Here are the entertainment news items for this past week:
The CW has given full-season orders to rookie dramas Nikita and Hellcats, as well as long-running soap One Tree Hill. Unfortunately, missing from the pickup list is Life Unexpected. The sophomore drama did, however, receive an additional script order.
Jane Badler has extended her visit to the ABC series V for the entire 10-episode season, which premieres January 4 on ABC.
ABC has canceled the low-performing new series The Whole Truth; however, they are going to air all 13 episodes.
Melissa Rauch has been moved up to series regular on The Big Bang Theory. She plays Howard’s main squeeze Bernadette. She will not appear in every episode, however.
Balthazar Getty will be back on Brother & Sisters to celebrate the show’s 100th episode. He is also expected to have a new girlfriend in toe, but nothing has been set in stone yet for this milestone episode, which is slated to air sometime in January.
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe) will make a return visit to Smallville again in the role of Black Canary.
The death knell just may be ringing for the CBS (sans NBC) series Medium, which had its episode order reduced from 22 to 13 episodes for this TV season. The decrease is likely tied to the show’s decline in viewership (which was at 8.24 million viewers last year, but at 6.16 million this year). A renewal of the show is not looking likely.
Over at ABC, though, they seem very smitten with their upcoming midseason drama Off the Map, as they have ordered six more episodes, bringing the total to 13 episodes. The series follows Tommy (Zach Gilford, Friday Night Lights), Lily (Caroline Dhavernas, Wonderfalls) and Mina (Mamie Gummer, Meryl Streep’s daughter) at a medical clinic in South America. The cast also includes Jason George, Martin Henderson, Rachelle Lefevre and Valerie Cruz. Off the Map is slated to debut in early 2011.
HBO announced earlier today that their series Big Love will end after this upcoming fifth season.
Starz has booked Spartacus: Gods of the Arena for January 21 at 10 PM. This is the six-episode prequel to last year’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Here are the details of this “prequel” (of sorts):
Before Spartacus struck down his first opponent in the arena, there were many gladiators who passed through the gates onto the sand. This six-part mini-series follows the story of the original Champion of the House of Batiatus: Gannicus (Dustin Clare) in a more ruthless time before Spartacus’ arrival where honor was just finding its way into the arena. The new series adds to the cast Jaime Murray as Capua’s sexy social climber Gaia and Marisa Ramirez as Melitta, a beautiful slave who must face the ultimate decision of the heart. Jeffrey Thomas plays Batiatus’sfather Titus, the traditional and cautious Lanista, head of the Ludus. They join returning cast members John Hannah (Quintus Batiatus), Lucy Lawless (Lucretia), Peter Mensah (Oenomaus, before he becomes Doctore, the gladiator trainer) and Manu Bennett (Crixus).
Original Hawaii Five-0 actor James MacArthur passed away this morning, at the age of 72. No cause of death was given. Rest in Peace, Mr. MacArthur. Condolences are extended to his family, friends and family. Moment of silence, please…
NBC has picked up two more projects for development: One is Tommy’s Little Girl (from Executive Producer Jamie Foxx0, which centers on a young girl raised in a Mafia family who is hidden away in an orphanage after her family is murdered by a rival crime boss. Now an attorney, she has a double life as an assassin avenging her family’s murder as she attempts to locate her last living relative. Second is Life Is Good, which is about a husband and father of two young girls learns he has a 19-year-old mixed-race son that throws his mellow suburban family world into chaos.
Looks like NBC is developing a new pilot called The Crew, a testosterone-heavy underdog family drama set in the world of NASCAR. The ensemble series is to revolvearound the family of distinctly different brothers on a NASCAR racing team who, as individuals have their own lives and dreams, opportunities and problems but as a team share a singular goal – to be the best.
The new FOX project Locke & Key has been greenlit as a pilot. The project comes from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the men behind Star Trek and Hawaii Five-0) and is based on the graphic novel, which tells the story of Nina Locke and her three children, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, who survive an unspeakable horror and attempt to rebuild their lives at Keyhouse, their family home in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. It is a mysterious New England mansion, with fantastic and transformative keys hidden inside its walls that are also being sought by a hate-filled and relentless creature with ties to the Locke family’s past who will stop at nothing to accomplish his sinister goals. The series is being eyed for a potential summer run.
