Here are the entertainment news items for this past week:
On Monday, ABC Family has renewed Pretty Little Liars and The Secret Life of the American Teenager for new seasons. Meanwhile, ABC picked up Castle, Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy for new seasons.
The new HBO series Game of Thrones will debut on the cable network on April 17 (and run for a 10-episode season). The series, based on the best-selling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power. The cast includes Mark Addy, Sean Bean, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey.
Fox has renewed their new comedy Raising Hope for a second season. Meanwhile, The Good Guys and Running Wilde have officially been canceled by FOX.
Actress Patricia Wettig has made her final appearance on Brothers & Sisters, although an insider says the door is being left open for her character Holly Harper to possibly return.
The two-night series preview of the new FOX series Terra Nova will air on May 23 and 24 at 9 PM both nights. The series will officially debut this fall. The series is an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making, following an ordinary family embarking on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a daring experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149 the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped, overcrowded and over polluted. With no known way to reverse the damage to the planet, scientists discover a portal to prehistoric Earth. This doorway leads to an amazing world, one that allows for a last-ditch effort to save the human race…a second chance to rebuild civilization and get it right this time. The cast includes Jason O’Mara, Stephen Lang, Shelley Conn, Landon Liboiron, Naomi Scott and newcomer Alana Mansour.
The Big Bang Theory has been picked up for three more seasons by CBS.
Actor Skeet Ulrich and actresses Regina Hall and Megan Boone are leaving the new NBC drama Law & Order: Los Angeles, as part of a significant “creative overhaul,” but this behind-the-scenes drama is not expected to stop production, which is currently filming episode 12. The series received a full season pick-up in October.
Eddie Cibrian (Third Watch) will reprise his role of Ben Crowley on the NBC series Chase. He is expected to appear in the February 23 episode.
Actor Jason Ritter (currently a regular on the NBC series The Event) will reprise his role as love interest to Lauren Graham’s character on Parenthood for one episode later this season.
Repeats of Fringe will start airing on FOX on Saturday nights at 11 PM again, effective immediately.
The cable network Starz has greenlit a new series, Magic City, which centers around a hotel in the heart of sexy, exciting Miami at the dawn of the 1960s. The series is expected to air in 2012. Casting will begin soon.
ABC has given the green light to an eight-hour miniseries based on Wicked, but not the musical version but rather the Gregory Maquire best seller on which the Broadway musical was based upon.
Actor Ben Lawson (The Deep End and the Aussie series Neighbours) has landed one of the two lead roles in the new USA Network pilot Wild Card, which is a witty drama about people behaving badly in Las Vegas and the lawyers who solve their problems.The Australian actor plays Will Garrett, a successful Wall Street attorney who could be living the American Dream but instead feels trapped in life
Actor Nick Stahl has joined the cast of the FOX drama pilot called Locke & Key, which is now being considered for fall and is based on the Joe Hill comic, telling the story of Nina Locke (Miranda Otto) and her three children, Tyler, Kinsey (Sarah Bolger), and Bode who, after the brutal murder of Nina’s husband Rendell Locke, return to Keyhouse, his old family home in Massachusetts. There, they are pestered by an evil entity named DODGE that’s determined to hold the family hostage one way or another until it gets what it wants. Stahl will play Rendell’s younger brother Duncan Locke, an art teacher, who lives nearby and frequently visits Nina and the kids and who strangely has few memories of his time growing up in Keyhouse.
Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg are going to write the Syfy pilot-in-development Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), which is based on the classic British TV show. The pilot would be about Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), a detective who’s murdered while investigating a case.He returns as a ghost, visible only to his former partner, and helps him solve crimes from beyond the grave.
Looks like the Charlie’s Angels reboot has been given a green light by ABC. The story will be set in Miami and comes from Sony Pictures TV and Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films. Smallville writers/former executive producers Alfred Gough and Miles Miller wrote the script and will executive produce.
Another HBO movie Cinema Verite, which is to debut in April, tells the behind-the-scenes story of the groundbreaking documentary “An American Family,” which chronicled the lives of the Louds in the early 1970s and catapulted the Santa Barbara family to notoriety while creating a new television genre: the reality TV series. The cast includes Diane Lane, Tim Robbins, James Gandolfini, Patrick Fugit, Kathleen Quinlan, Lolita Davidovich, Shanna Collins and Thomas Dekker.
Laurence Fishburne will star in the HBO film Thurgood to air on the cable network on February 24 at 9 PM, as part of Black History Month. The one-man play stars Fishburne as Thurgood Marshall, the remarkable Civil Rights lawyer and Supreme Court Justice.
