Question: So what’s this big Denny-related story on Grey’s that could but might not open the door for Katherine Heigl to leave the show? — Shari
Ausiello: I’ll say this: The exit primer I alluded to does not concern any kind of health crisis. Rather, it pertains to a very dark day in Izzie’s professional career that rears its ugly head again.
Question: How long is Melissa George’s contract for? Not too long, I hope — Grey’s is already too bloated. — Karen
Ausiello: Reports suggest she’s doing at least 11 episodes, but in my recent Q&A with her, she said there’s no end date. As for the bloating…well, they work in a hospital. Aren’t there pills for that?
Question: President Roslin (a.k.a. Mary McDonnell) on Grey’s Anatomy?! Give us the scoopage on this smurftastic news for Battlestar Galactica and Grey’s fans! — Brenda
Ausiello: She debuts Nov. 13, and her Dr. Virginia Dixon character has something in common with a Bones regular. If you want more than that, you’ll have to pick up the new issue of EW, on sale Friday.
Question: Mary McDonnell’s name has been ominously left off the list of the actors appearing in the Battlestar Galactica movie. Is this a sign that our favorite president doesn’t survive the end of the series? — Brittany
Ausiello: It could be interpreted in any number of ways. I tried to pump McDonnell for details when I spoke to her earlier this week, but she would only say that Roslin’s “story is not going to be explored further in the movie.” Smart gal. Then, copping to a bit of post-Battlestar depression, she admitted, “It’s still difficult. It’s wonderful to be back in L.A. and not be commuting [from Vancouver]. The practical lifestyle part of it has been great. But I miss everyone terribly. Ending that show was excruciating; it was really hard to finish. It was such a glorious experience.” Not to mention a creatively satisfying one — right up till the end. “The sophistication of the writing became…so beautiful and dark…light….It was quite something to be inside of. It felt to me so complete that while I’m very sad that it’s over, I’m very glad it was a complete saga and that it maintained its quality till the end. It didn’t just drift off.”
Question: Fringe scoop, please! — Sara
Ausiello: Christmas is going to come early for you, Sara, as I’m hearing that the show has a big cliff-hanger planned for its Dec. 2 episode, titled “Safe.” How big? While the team is investigating a series of weird-ass robberies, one of the major players gets kidnapped. That big. Meanwhile, if you’re a serious fan — and something in your use of that exclamation point tells me you are — you’ll likely pee yourself over this fun new site.
Question: I heard that there are going to be multiple deaths in an episode of One Tree Hill. Is that fact or fiction? — Ana
Ausiello: I can confirm at least one death. In the 1940s-set noir episode penned by Chad Michael Murray, somebody bites the dust when they’re pushed off a bridge. As for more OTH characters being killed off in the present, I can only hope.
Question: This season’s Dexter is a little flat. Any spoilers you can tell us to inflate it? — Kristen
Ausiello: Yeah, I’ve sent back diet soda that has as little fizz as this season. But maybe things’ll get shaken up next week when Dexter’s dad tries to talk him out of trusting Miguel. Or maybe not.
Question: Is the Criminal Minds spin-off still going to happen? — Ed
Ausiello: No telling. The project is still in a holding pattern.
Question: Any idea what Shannen Doherty’s going to be doing on 90210 when she returns? — Kelly
Ausiello: Probably hating Jennie Garth for looking scarcely a day older than she did when the original series went off the air. Brenda, on the other hand, is going to be getting some very bad news from the doctor, I hear.
Question: What’s happening? I used to jump on here and be overloaded with Smallville spoilers, but last week… nothing! Do you have anything that can satiate this Smallville fanatic? — Susie
Ausiello: “Satiate”? Probably not. But “tantalize”? You betcha. My moles whisper that there’s an action-packed story arc in the works for Lana.
Question: Please tell us which long-running characters will kiss in episode 12 of Smallville. — Joe
Ausiello: Isn’t it obvious? L*** and Clark.
Question: Pleeease tell me that Katie Holmes will be back on Eli Stone sometime in the (hopefully near) future! She was marvelous in last week’s episode (and reminded me of why I invested so much time into Dawson’s Creek!). — Jenn
Ausiello: Would you settle for me telling you that she’ll probably be back? “We’re waiting on a back-nine [pickup order],” executive producer Marc Guggenheim tells me. “But as long as we can make the schedules work out, I think she’s open to it. She had a great time. So fingers crossed.”
Question: Desperate Housewives scoop? — Kara
Ausiello: Some people say “please.” And some scoop fiends give you what you want even when you don’t. Marc Cherry is close to hiring someone to play a plastic surgeon in several episodes, meaning, I suspect, that the re-glamorization of Gaby is at hand.
