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News Briefs: The Hallmark Channel Will Fight Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl With a Kitten Bowl

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... It's an all-out Super Halftime Show animal war! The Hallmark Channel is planning counter Animal Planet's annual Puppy Bowl with the Kitten Bowl, a three-hour cute-fest designed to air opposite the championship football game. But instead of just being animals running around, Kitten Bowl will be an agility contest with actual rules, and not that fake garbage that the Puppy Bowl is. [THR


... Steve Carell (The Office) and James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) will star in the HBO film Bone Wars. The comedy follows a historic rivalry between two paleontologists in the 1800s as they comb the American West for dinosaur bones. Yep, I'll be watching this. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Despite positive reviews (including one from yours truly), NBC's new drama Hannibal failed to impress in the ratings last night, drawing 4.3 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in the adult demo. It finished third place in the time period (also known as last place), but given NBC's recent history there, it wasn't a terrible debut. Too bad, this is one of the better new shows to come out this season. [EW]

... ABC has made some late changes to its summer schedule. The drama Motive, a procedural in which the crime and killer are revealed early and discovering the motive is supposed to be the fun part, will now premiere on Monday, May 20 at 9pm before moving over to its regular time slot of Thursday, May 23 at 9pm. That pushes the premiere of The Bachelorette back a week to Monday, May 27 at 8pm. Great, now I have to change my vacation plans to the moon! [ABC via press release]


... In super weird casting news, Sons of Anarchy's Katey Sagal is heading over to Glee. She'll play Artie's mom in an unspecified number of episodes. [Ryan Murphy's Twitter]

... Pee Wee Herman's voice is joining the cast of the proposed Once Upon a Time spin-off. Paul Reubens will voice the character of the White Rabbit in the pre-curse Wonderland. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Joss Whedon loves to work with familiar faces, and it looks like he's bringing an old friend to his upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. project for ABC. J. August Richards, who played Charles Gunn on Whedon's Angel, is joining the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot in a secret role. Barring some sort of plot where the agents must cross-dress to get jobs, S.H.I.E.L.D. is practically guaranteed to get a series order, right? []

... Going from popular geek show Doctor Who to popular hipster show Girls? Okay, why not? Richard E. Grant, who plays the Great Intelligence this year on Doctor Who, will join the third season of the HBO series as a character named Jasper. No word yet on whether he'll play naked ping-pong with Hannah. [THR]

... Steven Weber is headed to TNT. The former Wings star has joined the drama pilot Murder in the First, a murder mystery starring Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson as detectives. Weber will play the personal pilot of a company CEO, proving typecasting spans decades! [Deadline Hollywood

... How's this for great casting? Creepy Julian Sands (Boxing Helena) is joining the Season 2 cast of Banshee. In the Cinemax action drama, Sands will play the younger brother of psycho Ukranian priest Rabbit. [TV Line]

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

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