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Channel Surfing – April 21, 2010

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

Crystal Bowersox on last night’s American Idol? Wow.

– Not only is Betty White hosting Saturday Night Live on May 8, but her musical guest will be Jay-Z. Be prepared to fall in love with Betty White, hip hop fans.

– The Daily Beast interviews Al Pacino about his HBO movie You Don’t Know Jack, which premieres Saturday night (8PM ET). Pacino plays “suicide doc” Jack Kevorkian, and it truly is his best performance in years and another great made-for-TV flick from HBO.

– If you’re planning on throwing a Lost finale party on May 23, make sure you have plenty of snacks and libations on hand: ABC is planning five hours of Lost-themed programming that night, including a two-hour recap special, the two-hour finale and Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to Lost, an hour-long special that will feature Lost showrunners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lidelof, as well as several cast members.

Kelsey Grammer is among the backers of a new right-wing TV network, which will feature shows like a conservative comedy series and Running, a reality show that will follow six people running for political office for the first time.

Glee fans, cancel all plans for May 18. That’s when the Joss Whedon-directed episode of the show airs. The episode also includes Neil Patrick Harris guest starring as Will Shuester’s high school rival, as well as guest turns by Molly Shannon and Idina Menzel.

– Don’t hassle The Hoff: David Hasselhoff‘s doing a good thing by making a return appearance on The Young and the Restless, the CBS daytime soap that gave him his big break.

Tori Spelling, the next big talk show host? Could be.

– Meanwhile, CBS is reportedly planning a talk show to rival The View, with Big Brother host (and wife of CBS honcho Les Moonves) Julie Chen, Roseanne and The Big Bang Theory star Sara Gilbert, Lisa Rinna and Real Housewives of New York City‘s Bethenny Frankel as panelists/hosts.

– Add I Dream of Jeannie to the list of TV shows being developed as big-screen movies.

– More series renewals: Burn Notice has been renewed for a fifth and sixth season, even though the USA show’s fourth season doesn’t premiere until this summer; NBC has ordered a second season of Parenthood; and Fox has given the thumbs up to a 23rd season of Cops, the network’s second longest-running series.

– TV show premiere dates: Rescue Me‘s sixth and final season debuts on FX on June 29, while Mad Men‘s fourth season will debut on AMC on July 25.

– VH1 has a whopping 44 original series on tap for the rest of this year, including a new installment of Divas, more reality programming with Dr. Drew (how does this guy have time to live his own life when he’s so all up in the Kool-Aid of others’?), documentaries on 50 Cent and Rush, more installments of Behind the Music, and a reality show about Eva Longoria-Parker‘s L.A. restaurant Beso.

– According to a Lady Gaga Tweet, she’ll be performing on American Idol on May 5.

– And NBC reportedly wanted the Website AshleyMadison.com – the Website that encourages infidelity – to advertise during Jerry Seinfeld‘s The Marriage Ref. It might sound outrageous initially, but this is a show where the likes of Madonna is giving marital advice, so … maybe kinda fitting.

Channel Surfing – April 1, 2010

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

– It’ll be a Precious episode of Saturday Night Live, as Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe is set to host an upcoming show (no date has been set yet).

– I thought this was an April Fool’s story, but it’s not: WE is debuting a reality series called Sunset Daze, a sort of geriatric version of Jersey Shore, featuring one mature lady who likes to talk about “Bob,” which is her name for her um, personal pleasure accoutrement. OK, sex toy. Read if you dare.

– Two more shows on the WE horizon for later this year: Mother Knows Best? (the question mark is part of the title, not any sort of commentary), a reality series in which Joan Rivers moves to Los Angeles and into the home of her daughter Melissa; Wayne’s World, a reality show that will revolve around Vegas legend Wayne Newton and his life on and off the stage; and Staten Island Cakes, about a 19-year-old named Vinny, who runs an Italian bakery with his family (and yes, this is obviously WE’s answer to Cake Boss).

– Next week’s Masters might be the highest-rated golf event ever, not just because of the 3D broadcast, but also, of course, because it marks TigerWoods‘ first event since The Scandal.

Band of Brothers and Desperate Housewives star Neal McDonough has reportedly lost his role in an ABC series because he refuses to do sex scenes, in deference to his family man status and religious beliefs. If it’s true, you have to admire the commitment, especially with the Tiger, Jesse James, etc. scandals …

Glee, Modern Family and the perpetually underrated Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson are among this year’s winners of the prestigious Peabody Awards.

– Speaking of Glee, if you’re between the ages of 16 and 26 and have dreams of being on the show, they’re looking for fresh talent.

– Oh, and the Glee gang is on the cover of the new Rolling Stone.

– Oscar nominee Julianne Moore makes her special As the World Turns guest appearance on Monday, April 5. Moore will reprise her early-career role of Frannie Hughes, as she helps celebrate Bob and Kim’s big anniversary and vows renewal. Especially with the classic soap in its last months before the series finale in September, big points to Moore for remembering her soap roots and agreeing to the guest spot.

– RIP journalist, TV writer and, apparently, George Clinton expert, David Mills, who died on the set of his upcoming HBO series Treme earlier this week. EW.com writer Ken Tucker (one the best TV writers/critics ever, IMHO) wrote a sweet tribute to Mills, putting a personal and more informative touch on the rote obit.

– Last year’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia live performance of “The Nightman Cometh,” the upcoming Conan O’Brien comedy tour, the upcoming Glee concerts … I love this trend of our favorite shows hitting the road. The latest: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live!

Matt Damon on 30 Rock …. it’s happening.

