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zaterdag 23 juni 2012

Jennifer Hudson Joins 'Smash' for Multi-Episode Arc

Singer-actress Hudson has signed on for a multiple-episode arc on the NBC musical drama "Smash" when it returns for its second season.

Hudson will play the role of Veronica Moore, a Tony Award-winning Broadway star who affects the lives of Karen (played by Katharine McPhee) and Ivy (played by Megan Hilty).

NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt, who made the announcement, said Hudson's character "will represent someone who reached their Broadway dream but also paid a price for it."

In addition to her stint on the upcoming second season of "Smash," Hudson also has two films, "Lullaby" and "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete," going into production this summer.

Gordon Ramsay signs new year-long £1m deal with Channel 4

Gordon Ramsay has reportedly signed a new £1 million deal with Channel 4.

The one-year extension to his contract will see him front three new programmes for the channel, according to The Sun.

However, his cooking magazine show The F Word will not return for a sixth series.

A source close to Ramsay said: "Gordon is excited to be signing for another year. The eight-year partnership has produced some of the highest rating shows on Channel 4, with the latest series Gordon Behind Bars out next week, as well as a new series confirmed for the autumn.

"Gordon's on great form and thrilled to be back on Channel 4 next week."

Meanwhile, a show insider added: "Gordon is a key part of our success and we're delighted he's staying with us.

"He remains Britain's most entertaining chef and we see him as an integral part of our schedule."

Gordon Ramsay will return to UK TV in new show Gordon Behind Bars, where he teaches inmates at Brixton Prison how to cook.

The British chef will front new show Hotel Hell on Fox in the US on August.

'Inbetweeners' Greg Davies to write and star in Channel 4 comedy pilot

Greg Davies is to write and star in his own Channel 4 comedy pilot.

The stand-up, who portrayed headmaster Mr Gilbert in The Inbetweeners, will play a teacher who hates his job in Man Down, reports The Sun.

Channel 4's comedy commissioning editor Nerys Evans said: "Greg is in more ways than one a giant of British comedy.

"He has managed to write a joyfully funny, laugh-out-loud script. We're thrilled to be working with him on his first solo piece."

Jon Thoday of Avalon, which will produce the show, added: "We are very excited to be part of bringing Greg's brilliant comic creation to Channel 4."

Davies will soon embark on a nationwide stand-up tour entitled 'The Back of My Mum's Head'. The comic's previous tour 'Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog' was extended three times and released on DVD last year.

He is also due to star opposite former Saturday Night Live performer Andy Samberg in BBC Three sitcom Cuckoo.

Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' Retrial Date Vacated, Settlement Talks Ordered

Nicollette Sheridan's ongoing legal battle with her former "Desperate Housewives" bosses hit a stumbling block on Friday, as a judge vacated the scheduled September retrial date and ordered both sides to enter settlement talks with a different judge.

Judge Elizabeth Allen White of Los Angeles Superior Court vacated the retrial date after admitting to being confused by wording in a writ issued by the court of appeals which put a temporary stay on the retrial.

The writ prevented Sheridan's team from going ahead with the wrongful termination claim, but allowed for Sheridan's team to amend its complaint and make  claim under California Labor Code 6310 (b), which protects employees from being terminated or threatened with termination if they make a complaint about workplace safety.

"Frankly, I find the language puzzling," the judge said.

The judge also ordered attorneys for both sides to return to settlement talks to Judge Helen Bendix on July 20.

During Friday's hearing, Sheridan's attorney, Mark Baute, continued to try to make the case for a wrongful termination claim.

"To keep this simple, Ms. Sheridan was fired before her contract was up," Baute told the court.

"Mr. Baute has argued this nine times," Adam Levin, attorney for ABC, countered, adding, "The plaintiff is frankly ordering nonsense. The plaintiff is asking the court to violate the court of appeal."

Judge White concluded, "I am going to let the court of appeal sort it out ... I will do whatever the court of appeal asks me to do."

Sheridan originally sued Touchstone and ABC for $20 million for being improperly fired after she said she was slapped by Marc Cherry in a dispute.  Cherry countered that he was merely attempting to give Sheridan stage direction, and that the decision to kill off her character, Edie Britt, was made months before the incident.

In March the case ended in mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict. A retrial had been set for Sept. 10, before Judge White vacated the date.

On May 31, an appeals court issued the temporary stay, affirming an appeal by ABC lawyers that argued that Sheridan did not have the right to sue for wrongful termination.

Baute told TheWrap on Friday that he will focus on preserving the wrongful termination claim, despite the appeals court's writ.

"The trial court recognizes, as did the Court of Appeal, that the Section 6310 (b) claim must go forward and the complaint amended to include that claim," Baute told TheWrap after the hearing. "The trial court wishes to have the Court of Appeal resolve through the writ process whether the wrongful termination in violation of public policy will also go forward."

Ratings: Justin Bieber Drops Further as NBA Finals Push ABC to Victory

Part 2 of NBC's special "Justin Bieber: All Around the World" fell even further from the poor showing of its first installment, while Game 5 of the NBA Finals gave ABC a predictable victory on Thursday night, according to preliminary numbers.

While ABC's ratings are approximate due to the nature of live sports, the network holds a commanding lead in both ratings, with a  5.3 rating/16 share in the advertiser-friendly 18-49 demographic, and total viewers, with 12.9 million.

The network swept the top three ratings spots with its basketball coverage, starting with "Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night" at 8, which drew a 2.4/9 and grabbed 6.7 million total viewers. The NBA pre-game show at 8:30 posted a 3.5/12 and received 8.6 million total viewers, while Game 5 of the NBA Finals at 9 took the night's highest ratings, rising to a 7.4/12 in the finals and drawing 15.5 million total viewers.

That's slightly down from last year's Game 5, which drew a 7.4/22 in the finals, but still enough to easily win the night in both the key demo and total viewers.

CBS, which ran repeats throughout the night, came in a distant second in ratings and total viewers with a 1.5/5 and 7 million total viewers.

Fox tied for third in ratings with Univision with an average 1.3/4 and took third place in total viewers with 3.6 million total viewers. "Take Me Out" at 8 saw a modest ratings increase over last week, posting a 1.2/4, and grew 19 percent in total viewers with 3.1 million. "The Choice" the following hour dropped slightly from last week in the ratings for a 1.5/5, but also climbed in total viewers, receiving a 17 percent increase for 4.2 million.