HBO has landed a character-driven drama from Clyde Phillips (the man behind Dexter for 4 years), which is based on the Israeli series The Naked Truth. This version will be set in a major East Coast metropolitan precinct and follows the officers investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl from a prominent family in the pressure cooker atmosphere of an explosive high-profile case that has implications not just for the family of the victim, but for the cops themselves and the political infrastructure of the city.
Looks like Charlie’s Angels is heading back to the small screen, courtesy of Smallville creators Miles Millar and Al Gough, who will executive produce alongside Drew Barrymore, Nancy Juvonen, and Leonard Goldberg. ABC has given the pilot the official greenlight with production slated to begin roughly in mid-January. Here is a casting breakdown of the three angels:First there is Kate Prince, the team’s gorgeous African-American Angel, a former cop. Kate is an incredible athlete and possesses a razor-sharp intellect. Although the most serious of our three Angels, she also knows how to let her hair down and have a great time. Kate is an ex-cop, a master of martial arts and a strict vegetarian.Next is Abby Sampson, the youngest of the Angels (and likely the blondest) whose street skills are at odds with her upbringing. Her beauty has always turned heads, but it’s her quick wit and quirky sense of humor that makes her stand out. She grew up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and is the daughter of a notorious Wall Street crook a la Bernie Madoff. She is an expert thief, con artist and is trained in the deadly art of Krav Maga.Lastly, there is Marisa Valdez, the exotic Latina beauty with a buff physique and a knowledge of weaponry. She’s an orphan, an immigrant and a former U.S. Marine. She is a weapons expert and is trained in all forms of hand-to-hand combat. Marisa has a no-nonsense attitude, is a lay Station addict and self-confessed neat freak.No word on breakdowns for Bosley or the mysterious Charlie–always heard and never seen–himself.
Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) has signed up to play the lead role in TNT’s new dramatic pilot Perception, which is the working title. The series centers on Dr. Geoffrey Pierce, an eccentric neuroscientist who uses his unique outlook to help the federal government solve complex cases.With an intimate knowledge of human behavior and a masterful understanding of the mind, this quirky, crime-solving professor pulls lessons from an odd and imaginative view of the world.
Mehcad Brooks (True Blood and the short-lived My Generation) will co-star in the new USA Network pilot Necessary Roughness, which centers on tough, sexy Long Island divorcee Danielle Santino (Callie Thorne), who, to make ends meet, becomes the therapist for a professional football team and quickly becomes sought after by other athletes, musicians, politicians and those living in the spotlight. Brooks will play one of her clients: a star wide receiver for the Hawks who has been unable to hold onto the ball recently while regularly getting into trouble with the law.
Actors Marisa Ramirez, Brandon Quinn and Chris Johnson have joined the Lifetime pilot Against the Wall, which is a family drama set in Chicago following policewoman Abby Kowalski (Rachael Carpani), who causes a rift with her three cop brothers when she decides to join the department’s Internal Affairs division. Ramirez will play Abby’s new partner at Internal Affairs. Quinn will play Abby’s younger brother Richie, a Chicago Patrol Officer. Johnson will play Abby’s longtime friend, a lawyer.
ONLINE SERIES NEWS
The BBC has commissioned the online series Becoming Human to be written by four of the writers from the series Being Human and created by Toby Whithouse (the creator of Being Human). The online series will follow events that unfold on Being Human, with a vampire played by Craig Roberts going to college to get himself back on the straight and narrow. There he meets a werewolf played by Leila Mimmack and they strike up a friendship with a third character played by Josh Brown. Then the three of them become embroiled in a mystery that will provide the storyline for the series. The really unique part of the concept is that the show’s production company, Touchpaper Wales, will work with the team behind the Being Human blog and website to create an interactive experience beyond watching the show online.
MADE FOR TV MOVIE NEWS
Here are details on two upcoming November movies to air on Syfy:
The Lost Future, which stars Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings), debuts November 13, at 9PM and is set in an exotic and dangerous future world where an isolated tribe battles for survival in a landscape overrun by mutated beasts carrying a mysterious and deadly illness. Annabelle Wallis (The Tudors) co-stars.
