News Briefs: Food Network Sticks a Fork in Paula Deen for Her Use of Racial Slurs

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TWO DAYS' WORTH OF BUSINESS TIME BECAUSE TIM'S ON VACATION:

... Food Network has thrown Paula Deen down its garbage disposal. The butter-peddling celebrity chef has been in hot water all week after admitting to using racial slurs and discussing her desire to have black waitstaff dress up as slaves during a court deposition. The situation boiled over this morning after Deen abruptly canceled an appearance on The Today Show, where she was scheduled to address the scandal; soon afterward, she cooked up a videotaped statement to beg forgiveness "for the wrong that I've done," then decided it didn't taste right, took it down, and prepared a different clip, which I've embedded above. But that didn't stop the Food Network from sending Deen back to the kitchen and announcing that it will not renew her contract when it expires at the end of this month. [Variety]

... Hell on Wheels has shut down production due to heavy rains and flooding in Calgary, Canada, where the series is currently filming. The city's entire downtown area has been evacuated, and the cast and crew—who were in the middle of shooting Episode 306—are en route back to the U.S. a few days ahead of a previously scheduled hiatus. AMC has pushed the Season 3 premiere date back by one week, from Saturday, August 3 to Saturday, August 10. [Deadline / AMC via press release]

... Showtime is developing a comedy from Arrested Development's David Cross about a travel writer who "struggles to keep his families happy and satisfied." Yes, that's families plural... because apparently this guy is also trying to keep them from finding out about each other's existence. So... Lonestar, the sitcom? [Deadline]

... Comedy Central has ordered The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, a TV-fied version of L.A.'s live stand-up comedy series The Meltdown starring Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani. This one's special to TV.com, cause it's co-executive-produced by our own Emily V. Gordon. Congrats Emily! [Comedy Central via press release]

... Cinemax is developing a Hunted spinoff with writer Frank Spotnitz (The X-FilesStrike Back); Sam Hunter would star Melissa George in a reprise of her role as a spy on the run from her former employer. The project would launch as a four-hour miniseries and allow Cinemax to keep Hunted alive in some form without any help from the BBC, which co-produced the original incarnation of the show but didn't want to move forward with a second season. Admittedly, I never watched Hunted; was it good? Will you check out this spinoff? [Deadline]

... Syfy has announced its next Creature Feature, and the very idea of it stands to terrify Sharktopus himself: Sharknado will premiere Thursday, July 11 and star Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills, 90210), Cassie Scerbo (Make It or Break It), John Heard (Home Alone, Prison Break), and Tara Reid (The Big LebowskiAmerican Pie, tabloid/paparazzi photos) as a group of owners and regulars of a beachside bar who team up "to investigate the ecological nightmare that has sharks swimming through the streets of Los Angeles and falling from the skies." Can't wait! [Syfy via press release] 

... Also on the Syfy Original Movie docket is Blast Vegas, starring Malcolm in the Middle's Frankie Muniz as a dude who travels to Sin City with his frat brothers for spring break, and then they get themselves into trouble when one of them steals an ancient Egyptian relic from a casino and releases a nasty curse on the Strip. Look for it on Thursday, July 18. [Syfy via press release]

... Remember that pilot from a couple years ago, Locke & Key, that was based on the graphic novels of the same name? Ultimately it never really went anywhere as a show, but now it's going to be a movie instead. [THR]

... Discovery is launching Warlocks Rising, a reality show about The Warlocks, a "one percent motorcycle club" in Florida. According to the network, the term came out of a statement by the American Motorcycle Association claiming that 99 percent of all motorcycle clubs don't do anything illegal, implying that one percent are not. Some folks have likened the show to "a real-life Sons of Anarchy"; the series premiere is scheduled for Friday, July 5 at 9pm. [Discovery via press release]

... I am originally from Cleveland and I so I really don't have anything nice to say about the Miami Heat's win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. But you know who does have something nice to say? ABC! The game netted a 17.7 overnight rating in total viewers, the second highest for a pro basketball game in 11 years. [Variety]