The made-for-TV movie Mildred Pierce will air as a five-part mini-series on HBO in March. The film stars Kate Winslet, Guy Pearce, James LeGros, Melissa Leo, Bryan F. O’Byrne and Evan Rachel Wood. Mare Winningham and Hope Davis co-star. The film is about a single mother during the Depression years with the world outside mirroring Mildred’s plight as the financial markets suddenly tumbled, impacting political and cultural sectors globally.
The HBO production Too Big Too Fail, based on the book by Andrew Ross Sorkin, will debut on the cable network in May. The film will take a look at the epochal Wall Street financial crisis of 2008 and explore the inner sanctum of the powerful men and women who decided the fate of the world’s economy in a matter of a few weeks. The cast includes William Hurt, Ed Asner, Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti, Topher Grace, Matthew Modine, Cynthia Nixon, Michael O’Keefe Bill Pullman, Tony Shalhoub, James Woods, Kathy Baker, Evan Handler, John Heard, Dan Hedaya and Joey Slotnick.
The Disney Channel movie called Lemonade Mouth (based on the book of the same name by Mark Peter Hughes) will debut on the cable network on March 25 at 8 PM. The movie focuses on an unlikely ensemble of five students – Olivia, Wen, Stella, Mohini and Charlie – who, after meeting in detention, gradually realize their shared musical connection and belief that it’s time for the students of Mesa High to stand up and be heard on things big and small. Ultimately, as they open up to each other and form friendships, they start a band — Lemonade Mouth –that soon resonates with students sidelined by the high school elite. However, not everyone in the school is ready to cheer them on, especially since the popular rock group Mudslide Crush is determined to maintain their headline status and win the coveted Rising Star music competition at Mesa High. The movie stars Bridgit Mendler, Adam Hicks, Hayley Kiyoko, Naomi Scott and newcomer Blake Michael. Co-stars include Tisha Campbell-Martin and Christopher McDonald. The soundtrack for this movie will be available on March 22.
Kiefer Sutherland will follow up his critically-beloved run on the FOX drama 24 with a web series that will appear on Hulu this March. The online series is called The Confession. It will include 10 five-to-seven-minute webisodes with Sutherland as a hitman who has a theological discussion with a priest (John Hurt) about why his victims deserved to die. Much of the story plays out in action-packed flashbacks. Hope is not all lost for that 24 movie, as Sutherland says a big-screen version is still in the works and, in fact, he hopes to begin production within a year.
BOX OFFICE NEWS
David Duchovny and Minnie Driver are set to appear in the indie comedy called Goats, which is an adaptation of the Mark Jude Poirier novel of the same name. The will be joined by Vera Farmiga, Keri Russell and Will Arnett in the story of a teen (Graham Phillips) who transfers to the East Coast prep school where his father made his mark as a student. Duchovny plays the makeshift father figure known as Goat Man whose life isn’t anything to swoon over, while Farmiga will play the teen’s mother. Meanwhile Arnett will play the mother’s boyfriend and Driver her best friend. Ty Burrellwill play the teen’s father and Russell will play his new wife.
Michelle Pfeiffer will co-star with Chris Pine (as his widowed mother) in the upcoming box office movie Welcome to People. The movie is about an estranged son who returns home for his father’s funeral and must sort through his dad’s secret life. Elizabeth Banks plays Pine’s alcoholic half-sister and Olivia Wilde has been cast as Pine’s girlfriend.
Charlize Theron is no longer attached to the biopic J. Edgar (which is set to star Leonardo Di Caprio) – as she has officially signed to the upcoming movie Snow White and the Huntsman. Taking her place could be Naomi Watts or Amy Adams, but nothing has been confirmed yet on the recasting. Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl) has joined the cast of this flick.
Actors Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis will reprise their Lord of the Rings roles in The Hobbit. This news follows the announcement that Elijah Wood will play Frodo Baggins in the upcoming J.R.R. Tolkien two-part adaptation. McKellan will again play Gandalf, while Serkis will portray Gollum, as both characters are vital to the tale of The Hobbit in which Gandalf recruits Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) to join a quest to reclaim a dragon’s treasure, and Gollum possesses a powerful ring that comes to play a pivotal role.
Actor Ron Livingston (Office Space) has joined the cast of two very different projects. First is the upcoming movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green (no details on this film yet) and the drama flick Ten Year, which follows a group of friends who reunite a decade after their high school graduation. Livingston will play the husband of Rosario Dawson’s character, who was Channing Tatum’s love interest back in school. Actor Max Minghella (The Social Network) has joined Ten Year, which also includes cast members Justin Long, Kate Mara, Anthony Mackie, Chris Pratt, Scott Porter, Jenna Dewan, Lynn Collins, Brian Geraghty and Oscar Isaac.