Triassic Attack, which is directed by Colin Ferguson (Eureka), debuts November 27, at 9PM and is about the Native American owner of a kitschy roadside museum who accidentally brings to life three dinosaur fossils. Now really annoyed, the giant dinos wreak havoc on the small town and the local university. The film stars Raoul Trujillo (True Blood, Tin Man) and Steven Brand (Scorpion King).
Sara Rue (Eastwick, Popular and Less Than Perfect) will be starring in an ABC Family Channel movie with Barry Watson (7th Heaven and What About Brian), but no other details are available at this time.
NBC has also picked up a new comedy series called The Happiness Project, based on the best-selling memoir by Gretchen Rubin that will star Kristin Davis (Sex and the City). The memoir chronicled the New York-based writer’s account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier. It also spawned a popular blog whose fans included Davis, which is how the actress got involved in the TV project.
BOX OFFICE NEWS
Kristin Davis (Sex and the City) will co-star opposite Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, in which she will play love interest to Johnson and mother to Josh Hutcherson.
Sandra Bullock has signed on for the female lead in the space action thriller Gravity, while Robert Downey, Jr. may have to drop out because of scheduling conflicts. If Downey stays, he and Bullock will play astronauts from an orbital space station who are out in a shuttle conducting repairs when an exploded asteroid wipes out the station.
Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck and Judd Hirsch have joined the ever-growing cast of the box office movie Tower Heist, which follows a group of 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. The cast already includes Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Tea Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe and Michael Pena star.Broderick will play a successful Wall Street-type who loses his job due to the banker’s actions and ends up joining the gang’s planned heist. Affleck will play a straight arrow who despite being a friend of Stiller’s character, disagrees with the heist and wants to turn him in. There are no details on the part for which Hirsch will play.
Looks like Ryan Gosling will star in the political drama based on the Broadway play Farragut North by Beau Willimon. The film is to be called The Ides of March and follows a young, idealistic press spokesman (Gosling) who works for an inspiring, though unorthodox, presidential candidate (George Clooney).During the campaign, his career is done in by more seasoned politicos who thrive on poisonous partisan politics, dirty tricks and back-stabbing. Among the co-stars are Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.
Legendary actress Angela Lansbury has joined the cast of the family comedy film Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which is an adaptation of the beloved 1938 children’s book by Richard and Florence Atwater. Jim Carrey plays a high-powered, New York business man named Popper who suddenly inherits six penguins. Taking care of the animals is difficult and he encounters many hurdles, but he soon learns the value of family and friendship both human and animal. Lansbury will play the owner of a local tavern that Mr. Popper is trying to buy. Carla Gugino, Ophelia Lovibond, James Tupper, Clark Gregg and Philip Baker Hall also star.
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) has been cast to play serial killer Charles Manson in an upcoming film titled The Family, which will center on Manson and the murders he and his followers committed.
Lea Thompson (Back to the Future trilogy) and Constance Marie (the George Lopez comedy) have been cast in the ABC Family Channel pilot Switched At Birth, which is about two teen girls who were switched at birth. The ladies will play the mothers of the teen girls in question.
Keith Carradine (recently seen on Dexter) will guest star in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
James Marsden (X-Men and Enchanted) will appear on Modern Family, playing a neighbor of Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), who causes the boys’ temperatures to rise every time he whips off his shirt.
Judith Light will be taking over for Blythe Danner on Nurse Jackie as one of the lesbian moms of Peter Facinelli’s character due to Danner being unavailable because of shooting a movie.
Robert Knepper (Prison Break and Heroes) will guest star in a two-episode arc on the upcoming drama Shameless on Showtime. He will play a goon who is chasing William Macy’s alcoholic partiarch character because of a scam they had going together.
Skyler Samuels (The Gates) has landed the lead in the ABC Family pilot Nine Lives, which is based on the Celia Thomson novels Nine Lives of Chloe King, which centers on Chloe King (Samuels) a teenager with heightened abilities (super speed, agility, hearing…claws) who discovers she’s being pursued by a mysterious figure.
First, there were some casting items from Twitter, including Annie Wersching (from 24) who is joining NCIS. And, Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse) will guest star in an episode of Hawaii Five-0. I don’t have any other details on either of these casting tidbits, though.
