Paul Rudd‘s guest-star appearance on “Parks & Recreation,” as announced yesterday, has seemingly set a good precedent for the coming year, in terms of awesome people appearing on awesome shows. With folks like Kate Winslet and, imminently, Dustin Hoffman, picking up plaudits for small-screen turns, any stigma of appearing on TV has long been gone, and the last 24 hours has brought more news of stars heading to your favorite shows.
First up, EW reports that “30 Rock,” which finally returns for its sixth season on Thursday, will feature guest appearances from Emma Stone, ‘SNL‘ vet Andy Samberg, and, um, Nick Cannon, in an episode scheduled to air in two weeks. It’s not entirely surprising, given that the show has featured the likes of Matt Damon and Robert DeNiro in guest spots in the past, but brilliantly, the stars will be parodying the recent string of dreadful holiday-themed rom-coms, appearing in a movie trailer within the show for “Martin Luther King Day,” a film allegedly from the producers of “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve.” Good work, Tina Fey & co.
EW also bring news that happily omnipresent “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston (who’ll feature in six films in 2012, including “Argo,” “Rock of Ages” and “Total Recall,” after four in 2011) won’t just be featuring in his hit AMC series this year. The actor has also signed up to lend his voice to the two-part finale of FX‘s incredibly brilliant animated spy spoof “Archer,” which returns next week. Cranston, who joins upcoming guest stars like Burt Reynolds and Michael Rooker, will play Commander Drake, an earnest astronaut trying to stop a mutiny on the International Space Station, with H. Jon Benjamin‘s incompetent, hard-drinking, womanizing secret agent undoubtedly proving to be no help at all.
It’s not all good news, though. Showtime premiered the much-hyped Don Cheadle/Kristin Bell comedy “House of Lies” on Sunday, and the show proved to be an insufferably smug, laugh-free disappointment. And maybe one that Paul Bettany apparently saw. The ‘Master & Commander‘ star had signed up some time ago to appear in the network’s series “Masters of Sex,” a period drama that follows the lives of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, who were pioneering sex researchers in the 1960s. However, Deadline report that Bettany has bailed on the pilot, which is set to be directed by “Shakespeare In Love” helmer John Madden.
Of course, Bettany likely didn’t do it because of the quality of “House of Lies” — he’s traditionally a little flighty when it comes to his roles, having famously turned down the lead in “The King’s Speech,” among others. Let’s hope that he’s not taking another dreadful Screen Gems actioner instead, however. Showtime are moving ahead with the series nevertheless, courting Lizzy Caplan for the female lead at present.