LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association began its winter press tour this week in which the various broadcast and cable networks talk about their upcoming plans to the nation's top critics and entertainment reporters. It's during these sessions the networks roll out most of their midseason plans as well as look back at the highs and lows of the new season.
Here's some additional notes from the panels that weren't covered in their respective press releases:
30 DAYS - Documentary guru R.J. Cutler ("American Candidate") has signed on to executive produce the six-part reality series, which places a willing participant in a life that starkly contrasts his or her own for a period of 30 days. Cutler will join the current producing team of Ben Silverman and creator Morgan Spurlock. While no premiere date has been set for "30 Days," it will likely bow this summer.
NIP/TUCK - FX has committed to two additional seasons of the popular drama and has locked up creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy through said run. The move ends speculation that Murphy wouldn't return for a third season due to his growing feature commitments, including the upcoming adaptation of Augusten Burroughs' "Running With Scissors." As no doubt expected, he'll also see a substantial pay raise from his current salary (about $1.5 million per season) although no financial details were released. Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin will also return for the third and fourth seasons (each 15 episodes), production of which is set to begin this summer for an early fall premiere.
OIL STORM (New!) - Following the success of this month's "Smallpox," FX is moving forward with a second faux documentary from the U.K.-based Wall to Wall Productions. No specific details however were mentioned about the project.
THE SHIELD - Anthony Anderson ("All About the Andersons") is set to appear in at least 10 episodes of the cable drama's upcoming fourth season, which bows in March. He'll play Antwon Mitchell, a former gang leader and drug dealer just out of prison who claims to be on the straight and narrow despite his actions not matching his words. It's not clear however when Anderson's first episode will air.
TEN COMMANDMENTS - Feature director Gary Ross ("Seabiscuit") has signed on to helm one of the installments of George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's upcoming ten-hour mini-series. The project explores the spiritual and moral issues faced by modern America as interpreted by 10 different directors with each "episode" focusing on a specific commandment. In addition to Ross, Clooney and Soderbergh will each direct one of the hours.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters