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The Ausiello Files: August 14, 2009

EW’s TV scooper on ”True Blood,” ”NCIS,” and ”Smallville”

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Long Live the Queen
When Evan Rachel Wood makes her True Blood debut on the Aug. 30 episode, there will be…well, obviously, blood. ”Nobody’s ever entirely happy to see her,” says series creator Alan Ball of Wood’s character, Louisiana’s bloodsucker boss lady, Queen Sophie-Anne. ”She’s very powerful, capricious, and most likely insane.” We love her already. So it’s a good thing she’ll be around for a while: ”She has more than one secret agenda,” Ball lets on, ”which we’ll slowly become aware of over season 3.”

A Big Bang Bust for Penny and Leonard
The Big Bang Theory will make a go of a Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) relationship at long last this fall — to disastrous results. ”When they finally [have sex], it doesn’t go so great,” reveals exec producer Bill Prady. ”There was so much anticipation that when they finally make it all the way, they have trouble finding their groove.” They won’t be the only ones going through an adjustment. Says Prady, ”Sheldon does not like waking up to find Penny in their apartment.”


NCIS plans shocking twist
NCIS fans, consider this your one and only warning: ”You cannot miss the first minute of our [Sept. 22] season premiere,” insists exec producer Shane Brennan. ”You’ll think you know what’s going on, but then you’ll go, ‘What just happened?!”’ In possibly related news, Brennan says Tony (Michael Weatherly) and Ziva’s (Cote de Pablo) relationship ”will evolve rapidly” in the opener and then play out over the next three episodes. Will they finally seal the deal? ”Yes, but I don’t know when,” he hedges. ”It’ll be very unexpected.”

Smallville lightens up
Smallville producers are backing down from earlier claims that the coming season would be one of the show’s darkest yet. ”We might’ve misled people a little bit with that,” confesses co-showrunner Brian Peterson. ”Clark starts the season in a very gloomy place, but the season itself won’t be dark.” Case in point: In episode 3, Lois (Erica Durance) and Clark (Tom Welling) are ”in the trenches fighting zombies,” says Peterson. ”And when they catch their breath from fighting, [romantic] sparks will fly.”

A Mother of a wedding?
She didn’t turn out to be Ted’s future wife, but How I Met Your Mother isn’t through with Sarah Chalke just yet. According to executive producer Carter Bays, Chalke’s Stella will likely resurface next spring when the movie her fiancé Tony, wrote comes to a theater near Ted (Josh Radnor). ”If we can pull it off,” says Bays, ”it’s going to be a cool treat for the second half of the season.”