News Briefs: The CW Orders the Web Comedy Backpackers to Series

By Tim Surette

Apr 09, 2014

A NETWORK FINDING ITSELF NEWS

... The CW is growing up and taking that rite-of-passage backpacking trip across the world. Or at least making a show about it. The network will air 10 half-hour episodes of the comedy Backpackers this summer. Noah Reid and Dillon Casey will star as a pair of buddies who trek all over the globe in search of Ryan's missing bride-to-be. Backpackers already has a life on the web as part of CW Seed, an online studio that makes digital content. The four episodes already released online will be repurposed, but the final six will be all-new. [CW via press release]


BUSINESS TIME

... Oh Lordy, Bravo has announced a million new and returning shows and they're the bane of my existence. Let's get this over with! Returning to Bravo are: Below Deck (Season 2), Don't Be Tardy... (Season 3), Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles (Season 7), The Real Housewives of New Jersey (Season 6), Top Chef (Season 12), The Millionaire Matchmaker (Season 8), The Real Housewives of Atlanta (Season 7), The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Season 5), Shahs of Sunset (Season 4), Vanderpump Rules (Season 3), Fashion Queens (Season 3), Newlyweds (Season 2), Thicker Than Water (Season 2), Blood Sweat & Heels (Season 2), and Watch What Happens Live (Season 7). New scripted series include Odd Mom Out, a half-hour comedy about "momzillas" on New York's Upper East Side, and Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce, starring Lisa Edelstein as a self-help book author who's secretly separated from her husband. Among the new unscripted projects are cooking reality show Top Chef Duels, restaurant competition Best New Restaurant, voyeuristic dating show 100 Dates, friendzone-breaking Friends to Lovers?Real Housewives of New Jersey spin-off Manzo'd with Children, Euro-trash docu-series Euros of Hollywood, British socialist watch Ladies of London, pageant series Game of Crowns, real-estate series Million Dollar Listing Miami, fish-out-of-water series Jersey Belle, divorce series Untying the Knot, parenting-advice series Extreme Guide to Parenting, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Kandi's Wedding, which needs no explanation. Also, Bravo has canceled Princesses: Long Island. If you'll pardon me, I'm going to take a shower to rinse off all the filth now. [Bravo via press release]

... Netflix has released new details on its upcoming drama Marco Polo, which was ordered to series back in January. Production is now underway; shooting locations will include Malaysia, Italy, and Kazakhstan, Season 1 has been upped to 10 episodes from nine, and the cast features international actors Lorenzo Richelmy, Benedict Wong, Zhu Zhu, Tom Wu, Remy Hii, and Rick Yune. But it's still about the famous Italian trader and not the pool game. Look for it in late 2014. [Netflix via press release]

... Starz has slapped a premiere date on Power, 50 Cent's new drama about all the stuff 50 Cent likes to rap about, like women, power, and bidness. But if you want the specifics, it follows a night-club owner who also moonlights as a drug dealer. Look for Power on Saturday, June 7 at 9pm. [Starz via press release]

... NBC is fishing for comedy talent through a new program called "NBC Comedy Playground." The network is asking for video submissions (five- to 10-minute samples or two- to five-minute pitches) and will start accepting ideas on May 1 through the project's website. If the network doesn't receive anything good, it'll probably just give Sean Hayes another show. [NBC via press release]

... But until then, NBC will continue to order silly shows like NBC's Epic Funnies (yes that's the real title), a variety clip show in the vein of America's Funniest Home Videos. NBC has ordered six episodes of the hour-long (AN HOUR LONG!?) series. No premiere date has been set. [Deadline Hollywood]


CASTING NEWS

... Shirley MacLaine will be dropping by Glee for a few episodes before the end of Season 5. The Oscar-winner will play a powerful socialite in the Big Apple who's looking to turn Blaine into a star. Her first appearance on the show will happen later this month. [TV Line]

