News Briefs: The Walking Dead Breaks Its Own Record


... The Walking Dead returned from break on Sunday and promptly broke its own records for basic cable. More than 8.1 million people watched the mid-season return (plus 2 million more watched the encore), and 5.4 million of those were in the coveted 18-49 age range. According to AMC, that's the biggest audience in that demographic for a basic cable drama in history! That proves that America just LOVES zombies! Or maybe it proves that they like people talking about zombies? [AMC, via press release]


... Fox has announced the end date for House. The doctor will check out for good on May 21. If you find yourself craving put-downs from doctors after that, go to your local hospital and start kicking people in the crotch. [E! Online]


... In-demand actress Becki Newton (Ugly Betty) might finally have a new home on television. Newton is set to star in The Goodwin Games, which Fox just ordered to pilot. The comedy comes from the minds behind How I Met Your Mother and follows a trio of adult children who will be left their father's inheritance only if they agree to his wacky terms. The talented Newton was wasted on NBC's Love Bites, which was mired in development hell before being forgotten on NBC. [EW]


... James Wolk, who was just seen as Max's boyfriend on Happy Endings and has been on everyone's hot list since starring in the short-lived Lone Star, will star in USA Network's Political Animals. The choice gives Wolk a bit of freedom and security as Political Animals is only plotted as a six-episode miniseries at the moment. However, if it's a success, USA could decide to give it a series run. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Michael B. Jordan (The Wire, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) is teaming up with FNL creator Jason Katims again in County. The NBC pilot follows a group of doctors and other hospital workers in Los Angeles. Already cast on the show is Jason Ritter. [TV Line]

... Spartacus: Vengance actor Peter Mensah has been cast as Kibwe, Chancellor for the Authority in HBO's True Blood. Whatever happened to simple True Blood castings for vampires, beefcake werewolves, and slutty fairies who shoot fireballs? Chancellor? Now this show is getting entirely ridiculous. With this news, the chances of Mensah's character Doctore surviving the current season of Spartacus just plummeted. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Ohhhhhhhhhhh! This one makes me happy, and for once I'm not being sarcastic. Henry Ian Cusick, better known as Desmond Hume from Lost, will appear in an upcoming episode of Fringe. He'll play an FBI agent in the 19th episode. Cusick can also be seen in ABC's Scandal, which debuts in April. [TV Line]

... Roseanne Barr's upcoming NBC pilot Downwardly Mobile, just upped its cred with its latest casting move: John Goodman! In the pilot, Barr stars as the owner of a trailer park. Goodman will play a man who lives there. The two spent several years together on-screen as a married couple on Roseanne. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Hmmm... looks like Carrie Matheson's search for Abu Nazir might take more than a few more episodes. Homeland has promoted Navid Negahban, who plays the super terrorist, to regular on the Showtime series. But the good guys got a promotion, too. David Marciano, who plays Carrie's buddy Virgil, has also been named regular. [TV Line]

... Movie star Ryan Phillippe has appropriately joined the CBS pilot Golden Boy (working title). He'll play a young cop who climbs the ranks of the police department, eventually ending up as police commissioner. Previously cast on the series, which comes from Greg Berlanti, was Chi McBride, which should make for a very interesting duo. [THR]


... Did you hear about Oprah Winfrey? The Queen of all Media hopped on Twitter just as the Grammys were getting under way on Sunday and tweeted: "Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if you have a Neilsen (sic) box." First of all, even I spellcheck my tweets and Oprah has eight million, nine hundred ninety-nine more followers than I do, so there's no excuse for the typo and third-grade shortcuts. Second, pandering to Nielsen families is a big no-no, Oprah. She later apologized for the tweet, and may face discipline from Nielsen despite the fact she can crush them like a bug. [LA Times]

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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