COMIC-CON NEWS:

... ABC has announced which shows its bringing to Comic-Con, which oh geez starts in less than a month now so I guess I should perhaps buy a plane ticket soon. Anyway, the network will host panels for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Friday, July 19), Once Upon a Time (Saturday, July 20), and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (also Saturday, July 20). How many of you guys are going to Comic-Con, by the way? (Muderboy, JT_Kirk... who else?) Anyone wanna try and meet up with me and Tim for a drink? [ABC via press release]

... Starz has also announced a bit o' Comic-Con news: The network will be screening its new Michael Bay pirate drama Black Sails on Thursday, July 18. [Starz via press release]

... For its part, Warner Bros. TV—which has shows on multiple networks—is bringing 16 series to the 'Con in some fashion or another: Almost Human (Preview Night pilot screening and Friday panel), The 100 (Preview Night pilot screening and Friday panel), The Originals (Preview Night pilot screening and Saturday panel), The Tomorrow People (Preview Night pilot screening and Saturday panel), MAD (Thursday panel), The Big Bang Theory (Friday panel), Childrens Hospital (Friday panel), The Following (Friday panel), Nikita (Friday panel),  Arrow (Saturday panel), Person of Interest (Saturday panel), Revolution (Saturday panel), The Vampire Diaries (Saturday panel), Supernatural (Sunday panel), Beware the Batman (Sunday panel), Teen Titans Go! (Sunday panel) [Warner Bros. via press release]


JAMES GANDOLFINI NEWS:

... Sopranos actor James Gandolfini's cause of death has been confirmed by an autopsy: As expected, the 51-year-old's sudden death on Wednesday was due to a heart attack. [Variety

... To pay tribute to Gandolfini's life and career, Bravo will re-air his appearance on Inside the Actors Studio three times in the coming week: Sunday, June 23 at 6pm; Monday, June 24 at 10:30am; and Wednesday, June 26 at 6pm. The episode was originally broadcast in 2004. [Bravo via press release]

... Perhaps unsurprisingly, sales of The Sopranos have skyrocketed on iTunes and Amazon in the days following Gandolfini's death. [Variety]


CASTING NEWS:

... Revolution's Charlie has landed a gig that will hopefully offer a reprieve from getting stuck under debris/punched in the face: Tracy Spiridakos will appear in an upcoming episode of Showtime's Episodes as Dawn, a relative of Morning Randolph. [Zap2It]

... Parenthood hasn't seen the last of the always excellent Ray Romano; the actor will reprise his role as Sarah suitor Hank for 12-15 episodes in Season 5. [Deadline]

... Kirstie Alley's upcoming TVLand sitcom is really racking up a roster: Kristin Chenoweth, Kirsten Johnson, and Cloris Leachman will all drop by for guest spots. That's in addition to previously announced cameos by Seinfeld vets Jason Alexander and Michael Richards, who will also appear on the comedy. [TV Guide]

... The Good Wife's Zach Grenier has been upped to series regular for Season 5. [CBS TV Studios' Twitter]

... Psych will feature visits from Loretta Devine and Peggy Lipton in Season 8. Devine will play Melba Birdsong, a former backup singer for 1960s crooner Myles Valour Jr. who Lassie tracks down because he thinks she might be able to help with a cold case. Lipton will take on the role of Scarlett Jones, the former "main squeeze" of a gangster who owned a supper club where cops and criminals rubbed elbows and Myles Valour Jr. performed. [USA via press release]

... Homeland's Zuleikha Robinson—she plays Roya, the journalist and Abu Nazir sympathizer who acted as a liaison between Nazir and Brody in Season 2—has booked a multi-episode arc on USA Network's Covert Affairs as a defense attorney. [TVLine]

... Whoopi Goldberg will executive-produce and star in a Lifetime adaptation of the best-selling book A Day Late and a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan. Whoopi! [THR]