News Briefs: Alcatraz Hits More Problems

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BIGGER NEWS

... Uh-oh, trouble in Alcatraz! The upcoming J.J. Abrams-produced Fox show has lost its showrunner and co-creator Elizabeth Sarnoff over creative differences. The sci-fi-ish drama, about missing guards and inmates at the world's most famous prison, will now be run by Jennifer Johnson (Chase) and screenwriter Daniel Pyne. Apparently this decision was also responsible for the production hiatus the show announced a few weeks back that consisted mostly of re-shoots. The show was considered to be Sarnoff's baby, so this is not a good sign. But then again, the pilot wasn't that good, so maybe it's actually a good thing. Find out next year on Alcatraz! [Deadline Hollywood]

... We're closer to a happy ending for fairy-tale procedural Grimm! NBC has ordered two more scripts of the freshman series, a medium-sized good sign that the network is considering picking up the show for more episodes. So far, Grimm has been a quiet surprise for NBC, ranking near the top of its highest rated series in the 18-49 demo. [Deadline Hollywood]

... NBC is thinking of adding more spooks to its schedule. The network is moving forward on a remake of The Munsters from Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies), ordering a pilot episode. The new take is said to have a darker tone than the original, which was really an oddball family comedy. Fuller is also developing the series Hannibal–about the infamous cannibal–at NBC. [EW]

... TLC is taking flight (hee hee) with Southwest Airlines for a new reality show. The docu-drama will show the behind-the-scenes goings-on at the Greyhound bus of the skies because everyone has run out of ideas for reality shows. This is the second unscripted program featuring Southwest; A&E; aired Airline in the middle of the last decade, which included such happenings as people too drunk to board a plane and an old man who pooped his pants. Can't wait for Pan Am to steal that storyline. [TLC via press release]

CASTING NEWS

... Meryl Streep's daughter Grace Gummer has landed a guest role on NBC's Smash, which is sadly not about the Hulk, but about the making of a Broadway musical. No details on her role, but I'm going to guess that at some point she'll break out into some song that your girlfriend loves. [Variety]

... Saturday Night Live alum Nora Dunn will stop by ABC's upcoming comedy Don't Trust the B----Apartment 23. She'll play a businesswoman who takes on June (Dreama Walker) as an intern. If you are wondering the "B----" in the title refers to, it's "Bacon."[EW]

... It's former Saturday Night Live female cast member casting day! Jane Curtin, the sketch show's ignorant slut of the '70s, has a new regular gig on CBS' Unforgettable. Curtin will play a member of the Queens police department with a vast knowledge of New York crime. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Estelle Harris, who played George's mom in Seinfeld, will recur on NBC's upcoming abomination Are You There, Chelsea?. She'll play the grandmother of fellow guest star Natasha Leggero. [TV Guide]

... Desperate Housewives' Roger Bart is joining Revenge for a major role. He'll play Mason Treadwell (really?), a journalist that's written a tell-all about Long Island high society. Look for him in episode 12. Bart was also in The Event where he played President Martinez's aid. Remember when the old man shot himself to make Sean the new alien-hunter? God that show was terrible. I miss it. [EW]

... Ugly Betty's Becki Newton (meow meow!) will guest star on How I Met Your Mother as a love interest for Neil Patrick Harris' Barney. Becki Newton is ON FIRE hot in case you were wondering where I stand on the situation. [TV Line]

... Happy Endings has cast Max's on-and-off-and-back-on boyfriend, and I'm a little too excited about this. James Wolk, who was GREAT in the short-lived (understatement) Fox drama Lone Star, will fill the role. Max is awesome and Wolk is awesome, so this, by the Accumulative Law of Awesomeness, is doubly awesome. [TV Line]


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom