News and notes from up and down the channel guide:
– David O. Russell
is making the transition to TV. ABC has given a straight-to-series
13-episode order to a drama from the celebrated “American Hustle” auteur
and “Erin Brockovich” writer Susannah Grant. Russell and
Grant co-wrote the story for the as-yet-unnamed series, an
upstairs/downstairs soap set at a private country club, with Grant
writing the teleplay. [Deadline]
– NBC is planning a “Friday Night Lights” reunion of sorts on upcoming comedy “About A Boy” from “FNL” creator Jason Katims. Former co-star Adrianne Palicki has booked a seven-episode guest arc as Dr. Samantha Lake, a love interest for David Walton‘s Will. [THR]
– NBC has renewed “Days of Our Lives” for two more seasons, extending the show through September 2016. The Daytime Emmy winner will celebrate its 50th anniversary in November 2015. Says NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke, “‘Days of our Lives’ continues to be a fan favorite for the daytime audience and we are thrilled to keep it going through its 50th season. ‘Days’ has shown year-to-year increases in key female demographics and remains both relevant and fresh creatively due to the hard work of the producers, writers, cast and crew.”
– Get ready for more ridiculously watchable, wacky obstacle courses: ABC has renewed “Wipeout” for a seventh season. This year, the winners of every episode will be brought together for a “Tournament of Champions,” with the winner being crowned the Ultimate Wipeout Champion.
– Eschewing the usual pop-star selection, the NFL has chosen opera singer Renee Fleming to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. Fleming, who is from New York, will be the first opera singer to hold the position of Super Bowl anthem singer, although it won’t be her first time singing the song at a major sporting event — she also sang the anthem during Game 2 of the 2003 World Series. Last year’s Super Bowl anthem singer was Alicia Keys.
– “Modern Family” is heading to Las Vegas and scooping up Stephen Merchant in the process. In an upcoming Sin City-set episode, the “Hello Ladies” star plays Stevens, a Mandalay Bay hotel butler assigned to the Pritchett-Dunphy clan. While calm at first, he eventually loses his cool trying to juggle the requests of all three families. The episode is scheduled to air this spring. [TV Guide]
– TNT has picked up U.S. rights to “Transporter The Series,” based on the Jason Statham movie franchise. The TV version, which has already aired internationally, stars Chris Vance (“Rizzoli & Isles”) as Frank Martin, who delivers people and cargo anywhere in the world, for a price. TNT will air the first two seasons of the show starting in the fall.
– President Obama will sit for a live interview with Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly during FOX’s Super Bowl pre-game show, just as they did the last time FOX had the game in 2011. The live portion will air about 4:30 p.m. ET Feb. 2; following that, O’Reilly and Obama will continue their chat on tape for airing on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Feb. 3.
– The upcoming “Castle” episode, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” will feature Malese Jow (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Star-Crossed”) and Hannah Marks (“Necessary Roughness”) in guest roles. The episode will air Monday, Feb. 3 on ABC. [TVLine]