New skeins from 'Simpsons,' '70s' scribes piloted

Anthony LaPaglia (“Lantana”) is about to reappear on TV in CBS drama pilot “Vanished,” while Fox Tuesday greenlit a trio of potential projects for next season.

Fox’s latest additions to its pilot roster include skeins from scribes Mike Scully (“The Simpsons”), Eric Gilliland (“That ’70s Show”) and Kip Koenig (“The American Embassy”).

On the casting front, the ensemble for CBS’ missing-persons drama pilot “Vanished” is becoming apparent, with LaPaglia, Marianne Jean-Baptiste (“Secrets & Lies”) and Enrique Murciano (“Black Hawk Down”) taking roles in the project. Over at the WB, leads have been set for two comedy pilots.

Here are the latest developments as pilot season continues to roll along:

  • LaPaglia will portray the head of an investigative team in “Vanished,” which Jerry Bruckheimer is exec producing along with Jonathan Littman for Warner Bros. TV. Hank Steinberg is co-exec producing and writing. Jean-Baptiste and Murciano will be investigative team members.

    Casting marks a return to the small screen for LaPaglia, who starred in critically acclaimed ABC drama “Murder One.”

  • Newcomer Richard Trapp will play self-centered celeb columnist Anthony Browne in “In My Opinion,” the Lona Williams-penned half-hour laffer that Susanne Daniels’ new company is producing with Turner Television for the WB.

    Trapp, who’s repped by Principato-Young Management, also is set to host the Frog’s upcoming U.S. remake of Brit music skein “Top of the Pops.”

    Also cast in “Opinion”: Bianca Kajlich, who appears in the upcoming “Halloween: The Homecoming.” Thesp also had a recurring role on “Boston Public.”

  • Ryan Merriman (“The Deep End of the Ocean”) has been cast as Nikko in the untitled Patrick Massett/John Zinman back-door drama pilot that Touchstone Television is producing for ABC. He’ll play the son in the father-son archaeology team the series follows.

    Massett and Zinman are writing-exec producing; Bryan Spicer is exec producing and directing the pilot. Storyline toppers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are exec producing through their overall deal with Touchstone.

    The role of the father is being cast.

  • Newcomer Penn Badgley has nabbed the lead role in “Do Over,” a comedy pilot that Paramount Network Television and the Littlefield Co. are producing for the WB.

    Half-hour single-camera show follows a man who is sent back into the 1980s with a chance to relive high school. Warren Littlefield is exec producing, with Rick Weiner and Kenny Schwartz are writing and exec producing.

  • Sean Maher (“Brian’s Song”) has joined “Firefly” as a mercenary crew member, rounding out the cast of Fox’s upcoming space Western from Joss Whedon and 20th Century Fox TV.

    Meanwhile, the latest Fox pilot greenlights include:

  • “The Pitts,” a half-hour laffer from Scully and Julie Thaker. Pilot, to be produced by 20th Century Fox TV, revolves around an incredibly unlucky family that seems to face a new disaster every week.

  • Net also is going forward with an untitled half-hour pilot presentation from Gilliland that revolves around a left-wing son who returns home from the Peace Corps and moves in with his suburban family — only to clash with his conservative dad. Skein is from Studios USA.

  • Fox also is producing a pilot presentation for “Septuplets,” a low-budget drama/comedy from exec producer/scribe Koenig. Skein is a youth ensemble about a group of 16-year-old septuplets living in a Santa Monica hotel owned by their parents.

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