Tonight’s cuppa: English breakfast tea

Chuckgroup Learned tonight that former "Quantum Leap" and "Star Trek: Enterprise" star Scott Bakula has just signed for a multi-episode guest-starring appearance on NBC’s Monday-night spy dramedy, "Chuck," which returns with a 3-D episode on Monday, Feb. 2. Click here for the promo.

According to series co-creator (with Chris Fedak) Josh Schwartz, Bakula starts work next week on a three-episode
arc, playing Steve Bartowski, the long-missing father of title character Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), a big-box electronics store employee recruited as a secret agent after having a government supercomputer downloaded into his head.

Chuck searches for Steve to fulfill a promise to his sister, Ellie (Sarah Lancaster), that her father will walk her down the aisle for her upcoming nuptials.

Talked a few minutes ago with Schwartz ("The O.C.," "Gossip Girl") and will be posting more information on this later on.

BTW, also saw former "The O.C." star Ben McKenzie, who’s playing an LAPD officer in the upcoming John Wells police drama for NBC, "Southland." Happy to report he’s grown up very nicely.

More in a bit.

UPDATE (a bit later): Below find some comments from Schwartz…

"The great thing about Scott," said Schwartz, "that he did on ‘Quantum Leap,’ and now we’re going to ask him here, is he can do comedy, drama, action, some real pathos. He’s a guy who can really do it all, and you believe him as Chuck and Ellie’s dad.

"He left them when they were teenagers, and they were forced to raise themselves. He’s a bit eccentric; he’s a bit paranoid. They think it’s unfounded. Chuck promised Ellie that he would find her (father) for her wedding, and he may not necessarily want to be found.

"He really, really hates the character that Chevy Chase is going to play."

Chase is also doing a multi-episode story arc, to be broadcast in the spring. He plays tech magnate Ted Roark, the founder and mastermind behind Roark Instruments. Chuck has always looked up to Roark and working at his company is a longtime dream.

"It’s a guy (Chuck) always wanted to be one day," Schwartz said, "a software billionaire in the Bill Gates/Steve Jobs mold, a real visionary. And he’s a guy that Chuck’s dad is convinced has stolen a lot of his best ideas. So they’re bitter rivals.

"Chevy Chase is a guy we all worship on the show. I don’t think a day goes by, especially at the beginning of ‘Chuck,’ where  we didn’t talk about ‘Fletch,’ ‘Spies Like Us.’ … Actually, they were doing this ‘Fletch’ reboot at one point, and (Zachary Levi) was at the front of the list. People thought he was perfect for it.

"So Chevy Chase is in the show’s DNA, and he gets to be a villain, which would be fun."

Asked whether Bakula — who is also a talented musical-theater performer — would have occasion to sing and dance on "Chuck," Schwartz said, "I’m not opposed to dads on my show singing, but I think in this case, it would be out of character. Maybe in the shower."

Schwartz revealed that, in a future episode, fans will see Jeff, Chuck’s co-worker at the Buy More store,

shirtless, and that they will also see Jeff in 3-D — but not at the same time.

"We felt like that was going to be too much for America," said Schwartz. "My only concern with the 3-D episode is it’s going to be like ‘The Jerk’ at the end, where everyone’s cross-eyed.

"But the technology’s pretty amazing….All the mind flashes are going to be in 3-D, and the credits, as well as the actual set pieces. Sarah, scantily clad, in 3-D, that might happen. I don’t know, that seemed like a natural.

"And also, weird stuff, like, Big Mike eating a donut in 3-D is way different than in merely two dimensions."

Since Chuck promised to find his father for the sake of his sister’s wedding, one might wonder if fans will get to see the ceremony in question.

"You know," Schwartz said, "very possibly. That is why Chuck said, ‘I am going to find Dad, so he would be there to walk you down the aisle.’ There could be wedding bells by season’s end."

Regarding a possible season-ending cliffhanger for "Chuck," Schwartz
said, "The ending is going to change the show in a really fun way. It
will still be the show next year, but it will also be something very,
very different.

"It’s going to blow the doors off it it. The whole second half of
the season, we’re going for it. We’re taking nothing for granted. We’re
not leaving anything in the writers room. It’s going to be nuts."

Finally, asked if he was going to tune into "Southland," Schwartz said, "For Ben? Yeah! I just saw him. He’s looking very sharp in a suit tonight. Definitely — very excited for him."

Posted by:Kate O'Hare