HOLLYWOOD — TV vets Bess Armstrong, Sally Struthers and Gerald McRaney along with feature thesp Samantha Mathis are headed to the small screen via two retro-themed pilot projects.
In addition, Mark Feuerstein (“Conrad Bloom”) and Tessie Santiago are headed south to NBC’s “Welcome to Miami,” while Traylor Howard (“Two Guys and a Girl”) is set for a big role in the CBS laffer from Christopher Lloyd and Joe Keenan.
Here are the latest castings as nets continue firming up development for fall 2002:
- Mathis (“American Psycho”) and sitcom icons Struthers (“All in the Family”) and McRaney (“Major Dad”) have joined the previously cast Johnny Galecki (“Roseanne”) in Fox’s laffer from scribe Ricky Blitt and 20th Century Fox TV.
Skein, set in the mid-1990s, revolves around Glen, an ultraneurotic 32-year-old man (Galecki) who never really grew up. He still lives with his parents, the enabling mom Irene (Struthers) and hard-ass dad Ron (McRaney). CAA-repped Mathis plays Glen’s childhood crush Alison, who’s moved back to town with her 13-year-old, ultraneurotic son.
“Just looking at Gerald and Sally, you see what’s gone horribly wrong with (Galecki’s character),” Blitt said. “They’re just so right. And Samantha brings an incredible class to the show.”
Struthers, a two-time Emmy winner who’s had a recurring role on the WB’s “Gilmore Girls,” is repped by Vincent Cirrincione. Lensing on the Brian Gordon-helmed half-hour is skedded to start March 19.
- Armstrong, who played Claire Danes’ mom in the critically worshipped cult drama “My So-Called Life,” has signed on for ABC’s 1980s-themed drama “That Was Then.” She’ll play the mother of a 30-year-old man who suddenly finds himself transported back to a crucial week in his high school career.
Skein, penned by Jeremy Miller and Dan Kohn, flashes back between the late 1980s and the present. Armstrong’s repped by WMA.
- Howard will play Alice, a woman who discovers her biological dad is a famous author at the center of Lloyd and Keenan’s untitled Par laffer for CBS. Thesp previously appeared in the feature pic “Me, Myself and Irene.”
- Feuerstein, who’s recently appeared on “The West Wing,” has snagged the leading role in “Good Morning, Miami,” the Warner Bros. TV-produced NBC laffer from scribes David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. Skein revolves around the young producer of a morning talkshow. Also joining the cast is Tessie Santiago (“Queen of Swords”), who’ll play the ditzy but strong-willed co-anchor of the broadcast.
- Casting is almost all set for Jeff Rake’s untitled drama about Washington D.C.-based Secret Service agents. Latest additions are Brit thesp Paul Blackthorne (“Lagaan”) as veteran agent Graham Davis, who is assigned to protect the daughter of the vice president (daughter should be cast any day); Matt Keeslar as Mike Pierce, an ultracompetitive agent who shows up in D.C. surprised to find himself answering to a senior agent — his ex-girlfriend; Nick Offerman as Joe Pendell, a field agent with a rebellious streak; and Colleen Porch as Kelly Nathanson, a street-smart senior agent.
Frog leaps on thesps
Meanwhile, the WB has snatched up thesps for a bevy of its comedy and drama pilots, including “Prep,” “Just Like You” (formerly “This Time”), “In My Life” and the Untitled Amanda Bynes Project.
- Amber Tamblyn, who co-stars in DreamWorks’ “Ring,” is set for “Prep,” a laffer that follows the crazy antics of a coed boarding school. Rodman Flender (“Gilmore Girls”) will helm. James-Patrick Stoteraux, Chad Fiveash and Thomas W. Lynch are the executive producers.
- Julio Oscar Mechoso will topline the Frog’s newly titled laffer “Just Like You.” Skein, which centers around a Latino family, was penned by Peter Murietta. Howard Klein and David Miner are exec producers.
- “City Guys” thesp Wesley Jonathan is onboard for the Untitled Amanda Bynes Project. Laffer concerns a younger sister living with her older sister in Gotham. WBTV/Tollin Robbins project will be exec produced by Dan Schneider and former “Friends” scribe-exec producer Wil Calhoun, along with Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola.
- Trevor Fehrman, who toplines New Line’s “Cheaters,” has been cast in the role of Mac in the drama “In My Life.” Coming-of-age project, to be produced by American Zoetrope, follows the integration of a high school in Baton Rouge, La., in 1965. Thesps Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Mark Moses, Billy Kay and Edwin Hodge also are attached. Show, written by Ira Ungerleider, will be exec produced by him as well as Francis Ford Coppola and Maira Suro.