NBC came in fifth in ratings and fourth in total viewers, drawing a 0.7/2 and 3.2 million. The second part of "Justin Bieber: All Around the World" dropped off from Wednesday night's initial installment (which, granted did not face competition from the NBA Finals), receiving a 0.8/3 in the ratings and drawing 3.1 million total viewers.

"Saving Hope" the following hour plunged 29 percent from last week's airing for  0.5/2 and drew 2.6 million total viewers. "Rock Center With Brian Williams" at 10 drew even with last week, posting a 0.8/2 and taking 3.8 million total viewers.

First Euro 2012 quarter final draws 7.9m

The first quarter final of Euro 2012 dominated primetime last night (Thursday, June 21)), the latest overnight data indicates.

BBC One's coverage of Czech Republic v Portugal, hosted by Gary Lineker, averaged 7.91m (34.2%) between 7.30pm and 10pm, peaking with over 10m at 9.15pm.

Possibly benefiting from the revelations about Jimmy Carr's tax avoidance, Question Time rallied to 2.71m (21%) at 10.35pm, up 560k week-on-week.

Over on ITV1, a Lewis repeat nabbed 3.4m (14.3%) between 8pm and 10pm (+1: 242k/1.1%), prior to which an hour-long edition of Emmerdale cleared 6m.

Elsewhere, BBC Two's The Men Who Made Us Fat climbed to a decent 2.04m (8.4%) at 9pm, then Mock the Week amused 1.96m (9.9%).

Country House Rescue interested 1.37m (5.9%) on Channel 4 at 8pm, adding 125k (0.5%) on +1. The House the 50s Built followed with 1.06m (4.4%) and 190k (1%) on timeshift.

Meanwhile, Extraordinary People (1.15m/4.9%) and Big Brother (1.41m/7.8%) held up well for Channel 5. Big Brother's Bit on the Side entertained 484k (4.8%) at 10pm.

Overall, BBC One thrashed ITV1 in primetime with 30% versus 17% (+1: 0.9%). BBC Two earned third place with 7.2%, ahead of Channel 4 which had 4.8% (+1: 0.7%). Channel 5 was last with 4.1% (+1: 0.2%).

Andrew Flintoff slams Sky pundit Michael Atherton

Andrew Flintoff has launched a stinging attack against fellow former England star Mike Atherton, questioning the Sky commentator's credentials to analyse international cricket.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Flintoff described Atherton as a "f**king pr*ck" on Thursday night (June 21) at a party in London held by Sky, which employs both men.

Atherton has forged a career as a respected cricket commentator for Sky since retiring from the international game in 2002.

However, he made some critical comments about Flintoff when he was England captain during England's disastrous Ashes whitewash in 2006.

Flintoff shunned cricket commentary after retiring due to injury from the England team in 2010, instead opting for TV entertainment shows such as Sky's A League of Their Own.

Atherton has not responded to Flintoff's comments, which The Daily Telegraph reports went beyond just name calling.

"He sits there making judgments about players that are much better than he ever was, believe me, he's a pr*ck," Flintoff is quoted as saying.

"How can he talk about a player like [England opening batsman] Alastair Cook who is ten times the player he ever was - he has a much bigger average and will go on and on.

"Atherton averaged in the 30s for England and yet he thinks he can judge others."

After being informed that he was speaking to a journalist at the Sky event, Flintoff is said to have responded: "I don't care. Say what you like. There's no love lost there."

The situation follows a similar, albeit less forthright, attack on another Sky pundit.

Last month, current England batsman Kevin Pietersen posted a critical message on Twitter about Nick Knight, who was appearing on Sky's coverage of England's first Test against the West Indies at Lord's.

Pietersen wrote: "Can somebody please tell me how Nick Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for the Tests?? Ridiculous."

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was not impressed, and imposed a reported £5,000 fine on Pietersen, part-suspended for 12 months.

Ann Curry Fans Rally to Save Her 'Today' Job With Online Petition

Ann Curry is reportedly being phased out of her co-anchor position at "Today," but a group of fans is trying to turn back the tide and persuade NBC otherwise with an online petition.

The petition, posted on on Friday, has so far attracted 500 signatures from Curry loyalists intent on keeping her face on the morning airwaves.

"Dear Today Show at NBC," the petition reads. "We Love Ann Curry! Ann Curry Loves us and the Today Show!"

The petition was launched by Phoenix. Ariz. resident Stephen Crowley, an Iraq war veteran who says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and that Curry's presence on the "Today" show has had a steadying influence on him.

"One of the things that gives me a sense of calm and certainty in life is Ann Curry's compassionate style of journalism," Crowley says on the petition's web page. "Ann Curry's sensitivity to the human experience telegraphs through her journalism, to me and many other fans and viewers. Her compassion and dedication to her audience radiates every time she stands in front of a camera. She connects with people. She has definitely connected with me."

As reported earlier this week, Curry and NBC are negotiating her exit from the morning program, with a decision on her departure coming as early as next week. Curry has reportedly hired attorney Robert Barnett -- who represented Christiane Amanpour during her exit from ABC News' "This Week" -- to represent her in the negotiations.

According to a report in the New York Times, Curry could shift into a foreign correspondent position for NBC.

Along with the signatures, the petition has drawn passionate testimony from Curry fans who are distraught over the possibility of her departure.

"Ann Curry is the best personality on the show," one commenter asserts. "If she leaves the show I'll switch to 'GMA.'"

"Sorry NBC, if Ann goes, I go," another Curry partisan vowed. "Cable has much more to offer in the mornings these days, so I won't stick with 'Today' if she's gone.”

Marc Cherry's 'Devious Maids' Picked Up by Lifetime

Marc Cherry's "Devious Maids" has found a second life.

"Desperate Housewives" creator Cherry's latest series, which was passed over by ABC earlier this year, has found a new home at Lifetime, which has placed a 13-episode series order for the program.

"Devious Maids" will launch in 2013.

The soapy drama, which is based on the Mexican telenova "Ellas son la Alegría del Hogar," follows the exploits of five ambitious maids as they work for wealthy Beverly Hills residents.

Cherry wrote the pilot and will executive-produce the series, along with Sabrina Wind ("Desperate Housewives"), Eva Longoria, Paul McGuigan ("Scandal"), Larry Shuman ("Kissing Miranda"), David Lonner, John Mass, Paul Presburger and Michael Garcia.

ABC Studios is producing the series.

Former "All My Children" actress Susan Lucci stars, as does "Ugly Betty" alum Ana Ortiz.

