Former cast members find new gigs in upcoming season
The failure of ballyhooed ABC hostage drama “The Nine” to escape the 2006-07 television season unscathed left no stigma on its actors when it came time to cast pilots for the 2007-08 campaign.Instead, along with several other TV performers buffeted by the fates this season, at least six of “The Nine” have already found sanctuary in upcoming projects. Tim Daly will appear on the upcoming “Grey’s Anatomy” episode that will serve as a pilot for a spinoff featuring “Grey’s” actress Kate Walsh. Kim Raver, who played a potential love interest for Daly’s character, joined the cast of “Lipstick Jungle” at NBC. Chi McBride, manager of the bank where “The Nine” was set, will now be “Pushing Daisies” for ABC. Scott Wolf, who came to “The Nine” after a stint on “Everwood,” moved on to ABC’s untitled Gabe Sachs/Jeff Judah comedy pilot centered around co-workers at a law firm. Jessica Collins, whose pregancy with Jeremy’s child was left in limbo when “The Nine” vanished, settled in at CBS’ “The Man.” Camile Guaty, whose character liasoned with Jeremy as well, moved on to Fox’s “Supreme Courtships.” Some of the above come to their new locations with refugees from other 2006-07 disappearing acts, such as “Day Break” lead Taye Diggs, who joins Daly on the “Grey’s Anatomy” would-be spinoff and Melinda Clarke of “The O.C.,” who will meet Collins on “The Man.” In addition, a few of the most heavily promoted stars from other network shows last fall have already lined up prospects for 2007-08. Ted Danson is helping himself from ABC’s “Help Me Help You” to FX’s untitled legal drama starring Glenn Close. Jeffrey Tambor went from NBC’s quickly canceled “20 Good Years” to CBS pilot “The Captain.” Victor Garber, the face of Fox’s “Justice,” is plotting a return via ABC pilot “Eli Stone.” And Lucy Punch, a relative unknown who nevertheless spent most of this season playing Holly on well-publicized ensemble comedy “The Class,” finds new footing with “Two Families.” Meanwhile, several familiar names are leaving or potentially leaving veteran shows for new starts: Jerry O’Connell of “Crossing Jordan” to ABC laffer “Carpoolers”; Nikki Cox of “Las Vegas” and Michael Rapaport of “The War at Home” to Fox’s “The Stumps of Hollywood”; Joanna Garcia and Steve Howey of “Reba” to “The Captain” and “CBS’ “The Beast,” respectively; Harold Perrineau of “Lost” to CBS’ “Demons” (though this does not resolve the fate of Perrineau’s Michael on the ABC island drama); Robin Weigert of “Deadwood” to NBC’s “Set for Life”; and Shane West of “ER” to “Supreme Courtships.” And then there are those who parlayed noteworthy or even breakthrough guest work on successful shows into potential series-regular status on new shows. This group includes Paul Reubens (“30 Rock”) and Jane Lynch (“Criminal Minds”/”Boston Legal”), who relocated to NBC comedy “Area 52”; Kate Burton (the recently deceased Ellis Grey of “Grey’s Anatomy”), who landed on “Supreme Courtships”; and Rashida Jones (“The Office”), who will start over with “The Rules of Starting Over.” Jayma Mays, who has guested as female characters named Charlie on both “Heroes” and “Ugly Betty,” will have to get used to a new first name on “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” for ABC; while Fox’s “K-ville” and “The Apostles” each cast a “Heroes” colleague of Mays: Tawny Cypress (Simone) and Jessalyn Gilsig (Meredith). Even bigger 2006-07 guest stars that embraced the possibility of full-time series work include Lucy Liu (from “Ugly Betty” to ABC’s “Cashmere Mafia”), Beau Bridges (from “My Name Is Earl” to Fox’s “Two Families”) and Lucy Lawless (from “Battlestar Galactica” to ABC’s “Football Wives”) Aside from Emmy-winning sitcom stars Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton — the anchor team for Fox’s “Action News” — the most intriguing names in pilot casting thus far might be film actresses Marisa Tomei and Parker Posey, who were each cast in dramatically titled projects: “The Rich Inner Life of Penelope Cloud” (CBS) and “The Return of Jezebel James” (Fox). Casting news for the 2007-08 TV season can be tracked at Variety’s Pilot Watch.