Although Bellisario was fired from the show after season 4 when star Mark Harmon threatened to leave, Deadline reports Bellisario is saying that the network was still contractually obligated to include him in the spinoff show.
The network has countered via a statement to Entertainment Weekly, saying "Don Bellisario has no rights to what he is claiming in this suit. The contract is clear, the facts are undeniable and the courts won't need Naval intelligence to conclude that the case has no merit. We continue to honor all of our obligations to Mr. Bellisario under the actual agreement."
In other TV news ...
• The CW network has a new boss. Mark Pedowitz was named the new head of the network. Former chief Dawn Ostroff announced her exit earlier this year. [TV Guide]
• The 'Glee' gang has scored a major guest star while they film the Nationals episode in New York this week. Apparently, Broadway leged Patti LuPone is filming scenes today with 'Glee' stars Lea Michele and Chris Colfer. [TV Line]
• NBC is working on a TV series based on John Grisham's 'The Firm.' The author is on board the project as a producer. [EW]
In it, Engvall will play a car dealer targeted by the 'Leverage' team because of his involvement in reselling stolen autos on the black market.
The episode is currently slated to air in August.
Engvall was last seen on the small screen in the short-lived TBS sitcom 'The Bill Engvall Show,' which was canceled last September due to poor ratings. Additional TV roles inc lude 'Blue Collar TV,' 'The Jeff Foxworthy Show' and 'Delta.'
'Leverage,' starring Oscar winner Timothy Hutton, returns for its highly anticipated third season with back-to-back episodes Sun., Jun. 20 at 9PM.
"My name is the only name that gets called out loud in that house now," he said. "And unfortunately, I've developed a hearing problem." Guys, we know what that's all about!
Watch the video after the jump.
The Hollywood Reporter confirms that the program's working title is 'Only In America With Larry the Cable Guy' and will feature the comedian touring the United States, immersing himself in different lifestyles and occupations that promise to "celebrate the American experience."
However, TBS has a throwback family comedy, one in The Cosby Show mode, and they're sticking with it. TBS's The Bill Engvall Show has just been given a third season renewal. The sitcom will be back in the summer 2009 with ten new episodes.
I've watched The Bill Engvall Show and enjoyed it. It's meant to evoke Cosby, but I also found a lot of Everybody Loves Raymond and Home Improvement in it as well, and that's a good thing. Engvall's a funny guy, and he's greatly aided in the show by sitcom vet Nancy Travis as his smart, attractive spouse.
The relationship between the viewer and the network is one that requires a delicate balance. As the numbers for DVR penetration continue to climb, it's pretty clear that a great many of us are successfully dodging more and more commercial breaks. And the networks continue to push back, trying different things to get eyeballs on ads. Some are merely annoying. For instance, as much as I like both Kyra Sedgwick and The Closer, I'm annoyed every time Brenda walks out of the corner of my screen while I'm watching another show on TNT.
While that one is annoying, this latest adventure from TBS crosses a line. During an episode of Family Guy (video after the jump), Bill Engvall walks out on the screen, much like the Brenda spots for The Closer. The difference is that Bill holds up a remote and actually pauses the episode before heading into his pitch for his show. When he finishes, he unpauses the show, which runs for two more seconds before going to the regular commercial break. Please, if it's not too much trouble, strap on your sturdiest combat boots and join me in sending a theoretical kick to the crotch of anyone at TBS that didn't think this was the dumbest idea since starting everything at five minutes past the hour.
Look, a family sitcom that's NOT on Disney or Nickelodeon which been renewed for another season! How unique!
TBS has ordered up a second season of 10 episodes of The Bill Engvall Show. The comedy, which entered the television landscape back in July, premiered with fairly strong ratings and remained the number two sitcom among adults 18-49 on ad-supported cable (fancy talk for basic cable) for the rest of its freshman season.
I don't think I would be stretching the truth too much if I said that the family sitcom is pretty much dead on network television. I mean, with the exception of According to Jim and perhaps Two and a Half Men, there has been a dearth of successful family comedies on the air since the departure of Everybody Loves Raymond and Arrested Development a few years ago.
Where has Tim Meadows been since leaving SNL in 2000? Well, most recently he had some guest-starring roles in The Office, Everybody Hates Chris, Help Me Help You and According to Jim.
Anna mentioned back in November that TBS was creating a pilot for Blue Collar comedian Bill Engvall, best known for his "here's your sign" routine. Now we know that the new series will be called The Bill Engvall Show (what else?) and will star Engvall and Nancy Travis. Engvall will play Will Pearson, a family counselor and father of a teenage daughter and two boys. Travis will play his wife, Susan.
Much like a majority of Engvall's comedy, the new show promises to be a simple, family-friendly comedy shot in typical multi-camera fashion in front of a studio audience. The series debuts sometime this summer.
Fans of Engvall's stand-up can also catch him March 25 at 9:00 p.m. on Comedy Central in a new special: Bill Engvall: Fifteen Degrees Off Cool.
Engvall's pilot is the second comedy that TBS is eyeing. The network recently greenlighted a workplace comedy pilot called Imperfect Union, starring Eric McCormack (who recently claimed he was done with sitcoms).
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