Actress Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and soon to be seen in the HBO series Game of Thrones) will be facing off against Karl Urban in the new adaptation of Judge Dredd, playing the villainous role of Madeline Madrigal (aka Ma-Ma), the leader of a gang who over run the Peach Tree City Block.
Actor John Michael Higgins will appear in the movie We Bought a Zoo that follows a man (Matt Damon and his family who move into a mansion that includes the 30-acre Dartmoor Wildlife Park, home to over 200 animals. He will play a zoo inspector.
Brendan Fraser and Kristen Scott Thomas will star in the film Seconds of Pleasure, but there are no specific details on the movie as yet.
Tina Fey will star in the film Admission, an adaptation of the Jean Hanff Korelitz novel of the same name, which follows an admissions officer at Princeton and her relationship with a prospective student who may not be Ivy League material.
John Hawkes and Molly Parker have signed on to star in the indie film The Playroom that follows suburban parents of four in 1975 where their volatile teenage daughter (Olivia Harris) acts as surrogate mother to the younger children, who have created a make-believe world in their attic hideaway while the parents act out a sordid story below.
The front runners for the female lead in the upcoming movie Incarceron (based on the novel of the same name), which is to star Twilight hunk Taylor Lautner include Blake Lively (Gossip Girl), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone and the upcoming X-Men First Class) and Emma Watson (the Harry Potter franchise). Lautner is also expected to appear in an as-yet untitled spy thriller described as “The Bourne Identity for the next generation.” Lautner will appear in the thriller called Abduction that is to be out in theatres on September 23.
Actress Frances McDormand is set to voice the villain in the new animated movie Madagascar 3, which finds Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith all reprising their roles as big-game animals who escaped a New York. In this chapter the animals reunite to try to find their way home by joining a traveling circus, with new characters to include an Italian sea lion, a Russian tiger and a Latina jaguar. McDormand will voice a calculating and goal-oriented animal control officer out to capture them.
Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan will star in the box office movie called Dibbuk Box where he will play a recently divorced father whose daughter’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic after she purchases an antique wooden box at a yard sale. He soon discovers that the box was built to contain a dislocated spirit — a dibbuk — that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host. The movie is expected to be out on October 28.
British director Peter Yates passed away over the weekend after a long illness. The four-time Oscar nominee was 81. He directed the movies Bullitt and Breaking Away (among others).
The remaining member of the Nelson family – famous for the long-running classic TV series Ozzie and Harriet – David Nelson – passed away on Monday at the age of 74 from a battle with colon cancer.
Actor John Dye, who played angel Andrew on Touched By An Angel for nine seasons, passed away on Monday from heart failure. He was only 47.
ME: Deepest condolences are extended to their families, friends and fans.
MOMENT OF SILENCE, PLEASE…
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes) will guest star in Castle as Eric Fallon, an FBI agent tasked with trying to track down and neutralize a threat that has the NYPD at full alert.
Actor Pedro Pascal (The Good Wife) is joining Brothers & Sisters in a potentially recurring role. He will play Zach, a homeless war vet who Justin (Dave Annable) takes under his wing.
Paola Turbay (Cane and The Closer) has signed on to True Blood for its fourth season.
Actress Ashley Johnson has joined the cast of the new AMC drama series The Killing as a recurring character. The series is a murder mystery that centers on Sarah (Mireille Enos), the lead homicide detective who investigates the murder of a young girl. Johnson will play the wife of suspect Bennet Ahmed (Branden Jay McLaren) who, sandbagged when Sarah (Enos) and Holder (Joel Kinnaman) show up at her apartment unannounced, tells a revealing story from Ahmed’s past. The series premieres on March 13.
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) will appear in the new mid-season FOX comedy Breaking In as a crafty peddler who figures into a potential romantic triangle with the top-shelf computer hackers played by Odette (Yustman) Annable (Brothers & Sisters) and Bret Harrison (V and Reaper). Rumors still abound about Michael returning to Smallville before the series concludes its final season this May, but nothing has been confirmed.
Actress Rachel Boston (American Dreams) will join the USA Network drama In Plain Sight, playing Detective Abigal Chaffee, a recurring love interest for Marshall (Fred Weller).
Actress Leven Rambin, who has a current role in CSI: Miami, will be appearing in One Tree Hill in a recurring role. She will play a young woman Brooke crosses paths with as she explores adoption options. Rambin will make her first appearance on the long-running CW series in the season’s 19th episode.