Jimmy Carr mocked on '8 out of 10 Cats' over tax avoidance scheme

Jimmy Carr was roundly mocked over his involvement in a tax avoidance scheme on this week's 8 out of 10 Cats.

The comic recently hit the headlines after it was revealed that he puts £3.3 million each year into an offshore tax shelter, drawing condemnation from Prime Minister David Cameron.

Carr, who hosts Channel 4's 8 out of 10 Cats, was the subject of a number of jokes at the latest taping of the topical panel show on Thursday (June 21).

Team captain Sean Lock said: "We all like to put a bit of money away for a rainy day, don't we? But I think you're more prepared than Noah."

Lock went on to ask the presenter if, when he discussed his financial affairs with his accountant, there was "a thick pane of glass between the two of [them]".

"Did he have on a sort of boiler suit-type uniform? And a sort of brutal haircut? Because the best accountants, that's where they are - in jail," he quipped.

Commenting on what he immediately thought when he heard that Carr was on the front page of the papers, Lock added: "I was expecting to see one of those white police tents in the background and a copper holding a laptop in a see-through carrier bag."

During the show's opening round 'What Are You Talking About?', Carr was forced to admit that he was this week's second most popular news story behind Euro 2012, prompting guest Georgie Thompson to note: "On the plus side, at least you've been in a top five list of something."

Carr, who previously apologised on Twitter for his involvement in the scheme, conceded: "I've been dishing it out for years, it's about time I got some.

"I hate to sound like I'm passing the buck, but I'll tell you who I blame for this whole mess - me. It's entirely my fault."

Earlier this year, Deal or No Deal viewers raised more than £6,000 for a hospice after Carr won the charity just £750 on the programme's celebrity special and called on fans to donate.

Charlie Brooker's 'A Touch of Cloth' gets two more specials on Sky1

Sky1 has ordered two more instalments of Charlie Brooker's cop spoof A Touch of Cloth.

The series, starring John Hannah and Suranne Jones, will debut with a 90-minute special in August.

A second two-parter - currently titled Cloth Undercover - has already begun filming and is scheduled to air in 2013.

The third Cloth outing - a two-hour TV film - has also been commissioned.

Julian Rhind-Tutt (Green Wing), Adrian Bower (Mount Pleasant), Navin Chowdhry (Teachers) and Daisy Beaumont (Star Stories) also star in the series, along with guest stars Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones) and Anna Chancellor (The Hour).

A Touch of Cloth is a Zeppotron production and is executive produced by Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.

'Starlings', 'Moone Boy', 'Little Crackers' renewed by Sky1

Sky1 has recommissioned three of its comedy series.

Starlings - featuring Brendan Coyle and Lesley Sharp - will return for a second series in 2013.

The show - created by and also starring Matt King (Peep Show) and Steve Edge (Star Stories) - has received an order for eight more 60-minute episodes.

The broadcaster's popular anthology series Little Crackers will also return for a third run this Christmas.

Stars confirmed for the latest strand of short films include Katy Brand, Paul O'Grady, Jason Manford, Alison Steadman and Joanna Lumley, who will also direct her film. Further names will be announced in the near future.

Chris O'Dowd's semi-autobiographical comedy Moone Boy - inspired by the comic's own Little Crackers episode - has also been renewed, before the first series has even aired.

Set in a small Irish town in 1989, the series follows spirited 11-year-old Martin (David Rawle) and his imaginary friend (O'Dowd), with the first run of episodes scheduled for September.

Sky1 have also announced that Charlie Brooker's cop drama spoof A Touch of Cloth will return for another two-part special and a two-hour TV film.

TV Tonight 23rd of June 2012

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing.

    America's Test Kitchen S12E25: "Summertime Supper"
    Area no Kishi S01E24: "Tenacity to Win"
    Beyblade: Metal Fusion S02E46: "Enter! Hades City"
    Big Brother (UK) S14E20: "BB 13, Episode 20"
    Big Brother's Bit on the Side S05E19: "Series 5, Show 19"
    Bleach (US) S13E30: "Terror! The Monster That Lurks Underground"
    Celebrity Ghost Stories S04E04: "Rowdy Roddy Piper, Skylar Grey, Frank Whaley"
    Dan vs. S02E18: "Dan Vs. Wild West Town"
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E271: "Episode 1951"
    Dog the Bounty Hunter S08E30: "Mid-Course Correction"
    Euro 2012 S01E31: "Quarter Final"
    Fairy Tail S03E41: "True Evil Revisited"
    Fate/Zero S02E12: "Fate/Zero"
    Formula 1 S04E18: "European Grand Prix Qualifying"
    How To Be a Gentleman S01E09: "How to Be Shallow"
    Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters S01E04: "Om Nom Nom"
    Kuroko no Basuke S01E12: "What Is "Victory"?"
    Match of The Day S47E77: "Euro 2012 - Quarter Final Highlights"
    My Big Redneck Vacation S02E04: "Hunting the Lochness Monster"
    My Ghost Story S03E21: "Caught on Camera: #38"
    Redneck Island S01E03: "A Bird in the Hand"
    Saturday Kitchen S11E02: "June 23, 2012"
    The Firm S01E19: "Chapter Nineteen"
    The Legend of Korra S01E12: "Endgame"
    The Legend of Korra S01E11: "Skeletons in the Closet"
    The Million Pound Drop Live S10E04: "Series 10, Episode 4"
    UFC PPV Events S20E06: "UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin II"
    You Cannot Be Serious! S01E04: "Episode 4"

Sky1 announces new firefighter drama 'The Smoke'

Sky1 has announced new firefighter drama The Smoke.

The series is described as "adrenaline-fuelled and gut-wrenchingly emotional" and will focus on a fire crew's professional and personal lives.

"We wanted to bring a new, modern view of heroism to Sky 1 HD - The Smoke was a perfect fit," said Anne Mensah, Sky's head of drama.

"It has all the huge-scale action and adrenaline that a show about fire can bring to the screen, but... there is also a beautiful depth and complexity to the characterisation. This is a show that asks real questions about what it means to be a man in today's world. "

Jane Featherstone of producers Kudos Film and TV added: "We are so pleased to be making our first series for Sky 1 HD whose ambition matches our own. In The Smoke, [creator] Lucy Kirkwood has created a rich, layered world and with [exec producers] Noelle Morris will bring these characters and stories to life in a bold and surprising way. You've never seen a fire show like this before."

The eight-part drama will begin production in early 2013 for transmission later that year.

