News Briefs: Mad Men Has a Return Date

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SNOBBY TELEVISION RETURN DATE NEWS

... Mad Men, the greatest single television show ever created, has a return date! Star Jon Hamm visited comedian Doug Benson's podcast Doug Loves Movies, ate a pot brownie*, and let loose one of the biggest secrets in the business: Mad Men returns to AMC on March 25. Due to contract disputes, Season 5 was delayed, much to the chagrin of critics everywhere. (* = blatant lie, don't sue me Mr. Hamm. But if I were hanging out with Doug Benson, that's what I'd do.) [LA Times]


RATING THE RATINGS

... NBC's new drama The Firm debuted Sunday, but you probably didn't know that because the network did a horrible job promoting it. You probably didn't watch it either, because hardly anyone did. Only 6.2 million viewers tuned in for the big two-hour premiere, and the key demographic ratings were even worse: The Firm pulled in a 1.4 rating among adults. That's bad. Really bad. The Cape debuted to a 2.6. [EW]

... Showtime's House of Lies debuted fairly strong Sunday, with 1.03 million viewers showing up for its first airing. That's almost as many people as watched Homeland, the network's new critically adored drama. I reviewed House of Lies' debut, and gotta say I wasn't impressed off the bat. Potential is there, but it needs work. [Deadline Hollywood]


DEVELOPMENT DEALS

... Former The Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont has a new series in the works. TNT has ordered a pilot for Darabont's L.A. Noir, which is based on the book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City, not the videogame that I gave up on after I realized the interrogation tool was broken. The show will be set in the era of the 1940s and 1950s gangsters in the City of Angels. [TNT via press release]

... Fox has ordered a comedy pilot from Dana Fox (a Couples Retreat writer) called Ben Fox is My Manny. The series follows a single mom who lets her slacker brother move in to help her raise her kid. And it uses the word "manny" in the title, which should give you an indication of how good it will be. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Fox is looking to challenge Saturday Night Live's hold on late Saturday nights with new animated shows. The network is eying January 2013 as a start date for a late-night four-animated-series block. [LA Times]

... Marcia Gay Harden will play the lead in NBC's Isabel, which was just ordered to pilot. The comedy is based on the French-Canadian series Le Monde De Charlotte and follows "an otherwise normal, angry middle-class family that wrestles with the challenges of everyday life while raising daughter Isabel who has magical qualities." Normal, angry family? [Deadline Hollywood]

... IFC will continue its push into original comedy with Comedy Bang! Bang!, a sketch show from Scott Aukerman and Bunk. It's a game-show parody featuring guests "performing absurd comedy challenges." [IFC via press release]


CASTING NEWS

... Paul Rudd will guest-star on Parks and Recreation as Leslie Knope's rival in her quest for a seat on the city council. The news hasn't been confirmed yet, but if Vulture says it's true, it probably is. Rudd reportedly shot all his scenes last year. [Vulture]

... The Good Wife is having a guest-star party, inviting back Rita Wilson, Parker Posey, Denis O'Hare, Edward Hermann, John Benjamin Hickey, Amy Sedaris, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Anna Camp, Monica Raymund, and Jack Carpenter for the episode airing on February 19. They'll all reprise the roles they previously played on the CBS legal drama. [EW]

... Dermot Mulroney is dropping by New Girl as *surprise* a love interest for Jess (Zooey Deschanel). Mulroney will play the wealthy father of one of Jess's students, and just like in all other televised romances, they'll start off not liking each other. [TV Line]

... Also serving as man-meat for New Girl will be True Blood's Ryan Kwanten. In the February 14 episode, Kwanten will play a hot dude who just so happens to be very boring. [TV Guide]


WORK IT NEWS

... Puerto Ricans have taken issue with ABC's Work It, but not because it's a horrible show that should be used to torture suspected international terrorists. The group is mad because Angel (Amaury Nolasco) said, "I'm Puerto Rican. I would be great at selling drugs." They did not seem to be bothered by Angel dressing in women's clothes, though. [Fox News]


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