At the end of last week, it looked like Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse) or Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) may be landing a role in the Americanized version of Torchwood that will be coming to Starz this coming summer. Meanwhile Amber Stevens (Greek) is up for one of the new female characters in Torchwood.
D.L. Hughley, Gina Gershon and Michael McKeon will make guest appearances in the new TBS comedy Glory Daze. Hughley will play Coach Franklin, a man desperate to be a father, and McKean will play the quirky and passionate head of campus maintenance. Gershon plays a tough-as-nails military instructor determined to whip her students into fighting machines. The series is a 1980s-set college comedy that centers on four freshmen — Joel (Kelly Blatz), Eli (Matt Bush), Brian (Hartley Sawyer) and Jason (Drew Seeley) — as they try to navigate life on campus. The series also stars Tim Meadows as one of the guys’ professors. The series debuts on TBS on November 16 at 10 PM.
More cast members have been added to the cast of the upcoming time-traveling FOX drama Terra Nova. Landon Liboiron (DeGrassi: The Next Generation) will play Josh, the 17-year-old of Jim (Jason O’Mara) and Elisabeth (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Shelley Conn) Shannon who also finds a father figure in Frank Taylor (Stephen Lang from Avatar). Newcomer Naomi Scott will play his sister Maddy, a bright 15-year-old, while newcomer Alana Mansour has signed on as Zoe, the youngest member of the Shannon clan who is smuggled into the time-traveling portal that takes everyone to the Terra Nova settlement. Other cast members includeMido Hamada (24) and Allison Miller (Kings).
Laura Prepon (That 70’s Show) will appear on Castle (early next year) as Natalie Gray, the actress who has been cast as Nikki Heat in the movie version of Richard Castle’s (Nathan Fillion) book Heat Wave. The book is, of course, based on Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic).
Scott Foley (Felicity and The Unit) will appear in a multi-episode arc on Grey’s Anatomy, playing a patient named Henry who “stirs things up” with Kim Raver’s Teddy.
Vanessa Bell Calloway (Hawthorne) will appear in the upcoming Showtime series Shameless, which is about a far-from-stellar working class patriarch (William H. Macy) of an unconventional Chicago brood of six motley kids (headed by eldest sibling Emmy Rossum) who keep the home afloat while he’s out drinking and carousing. Calloway will play the vivacious mother of Veronica (Shanola Hampton), the best friend of Rossum’s character.
Joseph Lyle Taylor (Close to Home) will have a recurring role in the FX series Justified when it returns in February for its second season. He will play a cop whose family consists of pot farmers and is a brother to a new character on the show, played by Jeremy Davies.
Arnold Vosloo (24 and The Mummy movies) will be the “Big Bad” on this season’s Bones, playing an elite sniper named Jacob Ripkin Broadsky, who is accused of assassinating a pivotal recurring character. He is slated to appear in at least three episodes beginning in early 2011.
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 30:
The Big C on Showtime at 8 PM (reair)
Weeds on Showtime at 8:30 PM (reair)
In Treatment on HBO2 at 8, 8:30, 9 and 9:30 PM (reairs)
Red: Werewolf Hunter movie on Syfy at 9 PM (Debut)
Sunday, October 31:
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
The Walking Dead on AMC at 10 PM (Debut)
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: The Blind Banker miniseries on PBS at 9 PM
Monday, November 1:
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
Chuck on NBC at 8 PM
The Women of SNL Special on NBC at 9 PM (Two Hours)
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 (New)
Den Brother movie on Disney at 8 PM
Tuesday, November 2:
One Tree Hill on the CW at 8 PM
Life Unexpected on the CW at 9 PM
Unnatural History on Cartoon Network at 8 PM (reair)
Stargate Universe on Syfy at 9 PM (New)
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, November 3:
The Whole Truth on ABC at 10:01 PM
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: Special Victims Unit on NBC at 9 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 10 PM (reair)
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, November 4:
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
Bones on FOX at 8 PM
Fringe on FOX 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)
Friday, November 5:
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
The Walking Dead on AMC at 10 PM (reair)
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)
NOTE: Please check your local listings for the correct air dates and times for all of the above.
Have a great weekend!