Sky1 has also confirmed that Ashley Pharoah (Life On Mars) is to adapt John Meade Falkner's novel Moonfleet for a new two-part drama.

The tale of smuggling and adventure will be directed by Dan Percival (Strike Back) and will also transmit in 2013.

'Barbarella' Series in the Works From Nicolas Refn

"Barbarella" is coming to the small screen.

"Drive" director Nicolas Refn is working with Gaumont International Television on a TV series based on the Jean-Claude Forest comic-book character made famous by the 1968 Jane Fonda film of the same name.

Refn will direct the series and executive-produce with Martha De Laurentiis. Julien Forest and Jean-Marc Lofficier will co-executive produce.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to re-invent ‘Barbarella’ with my friends at Gaumont and Martha De Laurentiis," said of the project. "And I look forward to bringing this unique character to life for a new generation of fans as I believe she is one of the ultimate counter-cultural characters."

Gaumont International Television CEO Katie O'Connell said that the series will pair "the bold visceral style of Nicolas Refn with the pop culture icon Barbarella."

Gaumont International Television and De Laurentiis are also pairing for the upcoming NBC series "Hannibal," about fictional cannibal/mastermind Hannibal Lecter. Refn, meanwhile, is teaming with Gaumont on his next two feature films, including "Only God Forgives," which reunites him with "Drive" star Ryan Gosling.

Originally appearing in a "V-Magazine" serial in the early 1960s, Barbarella, a young woman who traveled from planet to planet having often-carnal adventures, served as an early symbol for the sexual revolution that would blossom in the ensuing years.

CBS Bitterly Mocks ABC's 'Glass House' With Fake News of 'Dancing With the Stars' Rip-Off

Add mockery to the many ways CBS is fighting ABC's "Glass House."

After going to court to try unsuccessfully to stop the airing of the new ABC reality show -- which resembles CBS's "Big Brother" -- CBS on Wednesday released a blisteringly sarcastic press release in which it announced plans to rip off ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

CBS says in the release that its supposed new show, "Dancing on the Stars," is an "exciting and completely original reality program that owes its concept and execution to nothing at all."

The release comes after a judge declined to block "Glass House" from premiering Monday. It is a surprisingly blunt and bitter move, given that which networks often strive to avoid even acknowledging their competitors. But CBS may have felt forced to resort to mockery after its setback in court.

In a statement -- a real one -- a CBS spokesman told TheWrap: "We think the press release speaks originally for itself."

ABC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Glass House," like "Big Brother," features several people living together in a closely monitored house, and its production team includes many former "Big Brother" staffers. CBS is accusing ABC of copyright infringement and stealing trade secrets.

CBS's mocking release ends with a prediction that ABC won't complain about its new show -- "Dancing on the Stars" -- since "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."


Here's the full release:



Los Angeles, June 21, 2012 – Subsequent to recent developments in the creative and legal community, CBS Television today felt it was appropriate to reveal the upcoming launch of an exciting, ground-breaking and completely original new reality program for the CBS Television Network.

The dazzling new show, DANCING ON THE STARS, will be broadcast live from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and will feature moderately famous and sort of well-known people you almost recognize competing for big prizes by dancing on the graves of some of Hollywood’s most iconic and well-beloved stars of stage and screen.

The cemetery, the first in Hollywood, was founded in 1899 and now houses the remains of Andrew “Fatty” Arbuckle, producer Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Paul Muni, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, George Harrison of the Beatles and Dee Dee Ramone of the Ramones, among many other great stars of stage, screen and the music business. The company noted that permission to broadcast from the location is pending, and that if efforts in that regard are unsuccessful, approaches will be made to Westwood Village Memorial Park, where equally scintillating luminaries are interred.

“This very creative enterprise will bring a new sense of energy and fun that’s totally unlike anything anywhere else, honest,” said a CBS spokesperson, who also revealed that the Company has been working with a secret team for several months on the creation of the series, which was completely developed by the people at CBS independent of any other programming on the air.

“Given the current creative and legal environment in the reality programming business, we’re sure nobody will have any problem with this title or our upcoming half-hour comedy for primetime, POSTMODERN FAMILY.”

“After all,” the spokesperson added, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” 

Is Game Of Thrones sexist?

HBO's hit fantasy adaptation Game of Thrones has come under (wild)fire from some quarters for the perceived sexism of its portrayal of women. Andrew takes a look at the arguments...

As regular users of the internet are doubtless aware, the TV adaptation of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire has lately been accused of sexism due to its frequent female nude scenes, especially in comparison with its infrequent male nude scenes.

George R. R. Martin's universe is not the sexless, don't-snigger-they're-just-good-friends one of The Lord of the Rings. For a start, there are more than two female characters, and people in the books do have sex. In the scud and everything. Martin commented in a recent interview with Grace Dent that the reason for this is because 'people have sex'. It's what they do. It's a major motivation for many people, and it'd be foolish to ignore it just because A Song of Ice and Fire is set in the Fantasy genre.

This goes against the idea that the attitude towards sex in America is usually seen as being backward in relation to Britain. Violence is shown much more frequently than sex without too much complaint. A PG-13 will contain violence (often strangely bloodless), some swearing, and people wearing as little as possible, but rarely any sex or nudity. Grand Theft Auto's notoriety reached apoplexy levels when they added sex to the game. What American censors fear apparently, above all other things, is being confronted with a Sexy Communist Wizard. However, a quick look at the television schedules would lead you to believe the opposite. Torchwood (as co-produced by Starz), featured a sex scene edited for the UK broadcast (despite a nude scene in Children of Earth, albeit one without a sexual context). Starz and HBO are infamous for shows featuring sex and violence.

We might not get many R-rated action movies these days, but such gleeful excess has found a home on television. The soon-to-end Spartacus: Blood and Sand is pretty egalitarian when it comes to the breasts:penises ratio, and also features lots of people hitting each other with sharp metal until bits of them fall off or out. Game of Thrones not only features people getting bisected in several directions, but has one character who spends more of her time nude than clothed, and was created specifically for the television show. She ends up fellating another woman while another character gives an expositionary speech. Manwise, we've got Keith Allen's son, Hodor, and Count Scarlioni - the Last of the Jagaroth - getting their wangs out. It's not a fair swap, really.

