True Blood Will Never DieS

It really never will, declares HBO. Also today: lots of casting news, including a Real World cast member who continues to make good. New teen programming sounds teeny. And a romantic weeper finds its cast.

Completely surprisingly, HBO has decided to renew their show that nobody watches, True Blood, for a fourth season. (That's a joke! Lots of people watch it and this is not surprising.) They will begin shooting early next year. In related news, they are adding an additional 400 characters to the new season. Get ready for more Southern Gothic madcappery! [Variety]

The ABC Family, a network for sassy teens and the sex perverts who love them, is developing a new series called Shadows, about a secret program at Stansbury Harvard University that trains the "next generation" of spies. Ha! So like college-age spies. Lots of partying and hooking up and being sexy. Oh, wait. No. They go to Harvard. So, um, lots of self-importance and having two beers at John Harvard's and being soooo wasted, omg, but still going to bed at one. Sounds like a great show. [THR]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is starring in a thriller about a "daredevil bike messenger" who picks up the wrong package (but JGL's package is always right, siighhhh) and has to outwit the villain who wants it back. The wonderful Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, the upcoming Boardwalk Empire, the Stage Manager in the Barrow's Our Town recently, in which he was incredible) will play that villain. Playing the love interest? Jamie Chung, from The Real World: San Diego. Man, she is really making a little acting career for herself! Good for her. Those bloated Challenge monsters must look at her and fart and hork and wipe their snotty, red noses and say "Whatever, fuck her, fuck her twice, gimme my foam gladiator baton and rum hat" and trundle off puffily into the night. So sad. [THR]

Awwww. Canadian moon goddess Rachel McAdams and American prime rib-with-a-dick Channing Tatum are joining beautiful forces to star in a romantic fluid-sapper called The Vow. The picture is based on the real-life story of a newlywed couple who get in a car accident, putting the wife in a coma. When she finally wakes up, she doesn't remember anything. So the husband nurtures her back to health and the music swells and everyone cries. Obviously the real people are wonderful and it's an incredible story, but H-wood has a way of making those great stories into meepy messes. The fellow who directed HBO's wonderful Grey Gardens movie is directing it, though, so maybe it will actually be good? Though seeing Channing Tatum as a devoted, sensitive husband rather than beating the shit out of something (is he beating the shit out of her amnesia?) just seems sort of awkward. He should either be doing that, or dancing. Not crying, bedside. [THR]

Ohhh lawd. Disney, a movie studio for wonders and dreams and other horrible things, is cobbling together the cast for Prom, a movie looking at the trials and travails of teen children putting on fancy clothes. It sounds like it's going to be one'a them ensemble pictures, sorta like a pimply Valemtime's Deigh or a better-teethed Lurve, Evidently. (No knock to you, L,A, I actually love you, forever!) Or maybe it's a less brain-bustingly stereotypical He's Just Not Liking You In That Way, Girlfriend. About teens. And without famous people. The only people from the ten announced cast members that I recognize are Aimee Teegarden from Friday Night Lights and the girl who plays Nelli Yuki on The Gossip Girls. Other than that, nobodies. I wonder if there will be a gay or lesbian or both storyline. Oh, wait, no. Lesbians can't go to prom. Plus, it's Disney, the studio that tried to convince us that Sharpay's brother was straight. Uh, yuh right! [Deadline]

Other Casting News
Bradley Coops has been cast in a dramatic and comedic dramedy about a down-on-his-luck baseball player who's sent to work in the minor league mines and forced to live in a nursing home for some reason, where he befriends an old baseball player who inspires him to keep going, while also seducing him. (That last part is made up, regrettably.) We'd imagine that the old-timer will be played by Kevin Costner. [THR]

Santa Claus's wife, Wendy Crewson, has been cast in the upcoming Winnie Mandela biopic as activist Mary Botha. She'll star alongside Jennifer Hudson, who is playing Winnie. Sounds great, right?? [THR]

Likable veteran actress Mary Steenburgen has been cast in the FX pilot Outlaw Country, about the Southern mafia and the Nashville music scene. She'll play a famous country singer who is very protective of her daughter, presumably an attractive young woman who is drawn to the wrong man, a dangerous man. Steenburgen will sing in the role. This is sounds vaguely similar but wayyyy better than the hokey sitcom pilot that didn't get picked up this year, Southern Comfort. Bullet dodged, Steenburgen! [Deadline]