TV Roundup: Benjamin Bratt Joins Lee Daniels’ Fox Pilot; Zoe Kravitz Cast in ‘Big Little Lies’

Lee Daniels’ untitled music industry pilot strikes a chord with Benjamin Bratt, and Zoe Kravitz joins the ever-growing cast of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” in Friday’s TV news roundup …

Casting News:

Benjamin Bratt has signed on as the male lead in Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy’s as-yet-to-be-titled music industry pilot at Fox. He’ll star along with Queen Latifah as Jahil, a talent manager with impeccable taste, a hidden life and a drive for redemption. Set in Atlanta, the project follows the members of an up-and-coming girl group with hopes of making it big in the music industry, and the choices they face along the way.

Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, the pilot is written and exec produced by Daniels and Donaghy with Daniels directing. Fellow exec producers are Pamela Oas Williams and Effie Brown. Bratt, a “24: Live Another Day” and “Law & Order” alum, also worked on the 2004 Daniels-produced movie “The Woodsman.”

The cast of the HBO limited series “Big Little Lies” has gotten larger, with Zoe Kravitz joining as Bonnie Carlson, Deadline reports. Married to the ex-husband of Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline, Bonnie is described as a spiritual yoga instructor and a sensitive soul with a strong moral compass.

Written by David E. Kelley and based on Liane Moriarty’s novel, “Big Little Lies” follows three mothers of kindergartners whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder. Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Adam Scott also star. Jean-Marc Vallée will direct multiple episodes.

Exec producers are Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea through their Pacific Standard, Kidman and Per Saari through their Blossom Films, and Kelley through his David E. Kelley Productions.

Awards Shows:

“Silicon Valley” actor T.J. Miller has been tapped to host the 21st Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, which will air at 5 p.m. PT on Jan. 17 on A&E. Miller was last year’s recipient of the Critics’ Choice award for supporting actor in a comedy series, an award he accepted while munching on macarons. This year, the award shows have been combined to celebrate both film and TV.

Exec Shuffle:

Discovery Communications’ in-house studio Discovery Studios has named Sandy Varo Jarrell as senior VP of creative. In the new role, Varo Jarrell will be responsible for originating and developing projects for network clients and overseeing the creative direction of all Discovery Studios projects. She previously served as senior VP of production and development for the Discovery Communications-owned TLC, where she oversaw programming such as “Say Yes To The Dress” and “I Am Jazz.”

It was also announced that Howard Lee, TLC’s exec VP of development and production, East Coast, will be expanding his duties to oversee TLC’s entire production and development programming slate originating from Los Angeles, New York and Silver Spring, M.D. He is now the number two creative under TLC president and general manager Nancy Daniels, who made the announcement.

Lee will continue his role as general manager of Discovery Life Channel and will oversee the West Coast-based development and production teams lead by Elvia Van Es Oliva, VP of development, and Jack Tarantino, VP of production.

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