The problem is that Game of Thrones is actually really rather good when it comes to strong female roles. Because George R. R. Martin refuses to write any characters without shades of grey (even Joffrey, the uber-scumglomerate-of-want-to-stabness, elicits some sympathy when you consider he had two Dads and neither of them gave a toss about him). The wanton norkage undermines this positive, because there are fewer male characters in the same position and so it becomes a case of one step forward, one step back. The articles in The New Yorker, The Huffington Post, and io9 all point out the many positives coming from the popularity of Game of Thrones. They're all very reasonable, and rather than actual outrage, they express disappointment in the show for being both:

A. Awesome. In the literal sense of the word.

B. Disparate in its treatment of men and women as sexual objects.

As people, though, many of Game of Thrones' prostitutes have more characterisation and depth than lead females in other fantasy television. Shae, Ros and Doreah are minor roles, but they're more believable than Eva Green's sorceress in Camelot, who is subjected to a truly hilarious sex scene/grunting contest with James Purefoy. However, Ros' role in the show is frequently just to be naked. When there's a Saturday Night Live sketch about the level of topless women in the show, there are arguments for embracing that reputation, but it's not as if there isn't already a lot of sex and nudity in the books for HBO to get people interested, if they're being that cynical.

On the home front, an article in The New Statesman by Laurie Penny (who you may have heard of through Warren Ellis, or that time she was saved from being run over by Ryan Gosling) asks why Martin could not have imagined a universe which portrayed women more equally.

This is an odd question, because Martin is not in charge of the television series, and her article suggests that she is referring to the television show rather than the books. If you're going to show a society that is corrupt, flawed, and unfair to many, not just women, isn't it easier to create a scenario that demonstrates these inequalities?  Generalisations be damned, the American attitudes towards Game of Thrones' sexual content seem a lot more thoughtful and relevant. Plus they actually talk about problems that are, y'know, there.

If gratuitous, unpleasant sexual content is being broadcast, odds are it is not intended to titillate. There has yet to be a successful correlation made between watching Game of Thrones and people going off being all ultraviolent and pure stoked for a rammy, even with the ones who stream it illegally.

The series has many things going for it. Every review praises a different character and begs for them to be given more screen time. The backstabbing political intrigue sits side by side with quests, fantasy wars, love stories and cruelty to horses. It's been accused of lacking subtlety, but it is worth remembering that these are adaptations of some very lengthy books. Relatively speaking it is both unsubtle and subtle. Compared with many television programmes, it's got a lot of undercurrents going on, multi-layered characters, and you still have to pay attention to follow it, but compared to the book it really flags up some important plot points.

This is fair enough, really. It's difficult enough remembering every character's name before you're sidetracked with the thought 'Hang on, is that Jerome Flynn?', so we'll forgive them if they show us relationships only hinted at in the books, and spell out things in blunt sentences. Even with ten hours to spare, it's not an easy ask to fit everything in. Any book adaptation is going to have to lose a certain amount of subtlety, and of course a lot of inner monologues. We can't say there haven't been additions that enhance and improve on the source material, so the change of medium hasn't had an entirely negative effect on the story.

The ridiculous quantity of nudity is distracting though, and it causes people to focus on it at the expense of other story aspects. (A lot of innocent people are dead, for instance, but no-one really seems entirely bothered by that.) Toning down and evening out the nudity would still result in a show with well above average levels, and it wouldn't hurt to have Richard Madden or Kit Harrington's balls on screen at some point.

Can these US remakes of UK TV shows work?

US remakes of Misfits, The Inbetweeners, Only Fools and Horses, and more are on their way this year. James looks at how they're shaping up...

Ever since 1960s sitcom ’Til Death Us Do Part was remade as All In The Family, remakes of British television programmes have been a big part of the American TV industry. Almost everything from classic comedy like Fawlty Towers to televisual hell like The Jeremy Kyle Show has been remade for broadcast across the pond. Of the course the record of American remakes is far from unblemished. You get the occasional big hit like The Office or Sanford And Son (a remake of Steptoe And Son) and the various unmitigated disasters of which there are too many to list. In recent the years the number of programmes being remade has increased quite dramatically and 2012 is no exception. So, here’s a list of some of this year’s upcoming remakes, a look at whether or not they’re likely to work, and a prediction as to their ultimate fate.

Only Fools And Horses

Network: ABC

Cast: John Leguizamo (Ice Age), Dustin Ybarra (We Bought A Zoo), Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)

What Is It: A remake of the much loved sitcom of the same name that saw David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst play brothers Derek and Rodney Trotter struggling to make ends meet and often resorting to selling stolen goods and trying ill-fated get rich quick schemes.

Will It Work: I very much doubt it.

Why: When it first hit our screens in 1980, Only Fools And Horses very much captured the nation’s zeitgeist. The Trotters struggled to make ends meet like many people in the 1980s and had to resort to law-breaking to survive. There were also a lot of digs at Margaret Thatcher throughout the series which, again, captured the appeal of many. Replicating that is going to be a tall order given that the world has changed colossally in the past thirty two years. While the overall concept is universal, Only Fools And Horses is by its very nature a period piece. Also, the sadly missed John Sullivan wrote every single episode, quite a few of which were based on his own experiences. As with a lot of Brit-coms, this gave the characters and stories a feel of consistency. With more than a dozen writers working on a single season of a US sitcom, that can’t be achieved. And characterisation was the heart of Only Fools And Horses.

My Prediction: From the information I have so far (e.g. the character of Trigger being a white ghetto-talking con-man), I’m going to predict that it either won’t get past the pilot stage or will get cancelled mid-season. Anything better than that will be a big surprise.

Bad Girls

Network: NBC

Cast: Jurnee Smollett (Friday Night Lights)

What Is It: A remake of a drama set in a women’s prison that uses a mixture of light and more serious stories that ran for a very impressive eight series on ITV.

Will It Work: Quite possibly.

Why: The setting of a women’s prison can work in both Britain and America, and NBC has a history of making some pretty good dramas. Also, the setting allows for a large ensemble cast which would suit the length of an American series quite well. Interestingly, original Bad Girls producers Shed Productions cancelled a remake by cable channel HBO in 2007 due to the script being too gritty and reminiscent of US prison drama Oz. Given that Shed Productions appear to be keeping a close eye on any potential remake, this looks like one remake that could do justice to the original.

My Prediction: Providing it doesn’t get too bogged down in chasing demographics and the tone is kept between light-hearted and serious, this could end up running for a while. It would be rare for it to exceed the eight series of the original though.

