 PM
CSI: Miami on CBS at 10 PM
Luther on BBC America at 7 PM
Boardwalk Empire on HBO at 9 PM
Dexter on Showtime at 9 PM
Weeds on Showtime at 10 PM (reair)
The Big C on Showtime at 10:30 PM (reair)
Masterpiece Mystery! Sherlock: A Study in Pink miniseries on PBS at 9 PM (Debut)
Growing the Big One movie on Hallmark at 9 PM (reair)
Secrets in the Walls movie on Lifetime Movie Network at 9 PM (reair)
Monday, October 25:
Hawaii Five-0 on CBS at 10 PM
Castle on ABC at 10:01 PM
90210 on The CW at 8 PM
Gossip Girl on The CW at 9 PM
Lie To Me on FOX at 9 PM
Chuck on NBC at 8 PM
The Event on NBC at 9 PM
Chase on NBC at 10 PM
Dexter on Showtime at 9 PM (reair)
Weeds on Showtime at 10 PM
The Big C on Showtime at 10:30 PM
Boardwalk Empire on HBO2 at 8 PM (reair)
In Treatment on HBO at 9 and 9:30 PM (Return)
Tuesday, October 26:
NCIS on CBS at 8 PM
NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS at 9 PM
The Good Wife on CBS at 10 PM
No Ordinary Family on ABC at 8 PM
Detroit 1-8-7 on ABC at 10 PM
Glee on FOX at 8 PM
Parenthood on NBC at 10 PM
Melissa & Joey on ABC Family Channel at 8 PM
Tower Prep on Cartoon Network at 8 PM
Sons of Anarchy on FX at 10 PM
Stargate Universe on Syfy at 9 PM (New)
Caprica on Syfy at 10 PM
Weeds on Showtime at 9 PM (reair)
The Big C on Showtime at 9:30 PM (reair)
Dexter on Showtime at 10 PM (reair)
In Treatment on HBO at 8 and 8:30 PM (reairs)
In Treatment on HBO at 9 and 9:30 PM (New)
Wednesday, October 27:
Criminal Minds on CBS at 9 PM
The Defenders on CBS at 10 PM
The Whole Truth on ABC at 10 PM
Hellcats on The CW at 9 PM
Undercovers on NBC at 8 PM
Law & Order: Los Angeles on NBC at 10 PM
Terriers on FX at 10 PM
Friday Night Lights on DirecTV at 9 PM
Law & Order: UK on BBC America at 8 PM (reair)
Boardwalk Empire on HBO at 8, 9 and 10 PM (reairs)
In Treatment on HBO Signature at 9, 9:30, 10 and 10:30 PM (reairs)
Dexter on Showtime2 at 8 PM (reair)
The Big C on Showtime2 at 9 PM (reair)
Weeds on Showtime2 at 9:30 PM (reair)
Thursday, October 28:
CSI on CBS at 9 PM
The Mentalist on CBS at 10 PM
Grey’s Anatomy on ABC at 9 PM
Private Practice on ABC at 10:01 PM
The Vampire Diaries on the CW at 8 PM
Nikita on the CW at 9 PM
Boardwalk Empire on HB02 at 10 PM (reair)
Weeds on Showtime2 at 9 PM (reair)
The Big C on Showtime2 at 9:30 PM (reair)
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam on Disney at 8 PM (reair)
Scooby-Doo Curse of the Lake Monster movie on Cartoon Network at 8 PM (reair)
Friday, October 29:
Medium on CBS at 8 PM
CSI: NY on CBS at 9 PM
Blue Bloods on CBS at 10 PM
Smallville on the CW at 8 PM
Supernatural on the CW at 9 PM
The Good Guys on FOX at 9 PM
Law & Order: UK on BBC America at 9 and 10 PM (reairs)
Sanctuary on Syfy at 10 PM
Gigantic on Teen Nick at 9:30 PM
Boardwalk Empire on HBO Signature at 9 PM (reair)
Weeds on Showtime at 8 PM (reair)
The Big C on Showtime at 8:30 PM (reair)
Dexter on Showtime2 at 9 PM (reair)
Growing the Big One movie on Hallmark at 9 PM (reair)
NOTE: Please check your local listings for the correct air dates and times for all of the above.
Have a great weekend!