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The Ausiello Files for August 15, 2008

EW’s TV scooper dishes on ”Brothers & Sisters,” ”How I Met Your Mother,” and more

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The same way your grandma gives you BVDs every Christmas whether you want ’em or not, Balthazar Getty may be getting an early gift he probably didn’t ask for from his bosses at Brothers & Sisters: a lighter workload. According to my sources, Getty’s B&S alter ego, Tommy Walker, is being back-burnered in the next batch of episodes to be shot. (The show resumed production last week.) This comes on the heels of some turbulent personal times for Getty, which began with paparazzi snapping the married father of four kissing a topless Sienna Miller in Italy, and culminated with his announcement that he has split from his wife.

However, Brothers & Sisters executive producer Ken Olin insists that Getty’s reduced schedule is unrelated to his off-the-set issues. ”There’s a period where he’s lighter in the show, but that follows a period of him being very present…. As long as he continues to do his work and be committed to his work, then his personal business is his own.”

‘Mother’ of all Spoiler Alerts!

New intel has turned up as to the identity of Ted’s future wife on How I Met Your Mother — and it points toward Sarah Chalke’s Stella being the mysterious mama! A Mother insider reveals that in the show’s Sept. 22 season premiere, Stella will accept Ted’s cliff-hanging marriage proposal!

Ask Ausiello

Q: I’m dying for anything you have on The Office. —Meghan
A: Here’s a life preserver, then: Although Mad Men‘s Rich Sommer tells me he’s been ”sworn to secrecy” about his guest turn in the comedy’s Sept. 25 season premiere, he does admit that he’s playing a ”very different character” from his regular role as Harry Crane. Savvy EW.com readers are speculating that he’ll turn out to be Jan’s sperm donor, but my Dunder Mifflin mole believes he’ll actually have a connection to Pam instead.

Q: Do you have any details about Shane West’s return to ER? —Tina
A: Thanks to some cutting-edge prosthetics, Ray will be walking again when he resurfaces in the Oct. 30 episode. ”He will in no way appear disabled,” says exec producer Joe Sachs of the ex-County General M.D., who fled town following the car accident that left him a double amputee. Look for Ray’s return to have a huge impact on Neela. Previews Sachs: ”It stirs the embers of that relationship and makes her question, ‘Could I be with this guy now?”’

Q: Can you give us some Supernatural scoop? —Deborah
A: I’ll save you a call to your TV repairman: The show is staging an entirely B&W episode this fall. ”It’s an homage to the horror films of the ’30s,” says series creator Eric Kripke. ”The boys are up against Dracula, the Wolfman, and the Mummy.” Somewhere, Frankenstein’s monster just shed a single tear.

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