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Cleese joins ‘HMO’ plan

Will play head of hospital in Touchstone/Imagine laffer

“Monty Python”-er John Cleese is in negotiations to star in the ABC comedy pilot “HMO,” which would mark his first regular TV gig this side of the pond.

In other casting news, Dennis Haysbert (“Now and Again”) Leslie Hope (“Judging Amy” and Mia Kirshner (“Exotica”) have joined Kiefer Sutherland in Fox’s drama pilot “24.”

In “HMO,” Cleese would star as Larry King, the medical director at a dysfunctional hospital, in the Touchstone/Imagine laffer.

Besides his role as a member of the “Monty Python” troupe, and star of the group’s cult classic “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” TV skein, Cleese is also best known for creating and starring in the 1970s British comedy “Fawlty Towers.” Cleese’s film career also includes “A Fish Called Wanda,” for which he received an original screenplay Oscar nomination.

“HMO” comes from Touchstone TV and Imagine; Peter Tolan wrote the pilot and exec produces, along with Lauren Corrao. Series focuses on the absurdity behind managed health care systems.

Haysbert, whose feature credits include “Love and Basketball” and “Random Hearts,” will play the presidential candidate at the center of an assasination attempt that Sutherland is trying to thwart. Hope (“Judging Amy”) is set to portray Sutherland’s wife, while Kirshner will play his daughter.

“24” is from Imagine Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television.

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