News Briefs: History Channel Is Getting Into Scripted Television

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CABLE CHANNEL MISNOMER NEWS

... Though it's not as bad as MTV not playing music, Cartoon Network airing live-action programming, and Syfy greenlighting a cooking show, History Channel, once television's home for grainy war footage and Hitler, is entering the scripted drama field. The network has ordered the series Vikings, a historical drama about those horned-helmet-wearing pillagers. It comes from Michael Hirst, the creator of Showtime's The Tudors. The press release says it won't include "mindless, graphic slaughter," as though that's a good thing. [History Channel via press release]

THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE IS CRUMBLING NEWS

... The season finale of The Bachelor saw a 36-percent drop from last year's finale, a clear sign that America no longer cares about true love. It was the lowest-rated finale of the show ever. [Deadline Hollywood]

PICKUPS AND PASSES NEWS

... David Cronenberg, the weirdo behind the weirdo films Naked Lunch and Crash and pretty good films A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, is producing and directing his first television series. Called Knifeman, the drama follows a surgeon who goes to unusual lengths to understand human anatomy and is based on the books by Wendy Moore. [EW]

... HBO has passed on Spike Lee's project Da Brick. The potential show was inspired by Mike Tyson's real life and examined a young boxer who struggles to make it in post-racial America because he bites people's ears and threatens to eat their children. I may have made up that last part. [Deadline Hollywood]

CASTING ROUNDUP

... Khandi Alexander (CSI: Miami, Treme) will guest star on USA's new dramedy Common Law. She'll play the wife of a police captain that sends two of his detectives to couples counseling because they don't get along. [TV Guide]

... Spartacus has cast Julius Caesar for its upcoming third season. Todd Lasance, an Australian actor, will play young Julius and he makes his way up the ranks. [Starz via press release]

... The Vampire Diaries' Matt Davis is sticking with The CW. He's been cast as the lead in the network's pilot Cult, about a production assistant and a blogger who investigate copycat murders inspired by a popular TV show. Davis will play the blogger and will reportedly still be able to guest star on The Vampire Diaries, where he plays Alaric Saltzman. Or they're just saying that because he's getting killed off. [Deadline Hollywood]

... The CW has also cast its male lead for The Selection, a drama pilot set 300 years in the future. William Mosely (The Chronicles of Narnia) will play Aspen, a young royal who is secretly dating a poor lady that gets selected to compete for the love of a prince. Wow! Drama already! This has been compared to Hunger Games, so I guess that means he's kind of like Gale? [Deadline Hollywood]

... Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show) has landed on NBC's comedy pilot DILFs, about a bunch of new dads who aren't ready to be dads. She'll play the wife of Anthony Anderson's character. [TV Line]

... I'm president of the Anna Camp fan club, so you probably already got this news in my newsletter, but here it is anyway. The True Blood star has joined Mindy Kaling's Fox comedy pilot about a young Ob/Gyn (Kaling). Camp will play her best friend. [Deadline Hollywood]

... I'm also president of the Freddie Prinze Jr. fan club (long story) so apologies if you saw this too. Prinze has joined NBC's comedy pilot about a shy woman who exacts revenge on her ex-boyfriend with the help of her co-workers. Prinze will play the ex. [Deadline Hollywood]

... William Petersen (CSI, duh!) will produce and star in Hurt People, about a hitman (Petersen) that's assigned to kill his estranged daughter (it's complicated). The series doesn't have a home yet, but will be shopped to cable networks. [Deadline Hollywood]


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