Vampire Diaries Author, Showrunner Sink Teeth into New Series

... The CW has officially picked up The Secret Circle to pilot, which should leave all you Vampire Diaries fans pretty stoked. The show is based on the novels by L.J. Smith, the same author who wrote the source material for VD. In addition, VD showrunner Kevin Williamson will head up the project about a teenager who discovers she's a witch, so expect another small town that's unrattled when its ravaged by mysterious murders and some more awesome pictorial recaps from our own Price Peterson. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Charlie Sheen is a drug addict whose habit has cost the crew of Two and a Half Men lots of money while he toils away in rehab at his porn den. But at least the guy's trying to do something about it. Sheen has offered to reimburse the crew members of his hit sitcom while the show is on hiatus during his get-well period. He's paying a third of their salaries, while production house WBTV and CBS cover the other two-thirds. What a sweet man. Maybe I'll introduce him to my daughter. [EW]

... Four people have joined the casts of pilots, but we're only going to talk about one of them because he's frickin' Richard Alpert and I don't know who the other three are. Nestor Carbonell is joining the CBS pilot Ringer opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar. Gellar plays a young woman who is taken into FBI custody after being a target of the mob. Carbonell will play the FBI agent in charge of making sure she don't sleep with da fishes, capiche? We'll see who spends more time in the makeup chair putting on eyeliner. [Deadline Hollywood and yes I know Nestor doesn't actually wear eyeliner]

... This bit is just for me, because I think Norm Macdonald is high-larious. The former SNL-er, and best "Weekend Update" host, will host a new sports-themed show for Comedy Central called Sports Show with Norm Macdonald. The show is set up to be a Daily Show for sports, but without the "Daily" part as its only been given an order for eight episodes. Kind of weird since Comedy Central already has the disappointing SportsDome. [Comedy Central via press release]

... Traffic Light premiered last night, and the ratings say "Stop!" The show pulled in a 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demo and 4.6 million viewers, which is a bit disappointing given that its lead-in, Raising Hope, notched a 2.8 rating and 6.8 million viewers, and that the ratings-challenged-and-now-canceled Running Wilde started with a 2.5 in the same time period. Traffic Light: It's like Modern Family for relationships, minus the interesting characters! [TV By the Numbers]

... Actress Kerry Washington has landed the coveted lead role in Shonda Rhimes' upcoming ABC drama In Crisis. Washington will play a PR pro who specializes in repairing stars' reputations. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Private Practice's Audra McDonald is leaving the series at the conclusion of the current season. McDonald, who plays Naomi on the medical soap, wants to spend more time with her family. [TV Line]

... The latest cable channel to get into original programming is Cinemax, which is co-producing Strike Back with Brit cabler Sky. The series is a new take on the previously aired Sky series of the same name, which saw a British Special Forces soldier drawn back into the elite MI6. [Deadline Hollywood]

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Like on Facebook