ABC, CBS continue hunt for fall casts

HOLLYWOOD — Tom Berenger and Kyle Chandler are headed to Congress for ABC, while Laurie Metcalf will reunite with former “Roseanne” colleague Chuck Lorre for CBS, as the nets continue to firm up casting for their fall series contenders.

Also on Friday, ABC made cast pacts on three pilots: Ed Kerr snagged the lead role in “Dexter Prep”; Simon Helberg will join “The Funkhausers” in a central role; and Brad Raider has taken an important role in “That Was Then.”

Here’s the latest in TV pilot casting:

  • Berenger will portray the majority party Senate leader in the yet-untitled Rod Lurie Washington-set project for ABC. It’s the CAA-repped “Platoon” star’s first regular starring role in a primetime TV series.

    Chandler, repped by the Gersh Agency and managed by Brillstein-Grey, will play the legislative director for a congressman played by David Paymer. Chandler’s character develops a romantic interest in Leslie Bibb’s lead character.

    Most recently, Chandler co-starred in ABC’s “What About Joan.”

    Katharine Ross joined the cast last week as the first lady to Peter Fonda’s recurring role as president (Daily Variety, Feb. 21). The two-hour drama pilot is a co-production of DreamWorks Television and Touchstone Television, and Lurie will write, direct and exec produce. Marc Frydman is producer.

  • Metcalf will star as a widow in Lorre’s CBS comedy pilot tentatively titled “Two Families,” which Warner Bros. Television is producing. Project, penned and exec produced by Lorre, is about two extended families joining up when a widower meets a widow.

    During the early years of “Roseanne,” Lorre was a scribe/co-exec producer on the laffer. Metcalf won three Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Roseanne’s sister, Jackie.

    Several of the family members have been cast, although Metcalf’s widower counterpart has yet to be tapped. Metcalf is repped by ICM.

  • Kerr will star in “Dexter Prep,” from Touchstone and Brad Grey Television. Playing the new teacher in an all-male boarding school, Endeavor-repped Kerr is the first thesp to join the cast of the ABC comedy pilot. Paul Simms is writing and exec producing; James Burrows is directing.

  • Helberg, also Endeavor-repped, will play the eldest of four kids in the oddball, extended “Funkhauser” family. Touchstone and Jersey TV are producing the laffer pilot for ABC. Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein are writing and exec producing; Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher and John Landgraf are also exec producers.

  • In “That Was Then,” a 1980s-set drama pilot for ABC, Raider will play the obnoxious older brother of the yet-to-be-cast main character, who gets the chance to go back in time to the point in his life he believes marked a downturn. Casting is the first for the pilot. Jeremy Miller and Dan Cohn are the writers-exec producers of the Touchstone-produced hour. Jeff Kline is also exec producing. Raider is repped by the Gersh Agency.
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