News Briefs: John Malkovich and Christian Slater Are TV-bound

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... Actor John Malkovich will be getting a paycheck this summer, taking on the role of the dreaded pirate Blackbeard in NBC's short series Crossbones. The 10-episode action-adventure series, which NBC has yet to put a date on, follows an assassin who's sent to the Caribbean to kill Blackbeard in order to stop parrot-wearing pegleg-having rum-swilling sea bandits from ruining trade lines in the eighteenth century. Malkovich is a bona fide movie star, and this marks his first network TV role as a series regular. And it's on NBC. For a summer series. And he'll have to wear a fake beard. John, are you sure this was the show you wanted to come back to TV on? [TV Line

... The Daily Show's Jason Jones is trying the comedy pilot thing again, this time joining ABC's multi-camera comedy Divorced: A Love Story. He'll play one half of a recently divorced couple that finds out their lives are even worse when they're apart. Andrea Anders, of the late and great Better Off Ted, will play the ex-wife. If ABC picks up the series, Jones would likely leave The Daily Show, so I kind of want to root against this one because I'm selfish. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Christian Slater is bringing his curse I mean talents to ABC's pilot Influence, from Awake creator Kyle Killen. Slater will star opposite the previously cast Steve Zahn in the drama about two brothers—one a genius (Zahn) and one a charismatic ex-con (Slater)—who start a consulting agency that specializes in fixing problems through the real science of human motivation and manipulation. Slater has a dismal television track record, with Breaking InThe Forgotten, and My Own Worst Enemy to his credits. Killen's isn't much better. Here's hoping that their curses cancel each other out in a giant explosion of happy syndication. [TV Line

... Actress Minka Kelly, prepare to be pawed at by a horde of nerds! More than usual, I mean. The Friday Night Lights actress is adding the sci-fi genre to her resumé by joining the upcoming pilot from J.J. Abrams and Fringe's J.H. Wyman about robot cops in the future. Kelly will play a presumably human cop in the show, but who knows because if robot markers in the future were cool, they'd make them all look like Minka Kelly. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Martin Mull (comedy stuff from back in the day) has been cast in Seth MacFarlane's live-action Fox comedy Dads. He'll play one of the titular dads who move back in with their sons, making their sons' lives sucky. Fox has already ordered six episodes of the series. [TV Line]


... IFC has put a date on the upcoming comedy starring Marc Maron (the WTF with Marc Maron podcast): Friday, May 3. The comic's comic stars as a heightened version of himself, and the show will include guest stars Adam Scott, Ken Jeong, Denis Leary, Jeff Garlin, Eric Stoltz, Aubrey Plaza, and more. [IFC via press release]

... The online versions of All My Children and One Life to Live have premiere dates! The soaps, saved from cancellation by The Online Network, will debut on Hulu and iTunes on April 29 for free. Soaps have notoriously small budgets. Web series have notoriously small budgets. But a soap that's a web series!?!? It might look like one of those bootleg movies filmed on a Handi-cam from the back of a movie theater. [The Online Network via press release]

... The Ellen DeGeneres Show, or as the cool people call it, Ellen, has been renewed through 2017! [Deadline Hollywood]

... ABC Family has announced its summer premiere plans, and because I like you I've put the schedule in a relatively easy-to-understand list:

May 29
8:00pm  Melissa & Joey  (Season 3 premiere)
8:30pm  Baby Daddy (Season 2 premiere)
9:00pm  Dancing Fools (Series premiere) 

June 3
9:00pm  The Fosters (Series premiere)

June 10
8:00pm  Switched at Birth (Summer premiere)

June 11
8:00pm  Pretty Little Liars (Season 4 premiere) 
9:00pm  Twisted (Series premiere) 

July 24
9:00 The Vineyard (Series premiere)

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom

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