The Family Tools

Network: ABC

Cast: Kyle Bornheimer (Worst Week), J.K. Simmons (Spider-man), Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)

What Is It: The remake with the most recent original programme on our list is of the 2011 smash hit White Van Man, a BBC3 sitcom about aspiring chef Ollie Curry (Will Mellor) reluctantly taking over his father’s (Clive Mantle) handyman business.

Will It Work: I don’t see why not.

Why: As Will Mellor himself commented, although white van men don’t exist in America, there’s almost definitely a transatlantic equivalent, which puts The Family Tools on solid footing in terms of translating well. J.K. Simmons is a good choice for Clive Mantle’s role but Kyle Bornheimer’s last part in a US remake (the lead role in a remake of The Worst Week Of My Life) doesn’t inspire much confidence, neither does Edi Gathegi as workshy assistant Darren. Also, the trailer shows that the focus is more on slapstick rather than the more character-based comedy of the original.

My Prediction: If it’s handled well, it might manage to run for two or three seasons before something sounds its death knell.


Network: TBC

Cast: TBC

What Is It: A remake of the wildly popular E4 drama that many critics described as “Skins with superpowers”.  A group of young offenders get caught in an electrical storm and develop superpowers as a result. The characters’ powers range from immortality, to invisibility, to causing sexual arousal by touching someone. The series follows the characters as they attempt to adjust to life with these strange abilities.

Will It Work: No judgement yet.

Why: It’s just too early to tell. Depending on which network develops it, it could be just as gritty as its predecessor, or be hugely toned down. This one could be a success or a failure depending significantly on the cast, and which network picks it up. It has to be a positive that Misfits creator Howard Overman is involved, though whether or not the involvement of Josh Schwartz, the man behind The O.C., Chuck, and Gossip Girl, is a good or bad sign is debatable. The series is very popular on the video streaming website Hulu which indicates that the developers may be onto something.

My Prediction: With so little information, it’s not really fair to predict success or failure.


Network: ABC

Cast: None

What Is It: A remake of a BBC drama about quartet of women in their thirties who have been friends since university who are all in relationships with men who already have partners.

Will It Work: There’s nothing to say it won’t be a success.

Why: Given the success of programmes such as Sex And The City, this has certainly got the potential to go far. As with everything, casting is crucial and without a confirmed cast, it could end up being good or bad. Though given that the theme is adultery, it’s likely to raise the ire of the more conservative media watchdogs which may eventually be its undoing.

My Prediction: I wouldn’t be surprised if it exceeds three seasons but I don’t think it’s ever going to be a smash hit.


Network: CBS

Cast: Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting), Lucy Liu (Ally McBeal)

What Is It: Elementary is at pains to prove that it isn't a remake of the wildly popular BBC1 drama Sherlock, hence the female Watson and the rehab backstory, but... well, let's wait and see shall we? CBS maintains that it's putting its own spin on Sherlock Holmes with a British Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) solving crimes in present day New York while struggling to overcome his drug addiction. Oh, and Watson’s being played by Lucy Liu. This one looks to be on shaky ground, especially since Sherlock producer Sue Vertue has said she's prepared to take legal action if the pilot infringes on the BBC1 series.

Will It Work: Will it be as big a success as the BBC Sherlock? Very doubtful.

Why: The reason Sherlock is so successful is because the mix of cast and crew is perfect. It may be building on a phenomenally popular collection of stories, but it’s been done with so much care and attention, and with some of the best people working in television today involved. Elementary won’t have that. It will have a large number of writers which means that the close communication between Steven Moffatt, Mark Gatiss, and Steve Thompson (Sherlock’s writers) won’t be present. And also, each episode of Sherlock is a whopping ninety minutes long. That allows for the plot to be built up slowly and to allow the viewer to enjoy each episode at a leisurely pace rather than having the plot and characterisation whizz by at massive speed. Meanwhile, a standard US drama is forty-two minutes long. So all of the rich detail and slow-building tension of the original will most likely be lost.

My Prediction: In light of how cancellation-happy US networks can be, this one won't last longer than its first season.

Friday Night Dinner

Network: NBC

Cast: Allison Janney (The West Wing), Tony Shalhoub (Monk), David Koechner (Anchorman)

What Is It: A remake of a successful Channel 4 sitcom of the same name about two young Jewish men (Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal) who have dinner with their parents every Friday, which inevitably leads to arguments and embarrassment.

Will It Work: It definitely stands a chance.

Why: The family-based sitcom is the most universal TV concept around. From Birmingham to Bangalore, a dom-com is a safe bet for TV executives. And although Friday Night Dinner is slightly niche given that its characters are Jewish, it still retains universality. Plus, America has a sizeable Jewish population which will help the series considerably, providing that it doesn’t rely on clichés and offensive racial stereotypes.

My Prediction: It could be a moderate success but may struggle to reach the level of something like Friends or The Big Bang Theory.

The Inbetweeners

Network: MTV

Cast: Bubba Lewis (Grey’s Anatomy), Joey Pollari (Avalon High), Zack Pearlman (The Virginity Hit), Mark L. Young (Big Love)

Will It Work: The odds aren't looking great.

Why: Crude humour is the core of The Inbetweeners, as is bad language. It’s not there for the sake of it, it’s included because that’s part of growing up. Sexual debacles, drunken indiscretions, and swearing are sometimes par for the course when you hit your late teens. And by being broadcast on E4 at 10PM, the writers were able to showcase this in all its cringe-inducing glory. With the remake being broadcast on MTV, that won’t be the case. Let’s look at the remake of Skins as an example. The first episode only included two uses of the word “fuck”, both of which were bleeped compared to the huge amount of swearing in the original. In short: non-cable American television is nowhere near as liberal as mainstream television here in the UK. The guidelines are stricter and any violation of these guidelines can result in severe consequences. So the remake will be significantly toned down, which flies in the face of the programme’s entire ethos. In fact, executive producer Brad Copeland commented that “When the American actors tried to be that dirty (In reference to the humour in the original programme), it came off as crude. So we went a little more John Hughes. It has a lot more heart. It’s like The Wonder Years meets Superbad”. On that basis, I really can’t see this turning out well.

My Prediction: It will go the way of the Skins remake. Thanks to both declining ratings and sanctimonious parents’ groups like the Parents Television Council pressuring sponsors to pull out, it will be unceremoniously axed after a single season.

The Muppets are (sort of) coming to BBC 1!

A new puppet-based chat show co-produced by the BBC and The Jim Henson Company is on its way, written by Danny Baker.

