The European-set sequel to The Muppets has traded out Christoph Waltz for Ty Burrell, and now the film has added another TV comedy talent. Ricky Gervais is in talks for a major role in the film. He’ll be the lead, in fact — or at least the “lead human.” That’s a necessary distinction when talking about a Muppet movie.

For those who love classic Gervais work such as the office, but aren’t always wild about the tenor of his more recent stuff, this could be a pleasant bit of news. (Presumably, this won’t be a big Muppet-decorated comedy about atheism.) In fact, Gervais is noted as a fan of the characters, making him an appropriate successor to Jason Segel, the fan who last starred in a Muppet movie.

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Ah, fall — not only are new shows debuting and old shows returning, shows that don’t even exist yet are getting picked up left and right. After the jump:

  • HBO renews Treme for a fourth and final season
  • Ron Moore is adapting A Knight’s Tale for ABC
  • Fox updates Hamlet for modern-day Washington, DC
  • Homeland casts F. Murray Abraham as a CIA agent
  • James Caan will be a mob boss on Starz’ Magic City
  • Ricky Gervais‘ comedy Derek is headed to Netflix

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Alums of Friday Night LightsRoswell, and Wonderfalls find new jobs in this edition of TV Bits. After the jump:

  • American Horror Story‘s second season gets titled
  • Shiri Appleby will romance Hannah’s ex on Girls
  • … which, along with Enlightened, will return in January
  • Parenthood adds yet another Friday Night Lights alum
  • Wonderfalls star Caroline Dhavernas joins Hannibal
  • Chuck Lorre will release a $100 coffee table book
  • Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington have a new web series

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Community‘s Dan Harmon is very sorry you had to witness that nasty drama between him and Chevy Chase. Also after the jump:

  • The first three minutes of Falling Skies‘ second season
  • Target’s “Little Avengers” ad is pretty cute, if you like kids
  • HBO releases another trailer for its politica satire Veep
  • Robert Redford will produce a Watergate doc for Discovery
  • Christopher Mintz-Plasse, a.k.a. McLovin, heads to CBS
  • Watch a preview for Ricky Gervais’ new comedy-drama Derek

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Today’s TV Bits offers a few things to look forward to in the not-too-distant future, including imperiled lawyers, asshole baseball players, pretty flight attendants, and a touch of dry British humor. After the jump:

  • NBC drops two teasers for its legal thriller The Firm
  • HBO announces premiere dates for Eastbound & Down and Life’s Too Short
  • ABC confirms that Pan Am is not cancelled

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This week, David, Devindra, and Adam discuss the sad business of Brett Ratner’s Oscar-hosting gig, unabashedly praise Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, ponder the bizarre world of Cars, and get excited for new episodes of Arrested Development. Special guest Keith Phipps joins us from AV Club. To read more about the twisted world of Cars check out Eric D Snider’s and Rachel Mercer’s respective blog posts. Also, check out the AV Club’s awesome podcast, Reasonable Discussions.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. We’ll be reviewing The Muppets and Hugo next week.

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Ricky Gervais Invited to Host Golden Globes Once More

Few awards hosting appearances have been as divisive as Ricky Gervais‘ stint on the last Golden Globes. That gig kicked off with a detailed evisceration of Charlie Sheen before taking time to poke ugly/accurate fun at many celebs nominated for awards, and at the Globes themselves. The fallout was quick, with then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Philip Berk saying Gervais “definitely crossed the line. And some of the things were totally unacceptable. But that’s Ricky.”

Now after a long period of speculation the HFPA — a group of professionals, it must be noted, that is regularly considered to be generally useless and self-serving at best — has voted to invite Gervais back to host once more. Read More »

My feelings about Ricky Gervais have become more complex than they once were as some of his comedy and general public statements have veered into mean-spirited territory over the past year or two. But he can still deliver and/or enable a very biting and hilarious sort of comedy, as evidenced by clips from Life’s Too Short, the show he is doing with Warwick Davis and Stephen Merchant.

The last time we saw anything from the show Gervais was being berated by Johnny Depp. This time, Liam Neeson shows up to announce that he wants to break into comedy. The attempts at comedy that ensue are dreadfully unfunny. Which means, ironically, that they are hilarious. Check out the five-minute clip below. Read More »

Below you’ll find a minute of the opening of Disney’s The Muppets, whcih hits screens on November 23. The scene is a fun little song and dance number that introduces new Muppet Walter and his human friend Gary, played by the film’s co-writer Jason Segel.

This is a pretty effortlessly charming little piece of film that helps sell The Muppets as a film that still has at least one foot firmly planted in the classic musical storytelling style that always made the show a small wonder. I think you’ll like it. Read More »