'Damages' brings back Ted Danson's character

Maureen Ryan
Chicago Tribune (MCT)

LOS ANGELES - There's big news from the Television Critics Association press tour regarding "Damages": Ted Danson will be back as Arthur Frobisher on the FX show. His performance in Season 1 as the arrogant capitalist was one of the high points of the show, so that's great news.

As to whether Frobisher survived being shot at the end of Season 1, well, that's not clear. FX president and general manager John Landgraf said during his remarks that Frobisher did survive, but the "Damages" creators would only say that because the series moves backward and forward in time, it's possible that we'll see Frobisher in a flashback when the show returns in early 2009.

Speaking of the cast, Landgraf announced that Marcia Gay Harden will play a high-powered attorney on "Damages." She joins other new Season 2 actors William Hurt, Timothy Olyphant and Mario Van Peebles. Glenn Close and Tate Donovan are returning as lawyers Patty Hewes and Tom Shayes.

Co-creator Daniel Zelman said the show would continue to play with time, as it did last season, but somewhat less intensely. The show's structure will be "slightly less complex" but it would still have flashbacks, and especially flash-forwards, which Zelman called "a signature of the show" and something that gives "Damages" its thriller feel.

Rose Byrne, who plays attorney Ellen Parsons, said her character will be a bit more of a "warrior" in Season 2. As was indicated at the end of Season 1, Ellen will be an informant against Hewes, Close's character. Olyphant will play someone who has also been through a trauma like the one Ellen has been through and becomes Ellen's "confidant."

Other news from the FX network at the TCA press tour last week:

  • Michael J. Fox will guest-star in four episodes of "Rescue Me," which returns in the spring. He'll play the wheelchair-bound boyfriend of Janet Gavin, Tommy Gavin's ex-wife. Fox will appear first in the season premiere of the show.

  • "Nip/Tuck" will return in January, and FX announced an end date for the show, which will arrive in early 2011, after three more seasons have aired. By the time the show ends, it will have hit 100 episodes, which FX head Landgraf said would be the maximum he could envision for any FX series. He said that in his view, serialized shows are "the best shows on TV," but he added that he thought it best if those kinds of shows have defined end dates.

  • "Sons of Anarchy," a new series from "Shield" writer Kurt Sutter," premieres Sept. 3, and "Shield" veteran Jay Karnes will join "Sons" for six episodes. Maggie Siff, who played Rachel Menken on "Mad Men," is a series regular on "Sons," but said that her character might revisit Don Draper's world.

  • FX has not decided whether to bring "The Riches" back, but Landgraf noted that the show's ratings fell by 44 percent between Seasons 1 and 2.

  • FX is very high on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"; Landgraf said that it was often the No. 1 show on Hulu and also did well on iTunes and DVD. FX has ordered 52 new episodes, which will be added to the 32 that have already aired. When "Sunny" returns Sept. 18, Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 and Sinbad will guest-star as fellow inhabitants of a rehab facility that one of the gang checks in to.

  • FX has commissioned a new comedy series called "Testees." It's from Kenny Hotz, one of the creators of "Kenny vs. Spenny," and it's about two guys who make a living as medical guinea pigs.

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