Aside from the odd joyous re-run from the movie back catalogue and the 2002 BBC-produced I Love Muppets doc, Jim Henson’s felt characters have been absent from the Beeb since the late nineties, but no more. It was announced in March that The Jim Henson Company and the BBC were to co-produce a custom chat show for the channel, featuring new Henson Company-designed puppets, and now TV veteran Danny Baker has stepped forward as the new show’s head writer.

"I'm writing the new Muppet/Puppet show for BBC/Henson. There I've said it."

The working title for the new show is No Strings Attached (we see what they’ve done there), and the plan is to feature a mix of puppets and real-life celebrities. Apparently Stephen Fry turned up to film the non-broadcast pilot, which isn’t too shabby.

Back in March, the BBC’s executive producer for entertainment, Karl Warner, outlined his view for the show, saying “The idea is that it would be very firmly anchored in the world of the chat show, but based around a new character created by the Henson company”. This is all in addition to the new Muppets series currently being developed stateside. Muppets as far as the eye can see!

Critics’ Choice TV Awards: ‘Homeland’, ‘Community’ & ‘Sherlock’ Double Winners

Homeland Critics Choice Television AwardsShowtime’s Homeland took best drama honors and a best drama actress award for Claire Danes at the 2nd annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards tonight at the Beverly Hilton. PBS’ Sherlock was also a big winner, taking best miniseries/movie and best actor for Benedict Cumberbatch. On the comedy side, NBC’s Community took best series honors and Parks And Recreation‘s Amy Poehler split the best comedy actress nod with New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel.

NBC walked away with the most wins overall for a network with 5, including best reality competition series with The Voice. ABC and AMC had three wins apiece, with the later scoring a pair of Breaking Bad wins for lead drama actor Bryan Cranston and supporting actor Giancarlo Esposito. Stay tuned for Pete Hammond’s take on the results. Here’s the full list of winners:


Best Drama Series
Homeland – Showtime

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad – AMC

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes – Homeland – Showtime

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Giancarlo Esposito – Breaking Bad – AMC

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christina Hendricks – Mad Men – AMC

Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series
Lucy Liu – Southland – TNT

Best Reality Series
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations – Travel Channel

Best Reality Series – Competition
The Voice – NBC

Best Reality Show Host
Tom Bergeron – Dancing with the Stars – ABC
Cat Deeley – So You Think You Can Dance – FOX

Best Talk Show
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – NBC

Best Comedy Series
Community – NBC

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Louis C.K. – Louie – FX

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel – New Girl – FOX
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation – NBC

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell – Modern Family – ABC

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Julie Bowen – Modern Family – ABC

Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series
Paul Rudd – Parks and Recreation – NBC

Best Animated Series
Archer – FX

Best Movie/Miniseries
Sherlock – PBS

Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock – PBS

Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries
Julianne Moore – Game Change – HBO

Most Exciting New Series
The Following (Fox/Warner Bros.)
The Mindy Project (Fox/Universal)
Nashville (ABC/Lionsgate)
The Newsroom (HBO)
Political Animals (USA/Warner Bros.)

Sherlock wins double at Critics’ Choice TV Awards

Yesterday, the Critics’ Choice TV awards took place in the US, where Sherlock won Best Miniseries and Benedict Cumberbatch won Best Actor in a Miniseries

The CCTV awards (wait, what? Oh… Critics’ Choice) are relative newcomers on the US awards scene and based on yesterday’s winners, they’re relative newcomers with very decent taste. The BBC’s Sherlock (aired on PBS in the states) picked up the prize in new category Best Miniseries, while Benedict Cumberbatch went home with the award for Best Actor in a Miniseries. Though nominated, Sherlock's Lara Pulver just missed out on the accompanying Best Actress prize, losing to Julianne Moore for her jaunt as Sarah Palin in Game Change.

Community, a show that’s always inspired more devotion from critics and diehard fans than it has viewers, was awarded Best Comedy Series, not that recently fired creator Dan Harmon was there to receive it. Harmon tweeted after the ceremony “Congrats, Community, and thank you, critics. Sorry I was unable to have been invited!” As the common expression goes: ouch.

Critics singled out Fox’s upcoming series The Following and HBO’s The Newsroom amongst others for recognition in the “Most Exciting New Series” category, which hopefully isn’t a bad omen seeing as the recently cancelled Alcatraz, Awake, Ringer and Terra Nova were all given special mention in the category this time last year.

Fringe season 5 news

While at this week’s Critics’ Choice TV awards, the man behind Walter in sci-fi series Fringe, actor John Noble, spilled the beans on what’s planned for the show’s fifth and final 13-episode season.

Considering how divisive episode 4.19 Letters of Transit proved amongst fans, news that the majority of the new series is to be set in the 2036 future outlined by that instalment is likely to receive a mixed reaction. “As far as I know, we’re just jumping ahead [to 2036]” Noble said, “Walter, Olivia, Astrid and Peter are insurgents, so we know all the dirty tricks that have been played against us. We’ll be learning from the past.”

References to the pre-amber Fringe team will be made using “found footage” according to Noble.

Noble also assures fans that despite her absence from Letters of Transit, Olivia (Anna Torv) will indeed be returning, and one of her key scenes in season 5 will be “a wonderful reunion of mother and daughter” as Fringe welcomes back Olivia and Peter’s grown-up daughter, Etta.

The actor also had something to say about the overall direction the series would take, saying, “Walter is the man who started this, so there has to be resolution. There has to be redemption. We also have to see the final maturing of the relationship between Peter and Olivia, because it has been so difficult for them and we want them so much to be with each other.”

The first episode of the new Fringe season, the intriguingly titled Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11, is due to air on Fox on the 28th of September.

Caroline John: 1940-2012

The actress who played Doctor Who’s Dr Liz Shaw opposite Jon Pertwee has passed away at the age of 72.

Best known to Who fans for her role as the third Doctor’s companion Liz Shaw, the funeral for actress Caroline John took place yesterday in London.

John’s involvement with Doctor Who lasted long beyond her reign as the 1970 companion, extending to an appearance in 1983’s The Five Doctors, the 1990 Children in Need special Dimensions in Time and a string of the Mark Gatiss-written P.R.O.B.E video spin-offs and Big Finish audio plays.

Doctor Who was also part of the actress’ personal life, as she was married to Geoffrey Beevers, the actor behind the third Master’s appearance in The Keeper of Traken serial.

John’s companion has received attention of late from those puzzling over potential clues in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, due to her sharing a name with Noomi Rapace’s Dr Elizabeth Shaw in the recent release.

