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The Ausiello Files for October 31, 2008

EW’s TV scooper spills on ”Lost,” Dominic Monaghan’s guest spot on ”Chuck,” and more

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Lost‘s Charlie finds new gig
In what marks his first major TV appearance since playing free-spirited British rock star Charlie on Lost, Dominic Monaghan will guest-star on the Feb. 2 episode of NBC’s Chuck as a…free-spirited British rock star. And the similarities don’t end there. Well, actually, yes, they do.

”This is a very, very different kind of character,” insists executive producer Josh Schwartz of Monaghan’s metalhead, who makes an in-store appearance at Buy More and ends up entangled in one of Chuck’s spy games. ”He’s a lunatic in the best sense of the word. He’s not as dark as Charlie. And there’s no heroin [addiction].” Adds Monaghan, ”He’s like Charlie in a hallucinogenic dream.”

Still, Monaghan admits he had some trepidation about channeling someone who, at least on paper, so closely resembles his ill-fated Lost castaway. ”I never want to play the same thing twice,” he admits. ”But Charlie could never be this person.”

Monaghan’s appearance is only half of the episode’s sell: It also will air partly in 3-D, piggybacking on NBC’s 3-D Super Bowl halftime stunt. (The network will broadcast the big game the night before.) ”The 3-D glasses that NBC is handing out can be used for the Super Bowl,” Schwartz explains, ”and also for Chuck the next day.”

Sounds like the only other ratings-grabbing ploy left to pull off would be a direct crossover with Lost, but the show may have to settle for an in-joke. ”We discussed including a DriveShaft reference,” jokes Schwartz, referring to Charlie’s fictional band. ”We’re huge Lost superfans…if we can work it in, we will.”

Ask Ausiello

Q: The lack of Lost spoilers is killing me. Please, save me! —Ahmed
A: Help has arrived! Brotherhood‘s Fionnula Flanagan, who played the omniscient ring-seller who spooked Desmond in year 3, will be back this season to unload a humdinger of a secret: She’s related to a major character. And it’s not Des. Or Vincent. Or… Nope, that’s all you’re getting.

Q: Please tell me The Office is keeping Amy Ryan’s Holly around permanently. She is perfect for Michael! —Heather
A: You’re preaching to the choir, my dear. Unfortunately, I hear producers have yet to approach Ryan about punching in full-time. But maybe that’s just because they’re afraid of rejection; the Academy Award nominee for Gone Baby Gone is in high demand, and likely keeping her options open. Maintains an Office insider, ”I think she wants the flexibility to be able to take a great movie gig when it comes along.” On behalf of Heather and myself, here’s hoping it never, ever comes along.

Q: Has Privileged been picked up for the entire season? —Isabel
A: The CW just ordered additional scripts, so things are definitely looking up. Meanwhile, I have it on very good authority that we’re about to meet the MIA mom who managed to pop out polar-opposite daughters Megan and Lily. In other words, be on the lookout for a cross between a grade school hall monitor and Courtney Love. (Additional reporting by Andy Patrick)