Several thesps from recently shelved series got back on their horses in the past week to ride back in to pilot season.
Andrea Anders, Kyle Bornheimer, Sarah Chalke, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Allison Janney and Chi McBride, all series regulars on broadcast skeins in the past year, booked principal roles on network pilots heading into production.
Also signing up for 2012-13 consideration were two smallscreen veterans who did noteworthy work for cable, Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age”) and Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”), as well as a TV star of recent vintage, Portia de Rossi, and one from a current series, Mindy Kaling.
Shalhoub and Janney (recently in ABC’s “Mr. Sunshine”) are teaming up to star in NBC comedy pilot “Friday Night Dinner,” an adaptation of the U.K. comedy that featured Tamsin Greig and Simon Bird. Greg Daniels, Howard Klein and director Ken Kwapis, all vets of “The Office,” are exec producing.
Kaling, a writer and exec producer for “The Office” in addition to playing Kelly Kapoor, would have to make a visit to human resources if Fox picks up her untitled project, in which she would play a gynecologist juggling her personal and work life. Klein is exec producing with Kaling.
Interestingly, another writer from the NBC Thursday family, Harris Wittels (“Parks and Recreation”), has scored an on-camera role, playing a version of himself in Sarah Silverman’s untitled comedy for the Peacock. Ken Leung (“Lost”) also joined the ensemble that includes Silverman, Tig Notaro and June Diane Raphael.
NBC also added Justin Kirk (“Weeds”) to “Animal Kingdom,” a single-cam comedy about a “House”-like vet who hates pet owners, Anders (“Mr. Sunshine”) to its untitled Kari Lizer comedy and Aimee Garcia (“Dexter”) to “County,” the Jason Katims drama starring Jason Ritter.
And fresh off “American Horror Story,” Alexandra Breckinridge will be joined by Michael Landes, who starred in short-lived 1990s NBC sitcom “Union Square,” in the Peacock’s Anne Heche starrer “Save Me,” about a housewife who comes to believe she’s a prophet.
ABC was about as busy as NBC with casting in the past week. Braugher, who was seen on ABC in the 2000-01 drama “Gideon’s Crossing,” will take on the lead role in nuclear sub drama “The Last Resort,” written by Shawn Ryan and Karl Gajdusek. Daniel Lissing and Daisy Betts (“Harry’s Law”) are co-starring.
Chalke (“Mad Love”) signed on to be a newly divorced mom for ABC’s “How To Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life,” from Claudia Lonow, while de Rossi (“Better Off Ted”) committed to sister comedy “The Smart One,” written by Don Todd with Ellen DeGeneres and Lauren Corrao exec producing.
The Alphabet net also locked up Bornheimer, whose recent sitcom efforts include NBC’s “Perfect Couples,” ABC’s “Romantically Challenged” and CBS’ “Worst Week,” as the star of another British adaptation, “White Man Van.” Additionally, Mandy Moore was inked for an untitled comedy in which she plays a newlywed restaurateur, and Gabriella Wilde (“The Three Musketeers”) for an untitled good vs. evil drama from Roland Emmerich and Harold Kloser.
Meanwhile, two former ABC stars, McBride (“Pushing Daisies”) and Swisher (“Better With You”), have migrated to CBS for pilots, each shepherded by Greg Berlanti’s busy production banner.
McBride, most recently a series regular on Fox’s “Human Target,” will play a detective in “Golden Boy,” written by Nicholas Wootton. Swisher has taken the female lead role in an untitled romantic comedy written by Berlanti and Greg Malins.
Also heading to CBS is Michael Angarano, who played the son of Sean Hayes’ character on NBC’s “Will and Grace.” Angarano will be part of the ensemble in the Eye’s untitled Nick Stoller comedy about a man who works at an ad agency in close proximity to the woman who dumped him.
Alona Tal (“Veronica Mars”) and Jessica Lucas (“Melrose Place”) are returning to the CW for drama pilot “Cult,” the latest from Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage and Len Goldstein, about two women who investigate copycat crimes that imitate a popular TV show. CW also added David Ramsey (“Blue Bloods”) to Green Arrow pilot “Arrow” starring Stephen Amell, another effort with Berlanti’s fingerprints.
Fox had a mostly quiet week on the casting front, but locked down James Purefoy (“Rome”) to join Kevin Bacon in its serial-killer thriller from Kevin Williamson.