Pilots loft vet thesps

Brook cast in Azaria's Peacock starrer

Pilot casting season is heating up, with several seasoned stars of the small screen landing key roles in fall 2001 projects — including Cloris Leachman and Seth Green (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).

Other castings of note Monday include Jayne Brook (“The District”) in NBC’s Hank Azaria starrer “What Are You Thinking,” Keith Carradine (“2 Days in the Valley”) in ABC’s “Metropolis” and Anita Barone (“Daddio”) in Fox’s “Bev.”

Leachman — whose long list of credits includes parts on long-running skeins “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” spinoff “Phyllis” and “The Facts of Life” — will play the mother of Ellen DeGeneres in the upcoming CBS laffer “Ellen Again,” from Artists Television Group. Show has DeGeneres starring as an urbanite who returns to her small-town roots.

Green is joining the cast of Fox Broadcasting’s “Greg the Bunny,” from exec producer Steve Levitan and 20th Century Fox TV. He’ll play the roommate of the titular rabbit and the son of a character played by Eugene Levy.

Skein mixes live-action elements with puppetry.

In addition to his work on “Buffy,” which he ankled early last season, Green also has a lead voice role on Fox’s animated laffer “Family Guy.” On the film side, he starred with Jennifer Love Hewitt in the teen comedy “Can’t Hardly Wait.”

Brook will play the wife of Azaria’s writer character in “What Are You Thinking,” a half-hour laffer from Columbia TriStar Television and Touchstone Television. Skein is exec produced by Seth Kurland.

Before “The District,” Brook was a regular on “Chicago Hope.” She also had a part in the short-lived 1993 skein “Sirens” and the Fox telepic “Doing Time on Maple Drive.”

Carradine has inked for a part in “Metropolis,” an hourlong ABC pilot from Rob Thomas and Greer Shephard about young twentysomethings just starting out in life. He’ll play an older police detective who has an affair with one of the show’s younger ensemble characters.

In addition to “2 Days,” Carradine’s long list of credits includes “Dead Man’s Walk,” “Nashville” and “Chiefs.”

Meanwhile, Barone has taken over the title role on the Fox comedy pilot “Bev,” formerly known as “Town Slut.” Barone replaces newcomer Idina Menzel (“Rent”), who was dropped from the project. Production hadn’t yet begun on the Regency/20th Century Fox pilot before Monday’s change.

“Bev” stars Barone as a thirtysomething mom with three different kids by three different fathers who wrestles with her small-town reputation as a slut. Project comes from Steve Tompkins (“The PJs”), Chris Alberghini, Mike Chessler, David Himmelfarb and Andy Cadiff.

Barone played the mother on “Daddio” as well as Jeff Foxworthy’s wife on his self-titled ABC/NBC sitcom; her other credits include “Life… and Stuff” and “Dream With the Fishes.”

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