Leonard, Alexander join pilots’ cast party

UPN has also picked up two drama skeins

Robert Sean Leonard (“The Last Days of Disco”) has joined Larry Gelbart’s untitled ABC drama pilot, while Sasha Alexander (“Wasteland”) is the first cast member set for CBS drama “Presidio Med.”

Meanwhile, UPN has picked up two more drama pilots — including an hour from scribe John Ridley (“Three Kings”) and the first network pilot of the season for Sony.

Here are the latest pilot developments:

  • UPN greenlit the Ridley-penned “Empire,” an hourlong drama about two brothers who own an L.A. hip-hop record label. Skein comes from the Greenblatt Janollari Studio and American Zoetrope. Robert Greenblatt, David Janollari, Francis Ford Coppola and Sofia Coppola are exec producers.

    Projects marks the third pilot pickup for Ridley this season; multi- hyphenate has a comedy and drama in the works at ABC.

  • Netlet also gave the go-ahead to “One for the Money,” a long-in-the-works hour from Columbia TriStar Domestic Television that was originally developed by CBS and later picked up by NBC and NBC Studios. Based on the bestselling series of Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich, skein would revolve around a Jersey girl who ends up working as a bounty hunter.

    Phoef Sutton, Mark Legan and Wendy Finerman are exec producers. In exchange for releasing the project, NBC — which retains an ownership stake in the pilot — insisted on language that prevents UPN from licensing or repurposing the show on CBS.

    CTDT has largely gotten out of the traditional network TV biz. But Sony insiders said the studio agreed to make “One for the Money” because the low-cost drama’s financial model made sense.

  • ABC has officially picked up “With You in Spirit,” a 20th Century Fox TV comedy from scribes Steven Levitan (“Greg the Bunny”) and the team of Alan Cohen and Alan Freedland (“King of the Hill”). Project, which had been given a put pilot commitment last year, stars newcomer Reid Scott as a recent college grad who gets a job as a TV news reporter in the town of Spirit, N.M.

  • Leonard will play the bastard son of the still-uncast media mogul at the center of Gelbart’s project, which comes from Touchstone Television.

  • Alexander will play a plastic surgeon in “Presidio Med,” the San Francisco-set medical drama to which CBS has committed 13 episodes. John Wells Prods. and Warner Bros. TV are producing the project for CBS, with John Wells and Lydia Woodward exec producing. Chris Chulack is directing.

  • Lindsay Sloane has nabbed the lead role in ABC drama pilot “Homeward Bound,” playing a young woman who returns home to live with her family. J.K. Simmons (“Oz”) has also joined the cast, as the woman’s father.

    Studios USA is producing the pilot from Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah. Danielle Stokdyk and Jennifer Gwartz also are exec producers.

  • Aussie actress Elizabeth Lackey will portray a senior detective in Fox drama pilot “John Doe,” while Azura Skye (“28 Days”) has joined the project as a young cocktail waitress who befriends the title character. Thesps join Dominic Purcell (“Mission: Impossible II”), who has already been cast as the lead.

    Regency Television project concerns a mysterious man who knows everything except his own identity. It’s written and exec produced by Brandon Camp and Mike Thompson, who just wrote Universal Pictures’ “Dragonfly.” Mimi Leder is directing-exec producing.

  • Neal McDonough (“Band of Brothers”) and Lana Parrilla (“Spin City”) have joined the cast of NBC’s “Boomtown,” a drama pilot about Los Angeles cops. They join previously hired cast members Jason Gedrick (“The Last Don”), Gary Basaraba (“Brooklyn South”) and Nina Garbiras (“The Street”). NBC Studios pilot is exec produced by Graham Yost.

  • Peter Horton and Mary Steenburgen will make guest appearances in the untitled Rod Lurie drama pilot for ABC. Horton will play an ambitious investigative reporter just assigned to cover the Capitol Hill beat for the Washington Post. Steenburgen will appear as the House majority whip.

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