Question: Please post more news about The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It’s one of my favorite shows and deserves more press. Also, please visit the set and interview the cast. — Merie
Ausiello: I’ll get right on that, boss. In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for this scoop: Someone is keeping a secret. A huge secret. And since I know who it is, I guess I am, too.
Question: I absolutely love the Sarah Connor Chronicles. Do you have any info about it? — Shannon
Ausiello: As a matter of fact, I do. But I won’t be posting it until tomorrow, so keep checking back. It’s exciting! (Not that you wouldn’t have come back, anyway, right?)
Question: What the Smurf! I need me some 24 spoilers! — Eddie
Ausiello: There are no tiny blue things running around in Jack Bauer’s neck of the woods — trust me on that. I caught a glimpse of (okay, a whole long gander at) the two-hour 24: Redemption flick airing Nov. 23 on Fox, and it’s essentially a warm-up for season 7: swearing in new prez Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) and bringing in Jon Voight as the vague Big Bad. Of course, Jack does kick a lot of ass in the African jungle, too. But for all his troubles, he still winds up handcuffed on a helicopter en route to the U.S., where he’ll stand trial for his criminal-torturing ways.
Question: I need to know what night and time Lost is on starting in Jan. ’09. I need to select which evenings I’m teaching next semester, and I prefer to watch Lost live, not on DVR two hours later. — Rosamaria
Ausiello: No decision has been made yet, but my gut is telling me it’ll return to Thursdays at 10 pm. In related news, remember my scoop last week about Lance Reddick returning for an episode? Well, my Hawaii mole reports that he was shooting scenes in a hospital with Charles Widmore. Theorizes Doc Jensen: “If you believe, as I do, that Charles Widmore has been chasing after the Island in order to cheat death by exploiting its time-travel properties, my guess is that Daddy Devilbucks was telling his mysterious henchman, ‘Would you please hurry your ass up and find me that Island?! I’m dyin’ here!'”
Question: More Lost scoop, please! — Dennis
Ausiello: In case you didn’t see it, here are the official titles for the first six episodes. Let the speculation begin!
Episode 5.01 – Because You Left
Episode 5.02 – The Lie
Episode 5.03 – Jughead
Episode 5.04 – The Little Prince
Episode 5.05 – This Place Is Death
Episode 5.06 – The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham
Question: Holy crap! The season finale of Mad Men was outstanding! The scene between Pete and Peggy, in particular, was amazing. Do you have any idea what we can expect for season 3? How long will we have to wait?! — Elizabeth
Ausiello: I’m guessing at least a year, probably longer. In an interview with The Star-Ledger‘s Alan Sepinwall, series creator Matthew Weiner conceded, “I feel like I just ran a marathon, and I need some Gatorade.” He also put to rest reports that there’s a chance the show might be forced to go on without him (though he has yet to ink a deal for season 3). “There’s no crisis,” he maintained. “I have every intention of being part of this show forever.” As far as what you can expect, he hinted that he’ll likely leap forward in time again — perhaps past the Kennedy assassination. “[That] is very well-trod territory, and I just don’t see myself adding [anything] new to that. But I might start the day before it. Or I might do what I did with a lot of historical events, which is to put it in the background and show people’s personal events overtaking it.”
Question: I found this link with a petition to save Pushing Daises. Maybe you can put it out there for your readers. — Tiffin
Ausiello: Done. And now some scoop for your troubles: George Segal and Richard Benjamin have been cast as Olive’s childhood kidnappers. Since she has such fond memories of her abduction, when they escape from prison, they naturally go to her for help to get away. (Think of the eppy as sort of an unofficial Savannah Smiles sequel.) But wait, there’s more: Firefly badass Gina Torres has signed up to play Emerson’s ex-wife.
Question: Has Pushing Daisies ended the storyline with Paul Reubens? I was a little confused from where they left off last season to where they started this season. Did Chuck reveal her secret to him? Will Pee-wee be back for another adventure? — Chris
Ausiello: “Ended” is the wrong word. Maybe “delayed” is more like it. “I love Paul Reubens, and I love the character Oscar Vibenius,” EP Bryan Fuller tells me. “And I encourage you to write ABC and tell them how much you love him, too. We’ve tried a couple of times this season to bring Paul back and always ended up having to push the story off for various reasons. Right now Oscar is off in the wilds of olfactory science trying to decipher the mysterious scent he discovered specific to Chuck, and if/when he returns, he’ll have a lot to say on the matter.” See what I mean? “Ended” was totally the wrong word.
