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Kristen Johnston Replaces Paula Abdul on 'Ugly Betty' & More TV News

by Andrew Scott, posted Aug 21st 2009 12:00PM
Kristen JohnstonKristen Johnston replaces Paula Abdul, Rosie Perez goes after pedophiles on 'SVU,' Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson team up for an HBO movie and more of today's top TV headlines.Kristen JohnstonKristen Johnston will replace Paula Abdul on 'Ugly Betty.' Abdul lost out on the recurring role (Helen, Mode's zany new office temp) after contract negotiations fell through, reportedly due in part to (gasp!) a long list of demands. Johnston's character -- her first recurring role since 'ER' in 2005 -- will debut in the show's Oct. 9 season premiere. [Ausiello Files]

Rosie Perez Garret Dillahunt SVU'Law & Order: SVU' has booked Oscar nominee Rosie Perez and Garret Dillahunt ('Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles') for an upcoming episode about pedophiles' rights. Perez will play a mother who takes legal action against a pedophilia organization (run by Dillahunt's character) after her husband is accused of abusing her child. The storyline is currently slated for 'SVU''s fifth episode. [TV Guide]

Tommy Lee Jones Samuel L Jackson The Sunset LimitedTommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson will star in HBO's 'The Sunset Limited,' a new telepic based on the Cormac McCarthy play. Jones will direct the project, about a man (Jackson) who saves another (Jones) from "throwing himself in front of a Harlem subway train." McCarthy is also on board to adapt his play, with production scheduled to begin next month. [Variety]

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Game of Thrones'New Amsterdam' alum Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has joined the cast of 'Game of Thrones,' based on the George R.R. Martin fantasy novel. Waldau will play guard Jaime Lannister on the HBO series, about a fierce battle for control of the Iron Throne. Waldau joins the previously cast Sean Bean, Mark Addy and Jennifer Ehle, among others. [Hollywood Reporter]

Top Chef Las VegasWednesday night's 'Top Chef: Las Vegas' premiere netted 2.6 million viewers, down 100,000 from last season. On the bright side: 'Top Chef Masters' closed out its inaugural season with 2.4 million viewers, marking an increase of 71 percent from its series premiere in June. [Live Feed]

ALSO IN TV NEWS ...

NBC has renewed 'Sunday Night Football.' The network has extended its run for an additional two years, keeping it on the air through the 2013 football season. [Hollywood Reporter]

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