With the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour in full swing, there’s no shortage of TV news at the start of this week. After the jump:

  • Ryan Murphy‘s Normal Heart is coming to HBO
  • Ricky GervaisLife’s Too Short will end this season
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar is returning to TV with a comedy
  • NBC explains why it passed on Mockingbird Lane
  • Community‘s fourth season will have “more heart”
  • Up All Night loses its creator as it undergoes a revamp
  • Steve Carell will probably never return to The Office
  • Revolution‘s midseason premiere gets a new trailer
  • Watch a promo for Kevin Williamson‘s The Following
  • Starz offers trailers for Magic City and Da Vinci’s Demons

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While we’ve been running around preparing for and celebrating the holidays, a few interesting bits of TV news have broken over the past few days. After the jump:

  • How I Met Your Mother will return for Season 9
  • Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B— get shuffled
  • Timothy Olyphant books an Archer guest role
  • Why did Glen Mazzara leave The Walking Dead?
  • The CW is developing a female Robin Hood series
  • NBC’s failed The Farm will air as an Office episode
  • Bryan Fuller‘s Mockingbird Lane is officially dead
  • Girls Season 2 gets two new trailers and a featurette
  • Downton Abbey is losing a star in Season 4

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Winter is coming, both in the regular winter-related sense and also in the sense that Game of Thrones‘ Season 3 premiere is slowly but surely approaching. After the jump:

  • Jesse Plemons heads to HBO’s Cold War series The Missionary
  • Lauren Ash joins Rebel Wilson and Liza Lapira in Super Fun Night
  • Mark Wahlberg creates a The Fighter-inspired reality show for A&E
  • CBS cancels Partners; ABC nixes 666 Park Avenue and Last Resort
  • See some dark early concept art from Bryan Fuller‘s Mockingbird Lane
  • HBO reveals its first not very revealing teaser for Game of Thrones
  • Enjoy a trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas special “The Snowmen”

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Today’s TV Bits centers mostly around renewals, pickups, and projects in development, though there’s an interesting holiday-appropriate video in here for you as well. After the jump:

  • Showtime renews Homeland for a third season
  • CBS’ Elementary and Vegas get full-season orders
  • CW wants more Arrow, Beauty & the Beast, and Emily Owens
  • Jimmy Fallon’s Guys With Kids gets five more scripts
  • Big Bang Theory writer is developing Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • Fox’s New Girl and Raising Hope get two more episodes
  • ABC commits to bar-set Mixology, from Hangover scribes
  • Jane Fonda books a starring sitcom gig on ABC’s Now What?
  • Boardwalk Empire writer sells Jane Austen and West Memphis Three dramas
  • Fox is working on non-superpowered superhero comedy The B Team
  • Jennifer Garner returns to TV as an executive producer
  • Watch a new clip from NBC’s Mockingbird Lane

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Time once again to speculate about just what NBC expects out of Mockingbird Lane, the Munsters revamp from producer/writer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) and director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men). Over the past couple weeks we’ve heard that the expensive pilot came in below NBC’s standards, and that the network was either dumping the show altogether, or airing the pilot as a pre-Halloween special in order to make back a few bucks on the investment.

Now we’ve got the first ad for the show, so we know the “one-time special” airing is really happening. This is also our first real look at what Fuller and Singer pulled together for the show, which stars Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as his wife Lily, and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa.

It’s an effects-heavy comedy with an aesthetic that will be familiar to fans of Fuller. The stuff pulled for this brief tease looks pretty good, especially by television standards. Whether the comedy works or not will come down to personal preference, but for a pilot that has been the subject of such pessimistic speculation this doesn’t look like a wreck.

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NBC to Air ‘Mockingbird Lane’ as Halloween Special?

I’m not sure how interested people really were in a revamped modern version of The Munsters, but the story around the debut (or not) of the show has become interesting.

The short form is that Bryan Fuller and NBC worked together for a couple years to develop a new take on The Munsters, which eventually became Mockingbird Lane, starring Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as Lily Munster, and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa, directed by Bryan Singer. Then last week, Deadline reported that NBC didn’t like the pilot and wouldn’t be picking up the show. Fuller quickly denied the report on Twitter, and many people thought “oh, stupid Deadline fell for some biased insider report and messed up the story.”

But now, another trade is reporting that NBC is looking for a way to salvage the investment in the pilot, and will air it as a Halloween special this year before washing their hands of the whole thing. Read More »

Briefly: Over the past couple years Bryan Fuller and NBC have been working to come up with a new take on The Munsters, the ’60s TV show that vaguely melded the Universal monsters with then-popular TV sitcom family concepts. Bryan Singer ended up coming on board to direct the pilot for what became Mockingbird Lane, with Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as his wife Lily, and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa.

Described, perhaps appropriately given what the show was trying to update, as a cross between True Blood and Modern Family, the pilot is one that NBC has dithered over for a while. Now Deadline reports that the network is unlikely to pick it up for series. Read More »

As the Bluths and the Munsters prepare to come back to TV, it looks like SAMCRO and the MacLaren’s gang may be on their way out. After the jump:

  • Here’s Michael Cera on the Arrested Development set
  • More details on the Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane
  • Modern Family‘s adults get their raises, kids want the same
  • FX renews Louie and probably Wilfred and Justified
  • Anger Management gets Martin Sheen, many more episodes
  • FX’s Sons of Anarchy will likely end after Season 7
  • How I Met Your Mother will treat Season 8 like it’s the last
  • … which means releasing a new original soundtrack, apparently
  • CBS unveils posters for Elementary, Vegas, and more

Read More »

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