24 producer Howard Gordon says fans should be patient with the Dana Walsh character, who most fans have been hating on this season. I’d argue, though, that it’s not just that the character is annoying. So is Katee Sackhoff‘s wooden acting in portraying her.

Law & Order is in danger of not making it to a record-setting 21st season. Will fans start a “save our show” campaign?

– And no, you were not the only one ticked off about that annoying V countdown clock ABC ran during this week’s Lost episode.

Channel Surfing – March 29, 2010

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

– Maybe something good will come out of the cheesy Marriage Ref after all: After appearing as judges together on an episode of Jerry Seinfeld‘s NBC reality show, Larry David wants Ricky Gervais to guest star on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

– Can’t wait ’til April 11 to see the final season premiere of The Tudors? Showtime has posted an edited version of the episode at YouTube.com.

– ABC’s asking for Oscar-type money for ads during the May 23 Lost series finale: $900,000 for a 30-second spot.

– Thanks to a new app from Idol Fanatic, you can vote for your favorite American Idol contender via Facebook. No confirmation yet that Fox and the show’s producers will give their official stamp of approval to the process, though.

– According to the New York Post, Bachelor Jake Pavelka is trying to cook up an acting career.

– Sounds like Gwyneth Paltrow‘s Goop.com: Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher is partnering with Disney for a “chick’s guide to life” Website called – yes – GetHatched.com.

– Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, whose career breakout was the sketch comedy series In Living Color, is producing a new sketch comedy series pilot for Fox.

Watch David Letterman try to explain to British chef Jamie Oliver why his food makeover series Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution isn’t going to be successful in changing Americans’ eating habits. It’s a funny exchange, and Letterman makes some good points, but you still have to admire Oliver’s efforts on his new ABC series.

– Hallmark and Martha Stewart are in talks to launch a new lifestyle cable channel.

– The “spring premiere” of new Glee episodes is set for April 13 on Fox, but at a wacky time: 9:28 PM ET.

– The NBC Website doesn’t reflect the change yet, but the network has rescheduled the season premiere of Friday Night Lights – the season that already aired on DirecTV – for May 7.

Weekend at Bernie’s star Jonathan Silverman and former Smallville star Michael Rosenbaum are starring in Saved by Zeroes, a SyFy comedy pilot that sounds fun: The two will play friends and actors who starred together in a cult-fave sci-fi TV show, but who have since seen their popularity wane. Rosenbaum also created the series.

– Funny guy Martin Short (a.k.a. Jiminy Glick and Ed Grimley), most recently seen on Damages, will star in the Fox comedy pilot Tax Man, where he’ll play the boss of an IRS office in Fresno. Numb3rsDavid Krumholtz co-stars.

– And though it’s still a huge bummer that 24 won’t make it to a ninth season, the final episodes will include two great guest stars: Michael Madsen and Eriq La Salle.

10 Things We Know About the Return of ‘Glee’

Didja see the little Glee preview that aired during American Idol last night? If not, check it out below. The clip features a snippet of the much-anticipated Madonna episode (scheduled to air on April 20), though Glee‘s first new episode of 2010 will premiere on April 13.

And what can we expect from season 1, part 2? Glad you asked …

1. Tony Award winner (and Mrs. Taye Diggs) Idina Menzel will join the cast for the final nine episodes of season one, as the director of Vocal Adrenaline, the Glee gang’s rivals. Menzel is also a possible love interest for Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) … the words “big makeout scene” have been used to describe one of her interactions with Mr. Schu.

2. Although … the preview clip seems to show Mr. Schu about to lock lips with guidance counselor Emma (Jayma Mays). Let’s hope that’s not a fantasy sequence or part of some musical number.

3. About the Madonna ep: It may include as many as 10 Madonna songs, including Sue Sylvester’s (Jane Lynch) version of “Vogue” (gotta love her in the cone bra in the preview), Rachel’s (Lea Michele) “Express Yourself,” and, very appropriately, preggers Quinn (Dianna Agron) singing “Papa Don’t Preach.” “Like a Virgin,” “Crazy for You,” “Borderline” and “Open Your Heart” are rumored to also be among the tunes.

4. Michele’s Spring Awakening co-star Jonathan Groff will guest star as Jesse, a Vocal Adrenaline-ian.

5. Best rumor: That Neil Patrick Harris will guest star in an episode of the show, which is being directed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer daddy – and NPH’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog cohort – Joss Whedon.

6. Jennifer Lopez as a cafeteria worker? Series creator Ryan Murphy says he’s talking to J. Lo about playing a cafeteria worker who gets a glam makeover and, as a result, looks like, well, J. Lo. Is it too much to hope that snippets of Adam Sandler‘s “Lunchlady Land” will fall into the mix?

7. Olivia Newton-John + Sue Sylvester = Performing Newton-John’s classic ’80s tune “Physical” … it’s happening in an April episode of Glee. “Physical,” by the way, was just named the sexiest song ever by Billboard magazine.

8. If you missed the cast’s big promotional tour last year before Glee premiered, get ready to purchase tickets this summer, when Gleeks everywhere — actually, in select cities — can buy tix to the Glee summer tour. Scheduled stops so far include New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Dallas and Orlando.

9. Still more guest cast news: Former Saturday Night Live star Molly Shannon will play a teacher/badminton coach/big user of pharmaceutical enhancements who tussles with Sue Sylvester. Shannon is scheduled for a May episode.

10. And re: storylines, rumored happenings include Quinn having her baby, Rachel getting romantic with Puck (Mark Salling) again, Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) not giving up on her marriage, the revelation of some info on Puck’s home life and Sue once again torturing poor Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba).

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