News Briefs: Fox Gets in Touch with Kiefer Sutherland

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THE IMPORTANT STUFF

... Kiefer Sutherland is back in the TV business. The 24 star will headline the Fox series Touch—one of the more high-profile projects currently in development—which was just picked up to series today. It comes from the mind of Heroes creator Tim Kring, so take that however you like; for me, it's a red flag. The sci-fi-ish drama is about a father (Sutherland) who discovers his mute 11-year-old son has the special ability to see things no one else can see and connect unrelated events through numbers. In the original pitch for the project, the son was autistic and could see the future. We'll see what sticks and what's thrown out when it debuts this spring. Also starring are Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Undercovers) and Danny Glover. [Fox via press release]

... Fox debuted its much- over-hyped The X Factor last night, and it turns out that people have better taste than I thought. Assumed by some to be a monster hit in its American debut, The X Factor bombed by Simon Cowell's standards, who said it would be a disappointment if it didn't reach 20 million total viewers. Well, Simon, you got 12.5 million. Normally that would be fine and dandy, but The X Factor comes in with obvious comparisons to American Idol, and it didn't come anywhere near the latter show's ratings. By comparison, the last season of Idol notched 26.23 million viewers. By even more recent comparison, last night's Modern Family grabbed more than 14 million viewers. Simon says: "Bollocks!" [TV By the Numbers]

... Speaking of testicles: Shocker! Lifetime has canceled Roseanne's Nuts. [Washington Post]

... But on the flip side, Lifetime has renewed Drop Dead Diva for a fourth season. [Deadline Hollywood]


THE CASTING STUFF

... Katie Holmes, who somehow manages to stay relevant enough to appear on awards shows in an attempt to combat her image as the womb from which Tom Cruise's army will emerge from (it's not working), will guest-star on How I Met Your Mother. She'll play the Slutty Pumpkin, a character that's been referred to for several seasons but has never been seen. If you were looking for a reason to give How I Met Your Mother a chance... you're probably still looking for one. [Vulture]

... Dexter's Courtney Ford will guest-star on The Big Bang Theory as that rarest of rare creature who exists only in the imaginations of geeks everywhere: the hot artsy chick who digs comic books. Call me, Courtney! [TV Line]

... Just when you thought Billy Zane had used up all his luck on bedding Kelly Brook (Survival Island might be the most paused and rewound movie in history), we've learned that the guy can still find work on network television. Zane will guest-star on The Playboy Club as the younger brother of [spoiler alert if you didn't see the first five minutes of the show] murdered mob boss Bruno Bianchi. He'll first appear in the show's sixth episode, also known as "three episodes after it's canceled." [TV Guide]

... Entourage creator Doug Ellin has booked two more actors for his next HBO series, 40. Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos, Detroit 1-8-7, tequila pitchman) and Adrian Pasdar (Heroes) will join Ed Burns and Michael Rapaport as aging bros in this dramedy about not being thirty-something anymore. [Deadline Hollywood]


THE WILD AND WACKY STUFF

... I do not understand this at all. AMC has given the greenlight to... ugh... I can barely write this. Let's try again. AMC is moving forward with... . Bleh. AMC will debut... choke, gasp, gargle... Talking Dead, a live chat show discussing The Walking Dead immediately after the zombie drama airs. It will be hosted by Chris Hardwick and watched by no one. [Deadline Hollywood]

... And here's more proof that even your eight-year-old sister can develop winning reality show ideas: The CW is working on a show called Extreme Musical Chairs. It is exactly what it sounds like. Suddenly, H8R sounds like The Wire. [Variety]


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

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