News Briefs: People Can’t Get Enough of Breaking Bad's Disgruntled Bald Man Theater

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Note: I’ll be taking over News Briefs for the rest of the week to give Tim some time off. I promise not to Britta this.


BUSINESS TIME

... The empire business is apparently doing well. Sunday’s penultimate episode of Breaking Bad was the most-watched episode in the show’s history, with right around 3 million viewers tuning in to see that one bald guy do that bad thing to that other bald guy. [Vulture]

... ESPN and MLB have agreed to an eight-year contract extension worth $5.6 billion that will keep baseball on the World Wide Leader through at least 2012. The deal, which requires ESPN to pay double what it's been paying each year, gives the network playoff game coverage, something it lost the last time it negotiated. No word as to how ESPN will integrate Tim Tebow into this coverage. [THR]

... Apparently they weren’t kidding about living forever in that song: MGM TV and Nigel Lythgoe, uber-producer of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance are bringing Fame back to television with a contemporary re-imagining—not to be confused with the now less-contemporary re-imagining that happened with the 2009 feature film remake of the same property. So if you’re keeping track, Fame has now been: a 1980 film by MGM, a TV show that aired from 1982–1987, a 2009 film, and now another TV show. I eagerly await the 2028 film and the 2033 TV show. [Deadline Hollywood]

... The musical chairs (not to be confused with those of The CW’s immortal Oh Sit!, of course) of scheduling honchos continues, as ABC has recruited Andrew Kubitz, a CBS programming executive, to join its team. Kubitz replaces Jeff Bader, who left to go do a similar job over at NBC presumably for more money because really, who would want to do scheduling for NBC? [Variety]

... Steve Burton, a longtime fan-favorite on ABC’s General Hospital is leaving the show after more than 21 years playing Jason Morgan. I’d love to tell you I had a good quip here, but soaps have taken enough hits over the last few years and I’m more of a The Young and the Restless guy. [TV Guide]

... The comedy-script buying spree continues, as NBC has grabbed hold of pitch from Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith called Gates. The script is based on a British show of the same name that just debuted a few weeks ago and follows parents dealing with the awkward situations that arise when dropping off and picking up their kids outside of school. [Deadline Hollywood]


CASTING NEWS

... Bunhead Bailey Buntain will guest on an upcoming episode of The Middle as a new student who Sue tries to mentor through the social hierarchies of high school. Shockingly, Buntain’s character ends up faring better with the cafeteria’s one percent than Sue typically does. [EW]

... It’s that time of year when new series begin moving deeper into their initial episode orders and therefore need to fill a bunch of new roles. A slew of people joined new series over the last day or so. Michael Gaston (Damages, Fringe, Unforgettable) is coming to Last Resort for a multi-episode arc as the father of Autumn Reeser's character. He will probably wear a suit and glare at people. Pretty Little Liars’ Sterling Sulieman has joined The New Normal as the “Republican EMT brother” of NeNe Leakes’ character. Based on the subtle way Ryan Murphy handles things, I can’t wait to see his measured approach to Republican ideology. Michael Wiseman (The Closer) and Vinessa Shaw have been cast in recurring roles on CBS’s period drama Vegas. Shaw will play the wife of Michael Chiklis’s Vincent Savino and Wiseman will play the right-hand man to Jonathan Banks’ Chicago gangster character. I’m just happy that Banks is on another show where he gets to argue with more bald guys. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Though not casting per se, Katie Couric has announced the first guests for her aptly named daytime talk show, Katie, and if you had post-baby Jessica Simpson in your office pool then you should probably let me know where you work because it sounds like an awesome place. Simpson will be joined by Sheryl Crow, who apparently wrote and will perform the show’s theme song. If you miss the opening show on September 10, it’s okay, you can go back to 2003 and it will be just as relevant. Katie’s other early guests include: Jennifer Lopez, Hedi Klum, Demi Lovato, 50 Shades of Grey author E.L. James, and a bunch of other women. Literally, there are no men announced to appear on the show thus far. It’s like a gender reverse of most everything else on television. [Deadline Hollywood]


MAKING FUN OF JAY LENO IS AS PASSE AS JAY LENO NEWS

... Howard Stern is claiming that NBC reprimanded him for taking a shot at Jay Leno by calling Leno a “spineless maggot” during a rant about Leno’s supposed pay cut that could help save jobs over at The Tonight Show. I can’t wait until Leno responds to Stern by delivering a nine-minute monologue about Snooki’s pregnancy. [