News Briefs: History Channel Is Getting Into Scripted Television

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]


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

Comments (16)
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I'm a big William Petersen fan, can't wait.
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History Channel making a drama about history is a lot better than producing Top Gear US - that makes NO DAMNED SENSE AT ALL. That said, History Channel is sorta low-rent, I cannot imagine them finding budget to make a show about vikings look good or survive on low ratings.



Khandi Alexander was also on NewsRadio, but then she was also in CB4 which was terrible (I saw it in the theater). Anyway, seems like a cakewalk of a role for her, and I am still on the fence about Common Law because it looks too much like a ripoff of Psych and a lot of other USA shows.



Holy crap, Vanessa Huxtable has a steady new tv job??? And she's playing against Anthony Anderson? Sounds good, but then you said "NBC" and I realized that meant it was canceled already. NBC is the new Fox.



William Petersen as a hitman? Is he going to nice them to death?
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mother fudge-r it really sucks being a tv addict sometime. I feel compelled to check out some of this new stuff just based on some of the concepts and the actors and my already overworked DVR is going to be overheated by the end of next summer. I just know it.
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Todd Lasance. Bahahaha! Home and Away to Spartacus.
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Tim, it couldn't be more obvious that you've never even read the Hunger Games if you think "a young royal who is secretly dating a poor lady that gets selected to compete for the love of a prince" is anything like Gale xD



Seriously, what is with TV.com writers these days that they stopped checking the facts of things before they say them? No trying to be snide but come on.
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History is a record of past events. Why does having a series about vikings mean that History Channel is a misnomer?
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If Alaric dies I will probably end with a broken laptop
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Vikings did not wear horns on their helmets.
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So, I've been wondering, is that "The Selection" pilot based on this book that has not been released yet that's called the Selection and is about that exact same thing: http://www.amazon.com/The-Selection-Trilogy-Kiera-Cass/dp/0062059939/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331703850&sr=8-1? Are we not even waiting for books to come out yet before basing tv shows on them?
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The phrase you were looking for is "great films like Naked Lunch and Videodrome".
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David Cronenberg doing TV. That would be absolutely incredible. Hopefully it will have a similar tone to Videodrome and not a similar tone to Dead Ringers. The Vikings show might be good too.
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I don't mind the history channel doing that if it is done well. It can't be worse than the multitude of annoying reality shows that are on there now.
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I'm looking forward to how Julius Caesar is portrayed in the next season of Spartacus. Good point about that report being a smoke screen to Alaric's death. Or maybe they'll just kill him off briefly.
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His ring is taking longer to revive him. Maybe they'll have it he dies, goes away for another show, and comes back when done or canceled, and explained as the ring finally getting around to working again.
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Or he could just go and visit Jeremy...
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No Jeremy is coming back before season 3 finishes and, if they are going to write out Alaric, they won't do it til the finale.
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