TV News Roundup: Lily James Returns to ‘Downton,’ ‘Once Upon a Time’ Casts Hercules

A “Downton” regular comes home for the finale, and “Once Upon a Time” has some Herculean casting. Plus, Oprah, Jennifer Lopez and more stars are being honored by “Entertainment Tonight,” in today’s TV news roundup. . .

CASTING NEWS:

Once Upon a Time has added newcomer Jonathan Whitesell as Hercules and “Hannibal” alum Kacey Rohl as Megara for the 13th episode of Season 5, according to TV Line. The mythological hero is described as a “a dashing, strapping young man” while Meg is reportedly “a plucky young adventurer with a sly sense of humor.” The news lends credence to fan speculation that the recently cast Greg Germann is playing “Hercules” villain Hades. Showrunners Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis recently hinted at the show’s upcoming “Hercules” twist in an interview with Variety.

Lily James, whose character Rose grew into a proper young wife and headed for America at the end of last season, will be back for the series finale of “Downton Abbey.” She’ll appear alongside Matt Barber, who plays her husband Atticus Aldridge, Peter Egan, who plays her father Shrimpie, and of course, “Downton” regulars including Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery. Patricia Hodge will also guest star in the series finale as the mother of Bertie Pelham (Harry Hadden-Paton).

AWARDS:

“Entertainment Tonight” is honoring Oprah Winfrey, Garth Brooks, Jennifer Lopez and Ellen DeGeneres with the inaugural ET Icon Award, which recognizes the most influential stars in the business. Former “ET” anchor Mary Hart was honored this year with the award, which was presented to her last month during the show’s Oct. 29 broadcast, celebrating the series’ 35th season.

“During this process, we pored over hundreds of hours of footage from our expansive ‘Entertainment Tonight’ vault and narrowed down our list to five extraordinary people who have truly captured the hearts of the “Entertainment Tonight” audience,” said exec producer Brad Bessey. “Each one has a unique story to tell: Oprah Winfrey is about intention; Jennifer Lopez, passion; Ellen, truth; Garth Brooks, gratitude and Mary Hart, groundbreaking.”

All five stars will appear on the show, sharing never-before-heard stories and looking back on rarely-seen footage from their time on “ET” over the past three decades.

DEALS:

DNA Films and TV has acquired the TV rights to Neil Spring’s paranormal and science-fiction mystery novel “The Watchers.” Spring’s first novel, “The Ghost Hunters” is being developed as a TV drama for ITV starring “Sons of Liberty’s” Rafe Spall. This deal was handled by Erin Conway of WME. Spring is repped by Cathryn Summerhayes of WME.

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