TV bites: FX gets 'Avatar' rights; Showtime, USA make series pickups

avatar-02-320.jpg"Avatar" will make its way onto ad-supported cable in about 2 1/2 years, by which point you might be able to watch the movie in 3-D at home.

FX has bought the rights to James Cameron's blockbuster movie after several weeks of negotiations that reportedly included getting Cameron's OK, the showbiz trade papers report. The movie is expected to debut on FX midway through 2012; HBO has secured pay-cable rights.

By that time, it may be possible -- at least for a few early adopters -- to watch the movie in 3-D. Manufacturers are touting 3-D television sets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and both ESPN and Discovery plan to have 3-D channels on the air by 2011.

Other TV news:

- Showtime has picked up "The Big C," a half-hour series starring Laura Linney as a woman battling cancer.

The cable network describes the show as a dark comedy in which Linney's "reserved suburban wife and mother" shakes up her life after a cancer diagnosis. Linney is an executive producer of the series, which also stars Oliver Platt ("Huff," "Frost/Nixon") as her husband. Darlene Hunt ("Will & Grace," "90210") created the show, and Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls") directed the pilot.

"The Big C" (formerly called "The C Word") will go into production in the spring and is scheduled for a fall premiere.

- USA has also added to its original series roster with a pickup of the CIA-set drama "Covert Affairs."

The series, which got a 12-episode pickup, stars Piper Perabo ("The Prestige," "Coyote Ugly") as Annie, a CIA trainee who gets promoted to work in the field -- because, unbeknownst to her, the agency is interested in something from her past.

"Covert Affairs" also stars Christopher Gorham ("Ugly Betty," "Harper's Island") as Annie's agency confidant, along with Peter Gallagher ("The O.C."), Anne Dudek ("House," "Mad Men") and Kari Matchett ("24," "Invasion"). Matt Corman and Chris Ord wrote the pilot, which Tim Matheson directed. Doug Liman ("Mr. and Mrs. Smith") and Dave Bartis ("The O.C.") are executive producers.

USA hasn't set a premiere date for the show yet.

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Related:

'Avatar,' 'Up' among Producers Guild nominees
'Avatar' three-peats at box office
Piper Perabo having 'Affairs'

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
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