FX net brakes ‘News’

Whaley out as cabler 'adjusts' skein

Bad news, Mr. Whaley: Frank Whaley is out as the lead of FX’s upcoming comedy series “Bad News, Mr. Swanson” as the cabler revamps the pilot.

FX made a 13-episode commitment to “Swanson” earlier this summer, but did so with the understanding that a number of changes would be made. FX has hired feature and TV helmer Dean Parisot (“GalaxyQuest”) to direct the new pilot, utilizing the original script.

A replacement for Whaley has not yet been cast.

FX entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly said the decision to go back and rework the pilot, which will serve as the show’s first episode, was based on the desire to make “tonal” adjustments to the show.

“There were a few things tonally about the pilot we wanted to retool, and we thought we could go further with the idea, so we’re taking another crack,” Reilly said. “Frank’s a very gifted actor (but) where we wanted to go just didn’t play entirely into his talents.”

The skein does tread on unusual territory: It’s a comedy about death, following a man who decides to live life to its fullest after he learns he’s dying of cancer. The story’s hook, Reilly said, is taking control of your life.

“Swanson is a guy whose life was passing him by,” he said.

Gavin Polone is exec producer of “Mr. Swanson,” along with Daryl Rowland and Lisa DeBenedectis, through Columbia TriStar TV Distribution. Michael Patrick Jann directed the first pilot.

Skein is expected to preem early next year at 10 p.m. as part of the basic cable net’s strategy to launch original series in the slot following off-network series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Ally McBeal” and “The Practice.”

“The whole idea of doing originals is to attract compelling talent to the network, make noise and brand the network,” Reilly said, adding that he considers getting Parisot to direct the “Swanson” pilot a “coup.” “This script has been like that from the beginning. It’s something we just didn’t want to let go of.”

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety

Loading