Pilots ‘Book’ talent

Net fills in blanks; Eye adds four comedies

Thesp Josh Brolin (“Into the Blue”) has scored the lead role in Fox’s drama pilot “Murder Book,” while “Frasier’s” Peri Gilpin has joined the cast of Sony TV’s Larry Miller comedy “Uncommon Sense.”

Also, thesp Alexa Davalos (“Chronicles of Riddick”) and Sean Faris (“Life as We Know It”) will star in the Fox pilot “Reunion”; Ashley Scott (“Dark Angel”) has been added to ABC’s real estate sudser “Westside”; and in his first series gig since “Boomtown,” feature helmer-producer Jon Avnet has signed on to exec produce the CBS drama pilot “Conviction.”

Meanwhile, preparing for its post-“Everybody Loves Raymond” laffer lineup, CBS picked up four more sitcom pilots Wednesday.

Entries include projects from Kari Lizer (“Will & Grace”), Rich Appel (“King of the Hill”), Fred Barron (“Caroline in the City”) and Carter Bays and Craig Thomas (“American Dad”).

On the casting beat, Brolin stars in 20th Century Fox’s “Murder Book,” which revolves around cops who investigate homicides via extensively detailed volumes.

Chris Brancato and Bert Salke exec produce the project.

Gilpin will play Miller’s wife in “Uncommon Sense,” the half-hour Jerry Seinfeld may help produce (Daily Variety, Jan. 24).

“Seinfeld” alum Andy Ackerman is on board to direct the project, which Miller and Eileen Conn are writing.

NBC is helping finance the production of the pilot — with Sony, which is picking up most of the tab, maintaining rights to shop it elsewhere if the Peacock passes.

Over on “Reunion,” Davalos will play Samantha, a “beautiful overachiever,” while Faris is on board to play Craig. Jon Harmon Feldman, Steve Pearlman and Andrew Plotkin are exec producing, and Jon Amiel will direct the Warner Bros. TV drama, which follows a group of high school pals from graduation to their 20th reunion, one year per episode.

Avnet — whose role as director had previously been known — joins creator Ed Redlich and 25C Prods.’ Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly as an exec producer of the Warner Bros. TV pilot. Drama revolves around a hotshot defense attorney who ends up switching sides, solving crimes for the prosecution.

Redlich’s script is what sold Avnet on the project, helmer said.

“Ed’s writing is very lean, very imaginative,” Avnet said. “It gives me an opportunity to do something visually that could be quite stunning.”

Avnet said he and Redlich have already talked extensively about visual devices for the show, and that Redlich has already made a number of suggestions that have intrigued Avnet.

While he won’t discuss specifics about the look of the pilot, “I’m already like a kid in a candy story trying to get in all the CGI,” Avnet said.

Lensing, expected to begin by mid-March, will take place largely in Los Angeles, with some San Francisco exteriors.

As for Wednesday’s pilot orders, Lizer, who’s also behind the WB pilot “True,” will exec produce “Old Christine” for CBS.

Cast-contingent laffer follows a 35-year-old divorcee who has to contend with the other moms at her son’s private school and deal with her ex-husband, who already is dating. Warner Bros. TV is behind “Old Christine.”

Appel, meanwhile, is writing and exec producing an untitled laffer for the Eye revolving around a divorced couple who remain best friends and share custody of their kids.

Twentieth Century Fox is behind the Appel project, along with Bays and Thomas’ “How I Met Your Mother.” That pilot looks at the exploits of a single man, as told through his own eyes 20 years later.

Also at CBS, net has picked up “Everything I Know About Men,” to be exec produced by Barron. Show is based on Barron’s BBC comedy “According to Bex,” which follows a young single woman as she navigates the men in her life. Touchstone TV will produce the U.S. version.

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