News Briefs: Alcatraz, Smash Hit Ratings Lows



... Ratings have been pretty crummy all around lately, as major networks continue to go the way of the dinosaur in the face of cable competition. Smash, which was supposed to be a big hit for NBC, continued to drop in its third episode with 6.47 million viewers and a 2.39 rating in the 18-49 demographic. That's not good, considering it has such a beefy lead-in in The Voice (16.68 million viewers in its 9pm hour). Things weren't any better for Fox's Alcatraz which dropped to a series low for the second straight week with 5.96 million viewers and a 1.8 rating, worse than Terra Nova ever did. More worrying is that it finished in fourth place. Tough decisions are coming up for both Fox and NBC. [TV By the Numbers]


... Lionsgate has canceled its blue comedy Blue Mountain State after failing to find a new home for the series. The show was passed on in November by Spike TV, which aired all three of its seasons thus far. Until now, hope remained that someone else would pick it up. [Zap2It]


... Fox is casting for Take Me Out, a new dating show based on a U.K. series. The idea is this: A single man is trotted out before 30 single women, who indicate their interest in him by keeping a light on. If multiple women remain interested once he's finished his spiel is over, they fight for his interest. The women stick around for the entire season, and dates between "winners" are shown to the audience. Great. [EW]


... Titus Welliver has found a lead role in the NBC pilot Midnight Sun, a thriller about members of a cult-like commune who go missing in Alaska. Welliver will play the leader of the cult, which is perfect-o for the talented actor who you'll remember as the Man in Black from Lost, an Irish gangster from Sons of Anarchy, a firefighter from Touch, and the God of War from Supernatural. Seriously, this guy is in all kinds of crazy good stuff. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Fellow Lost vet Dominic Monaghan will host a new travel series for BBC America. Wild Things will see Monoghan packing his bags in search of gigantic insects (awesome!) all over the globe. Look for it later this year. [THR]

... Dichen Lachman has joined the Shawn Ryan pilot Last Resort, a thriller from ABC about a rogue nuclear submarine that establishes its own independent nation after it refuses to follow questionable orders from the U.S. government. The exotic Lachman will play a native bar owner on the island the sub's crew docks at. She joins a cast that already includes Andre Braugher and Autumn Reeser. Here's hoping that Lachman and Reeser get into a sandy beach fight in bikinis. I'll pass on seeing Braugher in a bikini, though. [TV Line]

... And the sci-fi love continues! Milo Ventimiglia, who has been pretty M.I.A. since Heroes ended, will co-star in Frank Darabont's L.A. Noir. The TNT drama is set in the 1950s and follows cops and crooks in Los Angeles. The Walking Dead's Jon Bernthal (Shane!) is also in talks to join the series. [Deadline Hollywood]

... House's Peter Jacobson is the first actor from that series to land a new gig following the announcement that House will end at the end of this season. Jacobson will recur in Showtime's new series Ray Donovan, which stars Liev Schrieber as a "fixer" to the rich and famous in Los Angeles. [Deadline Hollywood]

... War Horse star Matt Milne is joining Downton Abbey. He'll play Alfred, the nephew of O'Brien. Not gonna lie, I have no idea what I just wrote. [Digital Spy]

... Taylor Kinney (The Vampire Diaries) has landed the lead in the NBC firefighter drama Chicago Fire. He'll play the macho leader of the department. Apparently he's dating Lady Gaga in real life, so if his taste in roles is anything like his taste in women, this show will make me vomit. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Lindsay Lohan is hosting Saturday Night Live on March 3. Wait, Lindsay Lohan is still alive? [NBC via press release]

... In Plain Sight's Mary McCormack has signed on for the lead role in an untitled ABC comedy pilot. In it, she'll play a corporate executive who is laid off and must become a full-time mom to her two teenage kids. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Last one, I promise! Jeanne Tripplehorn (Big Love) will guest-star on Fox's New Girl as the ex-wife of a future love interest (Dermont Mulroney) of Jess'. Or is it Jess's? Or Jesses'? Or Je'ss? Or Jes's's's's's? [EW]

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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