'Office' casting scoop. Plus, news on ''Desperate Housewives,'' ''One Tree Hill,'' and ''Life Unexpected''

By Michael Ausiello
August 13, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT

Has The Office found its new Michael Scott?

Steve Carell isn’t leaving The Office until next May, but the NBC hitcom is quietly beginning work on a possible succession plan. I’m hearing that producers reached out to rising comic actors Danny McBride (the breakout star of HBO’s hilarious Eastbound & Down) and Rhys Darby (late of HBO’s Flight of the Conchords) to possibly join the cast in some capacity. A spokesperson for McBride responds, ”Danny is very happy on Eastbound & Down,” while reps for Darby were unavailable for comment. Office showrunner Paul Lieberstein confirms that they’re ”having discussions” about bringing a new salesman into Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch, but he wouldn’t say whether this person was being groomed to replace Carell’s Michael Scott. ”We haven’t settled exactly who will take over,” says Lieberstein, adding that promoting a current staffer to the top job remains a viable option. (Coexecutive producer Mindy Kaling recently endorsed Rainn Wilson’s Dwight for the job.) ”I think that’s the most likely thing that Dunder Mifflin would consider,” says Lieberstein. ”We’re going to try to be honest to how Dunder Mifflin would do it.” He was willing to rule out one candidate: current comanager Jim (John Krasinski). ”I don’t think that’s where Jim sees himself,” he reveals. ”We’re not going to see Jim becoming Michael.”


Big Housewives mystery solved

Desperate Housewives is doing fans a major solid and not dragging out last May’s tantalizing baby-switch cliff-hanger all season long. Quite the contrary, in fact. According to executive producer Bob Daily, viewers will learn which Housewife (or Housewives) brought the wrong child home from the hospital ”in the first act of the [Sept. 26] premiere. We didn’t want to tease people for too long.”

Tree Hill makes Unexpected visit

They’re sharing the same night this coming season, so the CW dramas might as well share cast members, too. New Tuesday companions One Tree Hill and Life Unexpected will stage a crossover this fall when OTH songbirds Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) and Mia (Kate Voegele) travel from North Carolina to Portland, Ore., to perform at a music festival sponsored by Cate’s (Shiri Appleby) radio show. Hey, that actually makes sense!

It’s lights out for Friday Night Lights Is Friday Night Lights splitting up the Taylors? Probably not, but it sounds like Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton’s ironclad couple will stare down a monster of an obstacle during the show’s fifth and final season (premiering on DIRECTV in October). ”This will be the closest we’ve ever been to them questioning their life together,” says Britton, who would say only that the rough patch involves Tami’s career. Chandler, meanwhile, says the series goes out with a ”touch of class.” Any spoilers? ”[Tami and Eric] shoot each other at the exact same moment,” he deadpans. ”And then the screen goes black.”