The Who character’s scientific background put her on much more of an even footing with Pertwee’s Doctor than companions past and since, a dynamic Steven Moffat has teased may be returning to the show, with the Doctor’s new companion set to “run rings around” him.

Caroline John, rest in peace.

Development Update: the 23rd of June

THE GOODWIN GAMES (FOX) - Comedian T.J. Miller has joined the cast of the midseason comedy, about three siblings who must heed to the idiosyncratic terms of their father's will to inherit his fortune. He'll take over for Jake Lacy as youngest Jimmy, a small-time ex-con and dull-witted guitarist who's deep in debt to a loan shark. Miller previously toplined the network's "Little Brother" this past development cycle. Another role - Felisha Terrell's Lucinda - is also expected to be recast. Becki Newton, Melissa Tang and Scott Foley also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, from co-creators Carter Bays, Chris Harris and Craig Thomas. (

UNTITLED HATFIELDS & MCCOYS PROJECT (NBC) - The Charlize Theron-produced drama - which reignites the centuries-old family feud in a contemporary urban setting - has found a home at the Peacock with a significant penalty attached. John Glenn is penning the ABC Studios-based hour which he'll executive produce alongside Dawn Parouse Olmstead, Beau Flynn and Theron via her Denver and Delilah Productions banner. (

BRICKLEBERRY (Comedy Central) - Kaitlin Olson, Tom Kenny, David Herman, Jerry Minor and Roger Black have all joined the cast of Daniel Tosh's animated comedy, about a group of dysfunctional forest rangers at a national park that is facing closure until a new ranger comes in to whip everyone into shape and save the park. Tosh himself voices a cute bear cub named Malloy. The series, from Fox 21, debuts Tuesday, September 25 on the cable channel. (

CEDAR COVE (Hallmark) - Dylan Neal ("Ringer") is the latest to join the network's first original drama, about Judge Olivia Lockhart (Andie MacDowell) whose Cedar Cove Municipal Court is the professional milieu and social microcosm of issues the judge will face in her own day-to-day life with family and friends. He'll play "the new editor of the small town's newspaper and potential love interest for Lockhart." Writer Bruce Graham and director Michael Scott are behind the project, which is based on Debbie Macomber's book series. Scott, Macomber, Allen Lewis, Caroline Moore, Dan Wigutow and Harvey Kahn are the executive producers. (

- DiGa Vision and Leftfield Pictures are on track to land a new series at the cable channel in which A-list celebrities host their own yard sales for charity. Tony DiSanto, Liz Gateley, Brent Montgomery and Lance Bass are all behind the effort, which is based on the latter's Famous Yard Sale initiative. DiSanto and Gateley are likewise behind "My Life as a Lifetime Movie" at the network, which "takes a page from the newsmagazine format in offering an irreverent look at real women whose lives could be a blueprint for Lifetime's signature maudlin TV movies." (

LAST MAN STANDING (ABC) - Tim Doyle ("Rules of Engagement") has joined the Tim Allen-led comedy as an executive producer while co-star Alexandra Krosney won't return for the show's sophomore run. Doyle will serve as showrunner, taking over for day-to-day operations from creator Jack Burditt, who in turn is overseeing newcomer "Malibu Country." Meanwhile, Krosney's role of eldest daughter/teen mom Kristin is being recast. No other details were given. (,

MOCKINGBIRDE LANE (NBC) - Portia de Rossi has snagged the role of Lily Munster on the Peacock's revival of "The Munsters." She'll take over for Mariana Klaveno, who was originally cast however the actress could not be released from her deal on ABC Studios' potentially Lifetime-bound pilot "Devious Maids." Writer Bryan Fuller and director Bryan Singer are behind the Universal Television-based hour, which also stars Charity Wakefield, Jerry O'Connell, Mason Cook and Eddie Izzard. (

FOOD CHAIN (Syndication, New!) - Paula Deen is set to host a potential syndicated game show in which families compete in a cooking contest to win escalating cash prizes. Zodiak USA is behind the half-hour project, which is based on an Italian format. The company's Natalka Znak and Deen herself, who are making the pitch rounds this week, are expected to executive produce. (

THE MISSIONARY (A.K.A. UNTITLED GLADWELL & RANDOLPH PROJECT) (HBO) - Emmy-winner Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad") is in talks to topline the drama pilot, about "a young American missionary (Paul) who becomes involved with the CIA" in 1960s Berlin. Charles Randolph ("The Interpreter") and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell ("Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking") penned the hour - which has been in the works since October of 2010 - and will executive produce alongside Stephen Levinson of Leverage Entertainment and Mark Wahlberg of Closest to the Hole Productions. (

GO ON (NBC) - John Cho ("A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas") has been upped to series regular on the upcoming Matthew Perry-led comedy, about an irreverent yet charming sportscaster, who after his wife dies, finds surprising solace from the members of his support group. Cho guest starred in the pilot as Ryan's boss who refuses to put him back on the air until he seeks counseling. Julie White, Bill Cobbs, Suzy Nakamura and Allison Miller also star in the half-hour, which is due on Tuesday nights this fall. (

DRAW SOMETHING (CBS, New!) - The Eye has ordered a pilot for a potential game show based on Zynga's popular app of the same name. Sony Pictures Television is behind the project, in which "teams of celebrities and everyday users will test their skills in front of a studio audience to earn money and big laughs." Said effort will also have a play along at home component where viewers can win prizes alongside the celebrities. Ryan Seacrest of Ryan Seacrest Productions and Michael Davies of Embassy Row Productions are the executive producers. (

THE MINDY PROJECT (FOX) - Matt Warburton, most recently a consulting producer on "Community" and a co-executive producer on "The Simpsons," has been tapped as showrunner of the Mindy Kaling-led comedy. Also signing on are Michael Spiller as executive producer/in-house director, Chris McKenna as a co-executive producer and Linwood Boomer as a consulting producer. There they'll serve alongside executive producer Howard Klein and creator/executive producer Kaling. Charles McDougall directed and executive produced the pilot while B.J. Novak also served as an executive producer on its debut installment. (

WENDELL & VINNIE (Nickelodeon) - Buddy Handleson ("Shake It Up") has booked a lead role on the comedy pilot, about an irresponsible goofball (Jerry Trainor) who becomes the guardian to his conservative genius 12-year old nephew (Handleson). Jay Kogen is behind the multi-camera project, which is being targeted for the network's Nick at Nite block. Aaron Kaplan is executive producing alongside Kogen. (