... British actor Ben Miller will be the Doctor's guest in the next season of Doctor Who. Miller, who's known across the pond as one half of Armstrong and Miller and the star of Primeval, will play a villain in an episode penned by Mark Gatiss. Doctor Who returns later this year. [BBC America via press release]

... Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical and a recent guest spot on Review) and George Wendt (Cheers) will star in TBS's untitled barbershop comedy from the creators of Will & Grace. Tisdale will play a barber and Wendt will play the former owner of the shearing shop. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Dollhouse's Enver Gjokaj will guest-star on Rizzoli & Isles for multiple episodes. He'll play a Boston University professor who meets Rizzoli AND Isles. Gjokaj just needs his own show already, the guy can act. [TV Line]

... Oscar Nunez (The Office) and Kerri Kenney (Reno 911!) wil guest-star on the season finale of New Girl. They'll play employees of a cruise that the gang goes out on. [TVGuide.com]

... Linda Hamilton, mother of John Connor, is sticking with science-fiction and will guest-star on Season 2 of Syfy's Defiance. She'll play the estranged wife of Rafe. Plus there's a new trailer! [EW]


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  • TrevPlatt Apr 10, 2014

    For those of you who don't know Ben Miller check out the first two seasons of Death in Paradise, it's one of the best detective series you'll ever see.

  • hockeyrick Apr 10, 2014

    I love Defiance!!!

  • JT_Kirk Apr 10, 2014

    I was kinda hoping those awful Bravo shows would have been the bane of Kaitlin's existence, somehow a 20-something girl being just as disgusted by the terrible pandering that Bravo has become is funnier. I think at this point, Bravo is just trying to out-do Kroll Show for number of ridiculous parodies of life. And Tim, the filth requires showering your soul.

    Here's what I don't get about NBC, they keep stabbing at stand up comedy with this Comedy Playground idea and with Last Comic Standing, and they're known for putting standups on their late night shows, so why not just find a timeslot that is really sagging and just put on a weekly standup show, either a single act or several? Comedy Central barely does it during the week, so the market is ripe for the plucking.

    George Wendt and Ashley Tisdale in a sitcom, this sounds so unlikely a pairing that I can picture Family Guy cartoon versions standing back to back on a title card as a gag. The switch would be that Tisdale is a barber, and Wendt is a teenage girl.

  • dashheadlong Apr 10, 2014

    Awesome seeing all the Enver Gjokaj. He was easily one of the strongest performers on Dollhouse, and his character acting skills are seriously going to waste with a lot of the roles he has gotten since then. Someone really should give him a show. You hear me, high powered network execs who obviously spend their time perusing the comments sections of various television sites!

  • vlbb22 Apr 10, 2014

    "Gjokaj just needs his own show already, the guy can act."

    True dat.

  • Jossjunkie Apr 10, 2014

    Yay for Enver Gjokaj! I've never seen Rizzoli & Isles but anything to get him more exposure. Like Tim said he needs his own show, stat.

  • KevinG87 Apr 10, 2014

    it'll be weird seeing the 8 episodes of Backpackers condensed into 4 episodes, each episode took place in a new city and it fit the format well... should've just did 8 new webisodes and left it alone. I'm sure they'll end up taking them off CW Seed's website and youtube.

  • LarissaPeixot Apr 09, 2014

    Is Defiance still boring?Or did it get better?

  • DresserBoys Apr 09, 2014

    Gah, the NBC thing-y has to be Video Submissions.

  • WavSlave Apr 09, 2014

    Ugh, that TBS series has "seriously unfunny" written all over it. George Wendt (post-Cheers) alone almost guarantees that. Its being a TBS production makes it a lock.

    I was going to ask rhetorically when we'll finally see Enver Gjokaj starring in something rather than perpetually guest starring in things but you beat me to it. I really hope he gets his chance one day. The guy's consistently impressive. His truly amazing work on Dollhouse alone should've bought him a ticket to bigger things by now.

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