Question: I think we’re due for a Keri Russell update. — Ingrid
Ausiello: You read my mind. My reigning BFF has joined the cast of the comedic thriller Leaves of Grass. Currently shooting in Shreveport, La., the film stars Edward Norton as identical twins — one an Ivy League professor and the other a pot-smoking criminal. Keri costars as a woman one of the twins is intrigued with. Who can blame him?
Question: Thanks for the scoop last week about The Unit making Nicole Steinwedell (Bridget) a series regular. How long before she starts canoodling with one of the guys? — Sam
Ausiello: That’s a question for executive producer Shawn Ryan. So hey, I know! Let’s ask him! “‘I don’t know yet’ is the most honest answer I can give you,” he answers. “What I will say is that we have a couple of people who consult on the show who were Delta Force operators, and they talked about the professionalism that the guys have. Obviously, our guys find time for romance, but we’ll never do anything that feels unprofessional.”
Question: Will we be getting more background on Ziva’s bare-chested mystery man anytime soon on NCIS? Also, I heard a rumor that we’d be getting a good Ducky-centric episode sometime soon — will we find out anything more about his private life? — Erika
Ausiello: According to exec producer Shane Brennan, yes, we will be getting more info on Ziva’s mystery man, and yes, there’s big Ducky stuff coming. “Ducky will face the biggest emotional challenge of his life in an upcoming episode,” he teases. “And yes, we will take a revealing peek into his private life.”
Question: Chuck is awesome. Why aren’t more folks watching? Is NBC going to be patient and let the show’s audience grow as it did with The Office? — Brad
Ausiello: Most people are stupid. That’s why the ratings suck. But by all accounts, NBC is sticking by the show. “They really believe in it,” says exec producer Josh Schwartz. “Picking up the show for the full 22 episodes before we even aired was a sign of faith. Selecting Chuck to do the 3-D episode was another sign of faith. And I think everyone knew coming into the [fall] with football, the baseball playoffs and all the competition in the time slot, having to lead off the night having been off the air so long, it was going to take a little time. But they’re being patient, and people who have seen the show this season seem to be really excited about it.” So go ahead and exhale, Brad. Josh said it was Okay.
Question: Any Chuck scoop? Pweeeease? — Nicola
Ausiello: Brad’s going to like this, too. While I was talking with Josh Schwartz, he also told me that the upcoming arc featuring Chuck’s ex, Jordana Brewster, features some “juicy” Chuck-Sarah stuff. “We’re always talking about how far you can take them…and how quickly. It was very emotional and honest between those two characters very early in the season, and Jordana’s arrival throws a wrench into all of that. The relationship will continue to unravel, but I think you’ll see in November sweeps that it will really heat up.”
Question: Must be the thousandth time I’ve asked. But any scoop on Without a Trace? — Lily
Ausiello: You know what they say, Lily: The thousandth time’s the charm. The show is currently casting Elena’s former partner, a Latina beat cop who’s recruited by Homeland Security for a special mission. Michelle Rodriguez, call your agent…
Question: It seems like it’s been ages since I’ve heard anything about Reaper, and man, I love that show. The CW’s site says the show is “returning soon,” but do you have any idea when “soon” is, or any other rumblings? — Matt J
Ausiello: Let me consult my network-to-human dictionary…uh-huh…uh-huh…oh, Okay. Reaper will be back at midseason, most likely. Till then, you may be able to get a little fix of it by watching an upcoming Eli Stone. In it, that show’s exec producer Marc Guggenheim tells me, Danielle Panabaker plays a woman “who’s accused of building a nuclear bomb. And since she works in a Home Depot-like store, we decided to use the Work Bench from Reaper, because it’s my wife’s show.” (Also, both series are produced by ABC Studios.) “It’s not quite an Eli Stone-Reaper crossover, but it’s probably as close as I’ll come,” Guggenheim continues. “The scene doesn’t actually take place at the store. She’s coming home from work when she’s arrested, and she’s wearing her Work Bench apron. I thought that would be a nice little Easter egg for people.” And it isn’t even Halloween yet!
Question: Reaper scoop, please! — Sherman
Ausiello: Among the colorful characters we’ll meet this season is — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — a thirtysomething jackass who makes a deal with the devil, then refuses to sign on the dotted line. Yeah, that’ll go well.
Phew, that was a long one! All this chatter about a Melrose Place reboot must’ve put me in a generous mood. Or maybe it’s the fact that Lauren Graham is going to be my neighbor. Either way, here’s my e-mail address. Use it to send questions, hot (and anonymous) tips, and other assorted nonsense. See you back here next week! (Additional reporting by Andy Patrick and Oriana Schwindt)