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After months of investigation, criminal charges have finally been filed related to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones while filming the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider. Jones was killed when a train traveled down the tracks upon which the Midnight Rider crew was working at the time. Now director Randall Miller and producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the Wayne County, Georgia superior court. Read More »

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Though the small screen retains an unfair reputation as a lesser medium — think of all the snobby types who’ll brag about not owning a television, but would never be so dismissive about books or movies — the truth is that the medium varies as much as any other. Today’s TV Bits runs the gamut from highbrow (a literary adaptation on HBO) to lowbrow (a modeling industry reality show on The CW), with plenty of stuff in between. After the jump:

  • Noah Baumbach’s Jonathan Franzen adaptation The Corrections is a go at HBO
  • HBO will offer an early look at its highly anticipated Luck next month
  • Fox puts new eps of Alcatraz on hold while it goes back for reshoots
  • Burt Reynolds signs on to guest star on FX’s Archer
  • Summer Glau joins Tricia Helfer on TNT’s Scent of the Missing
  • The CW announces start dates for its midseason shows

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Fox has finally released photos, a long-form plot synopsis and a trailer for the upcoming JJ Abrams-produced Elizabeth Sarnoff-written (Lost, Deadwood) television series Alcatraz. The “chilling new thriller centers on America’s most infamous prison and one-time home to the nation’s most notorious murderers, rapists, kidnappers and thieves.” Find out what the show is about, see some photos, and even watch a two and a half minute trailer after the jump.

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Sam Neill Starring In J.J. Abrams’ ‘Alcatraz’

Briefly: Add one more big name to the prison roster of Alcatraz, the new show being produced by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and Elizabeth Sarnoff, who wrote the pilot and will be showrunner. Sam Neill has just joined the cast in one of the lead roles. He’ll play Emerson Hauser, “the head of a government agency who radiates authority and piercing intelligence.”

We still don’t know a lot about the show, other than it is about a cop (Sarah Jones) and some FBI agents trying to track down prisoners and guards who disappeared from the prison while it was active and reappear in the present day. Jorge Garcia (Lost) plays an Alcatraz historian/expert and Jonny Coyne (Undercovers) and Jason Butler Harner (Fringe) play prison warden Edwin James and associate warden E.B. Tiller, respectively. [Deadline]

There’s a great deal of small TV news to round up, so let’s get to it. First off comes the news that Dexter has been given a sixth season renewal. The last time the show was up for renewal was in 2008, when Showtime committed to a fourth and fifth season. E! suggested that a one-season order now is due to cast contract renegotiations that will take place before a seventh season. I never would have expected the show to run quite this long, but the numbers are improving, with this Sunday’s episode grabbing the show’s best ratings ever. So: onward to season six!

After the break, news on the surprise fate of the writing staff of The Walking Dead, the prequel movie for Burn Notice, and more casting for J.J. Abrams’ Alcatraz. Read More »

Briefly: Fox recently picked up the J.J. Abrams-produced series Alcatraz, which explores the mysteries and secrets of the famous prison. Jorge Garcia (Lost) was recently cast as one significant character, an Alcatraz historian and expert, and now Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy) has nabbed the female lead. As Germain wrote not long ago, “the show will be about a group of Alcatraz prisoners who disappeared 30 years ago and reappear in modern times. The show will focus on FBI agents tasked with hunting them down to find out exactly what happened.”

Deadline says that Sarah Jones will play Rebecca Madsen, “a smart, thoughtful and a little obsessive police officer.” Alongside her, Jorge Garcia plays the “hippy geek” historian and expert. Bryan Burk and Elizabeth Sarnoff are the exec producers alongside Abrams, with the former being a regular collaborator and the latter being a significant creative force on Lost. Elizabeth Sarnoff also wrote the pilot script.

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