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‘News’ good for Piven

FX net casts thesp

Thesp Jeremy Piven (“Serendipity”) will return to series television as the lead of cabler FX’s new dark comedy “Bad News, Mr. Swanson.”

Piven will play a man with a bad marriage and loser job whose life takes a turn for the better when he is diagnosed with cancer. Thesp will serve as an exec producer of “Bad News” with showrunner-producers Daryl Rowland and Lisa Benedictis.

Gavin Polone is also an exec producer of the skein, set to bow next spring.

Frank Whaley had originally been set to play Swanson, but FX decided to recast the role and shoot a new pilot (Daily Variety, Aug. 6). Production on the new “Bad News” begins in January, with helmer Dean Parisot (“Galaxy Quest”) slated to direct the first seg.

“Bad News” reps FX’s second half-hour laffer after “Son of the Beach,” which has been picked up for a third season of 13 episodes. Cabler also just greenlit its first hourlong drama, “Rampart,” which stars Michael Chiklis (“The Commish”).

In addition to “Serendipity,” Piven will be seen in Ridley Scott’s upcoming feature “Black Hawk Down.” Other feature credits include “Grosse Pointe blank” and “The Player.”

Piven’s last major series role was as the lead of ABC’s critically admired but short-lived “Cupid.” He also was a regular on “Ellen” and “The Larry Sanders Show.”

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