Vanessa Juarez
July 13, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

+ Recasting alert: Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls) replaces Patrick Breen as head of the household in the new CW comedy Aliens in America, about a Wisconsin family who host a foreign exchange student to help their socially inept son. ”On the brochure, [there’s] a strapping Nordic blond they think will make him more popular,” explains Patterson. ”And who shows up at the airport is a [Muslim] kid from Pakistan.” Wackiness ensues.

+ ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice is also retooling: Broadway star Audra McDonald replaces Alias‘ Merrin Dungey as fertility expert Naomi Bennett, a pal of Addison Montgomery’s (Kate Walsh). ”She has serious flaws, but is a good person,” says McDonald of her character. ”Finding roles like that on TV for African-American women is next to impossible.”

+ He’s done the Grinch, and now Jim Carrey will play Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, a motion-capture animation pic from Robert Zemeckis (The Polar Express).

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