Actor Cheech Marin will make a multiple-episode run in the new ABC medical drama Off the Map as Papa, a village medicine man who has a great love-hate relationship with Tommy (Zach Gilford). Actress Elizabeth Peña will appear toward the end of the first season, as the mother of one of Lily’s (Caroline Dhavernas) ex-ex-ex-boyfriends. And, Ed Begley Jr. will turn up as a traveling dentist while British actor Jonathan Cake (Six Degrees) will play a guy who’s been in love with Zee (Valerie Cruz) for years and years. And, last but not least, TV vet Ralph Waite in an as-yet unrevealed role.
Actress Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) is joining Torchwood when it returns on its new network – Starz. She will appear in seven of the 10 episodes of the drama’s upcoming season, playing Jilly Kitzinger, a sweet-talking PR genius with a heart of stone. Torchwood will debut on Starz in July.
Actor John Goodman has joined the cast of Damages as the new villain for season 4, which will debut on its new home: DirecTV sometime this summer. He will play the CEO of a mysterious military contractor who is put on trial in a wrongful death suit.
Actress Lauren Cohan (Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries) is joining Chuck in a major recurring role. She will play Vivian, a beautiful, charming and sophisticated socialite who is currently enrolled at Oxford studying history. She is the daughter of a criminal mastermind. Meanwhile Robin Givens has landed a multi-episode arc where she will portray a powerful and controlling agency bigwig who makes an intriguing offer to Casey (Adam Baldwin). Both characters are slated to debut in March.
Guest stars galore have been announced for upcoming episodes of The Good Wife, including Jane Alexander who will appear in the February 1 episode; Rapper/actor Method Man who will appear in the February 8 episode; Rita Wilson and F. Murray Abraham appearing in the same episode on February 15 and America Ferrera and Jerry Stiller as well as Gary Cole will all appear in the February 22 episode.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
With the shows returning from their short winter hiatus, there is a lot of programming for which to keep track. The listbelowcovers most of what you can expect this coming weekend and next week (new episodes and made-for-TV movies):
Saturday, January 15:
Primeval on BBC America at 9 PM
Behemoth on Syfy at 9 PM (Debut)
Sunday, January 16:
Desperate Housewives on ABC at 9 PM
Brothers & Sisters on ABC at 10:01 PM
CSI: Miami on CBS at 8 PM
The Golden Globe Awards on NBC at 5 PM
Downton Abbey mini-series on PBS at 9 PM (Four-part mini-series)
Big Love on HBO at 9 and 10:05 PM (Season Premiere and Reair of Season Premiere)
Monday, January 17:
Hawaii Five-0 on CBS at 10 PM
House on FOX at 8 PM
Lie to Me on FOX at 9 PM
Chuck on NBC at 8 PM
The Cape on NBC at 9 PM
Harry’s Law on NBC at 10 PM (Debut)
Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family at 8 and 10 PM (NEW and Reair)
Greek on ABC Family at 9 PM
Being Human on Syfy at 9 PM (Debut of US Version)
Tuesday, January 18:
No Ordinary Family on ABC at 8 PM
V on ABC at 9 PM
Detroit 1-8-7 on ABC at 10 PM
NCIS on CBS at 8 PM
NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS at 9 PM
The Good Wife on CBS at 10 PM
Parenthood on NBC at 10 PM
Southland on TNT at 10 PM
Glory Daze on TBS at 10 PM (Finale)
Lights Out on FX at 10 PM
White Collar on USA Network at 10 PM (Return)
Wednesday, January 19:
Off the Map on ABC at 10 PM
Criminal Minds on CBS at 9 PM
Blue Bloods on CBS at 10 PM (New Night)
Friday Night Lights on DirecTV at 9 PM
Chase on NBC at 9 PM (Part 1 of 2) (Return) [Delayed from last week]
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on NBC at 10 PM
Thursday, January 20:
Criminal Minds on CBS at 9 PM
The Mentalist on CBS at 10 PM
Bones on FOX at 9 PM
Royal Pains on USA Network at 9 PM (Return)
Fairly Legal on USA Network at 10 PM (Debut)
Friday, January 21:
Medium on CBS at 8 PM (Series Finale)
Fringe on FOX at 9 PM (New Night)
Law & Order: UK on BBC America at 9 and 10 PM
Merlin onSyfy at 10 PM
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena on Starz at 10 PM (Season Premiere)
NOTE: Please check your local listings for the correct air dates and times for all of the above.
Have a great weekend!