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TV News Roundup: Justin Long & Niecy Nash Book Comedy Pilots; First Look at ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

Pilot season casting continues, as Justin Long and Niecy Nash both land lead roles in comedy projects. Meanwhile, Gigi Hadid and more guest judges have been tapped for Season 8 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” in today’s TV news roundup . . .

Casting News:

Justin Long will star in ABC’s soccer comedy pilot “Dream Team.” He will play Marty Schumacher, the eternally optimistic manager of a sporting goods store and the head coach of a nationally ranked soccer program. The potential series centers around his character, who coached his last club soccer team for 10 years, ultimately taking them to the national championships. Now, he has to start from scratch with a diverse group of 8-year-olds and their disparate parents.

“Dream Team” will also star Michael Mosely, Lindsey Kraft and Michelle Buteau. The sports comedy hails from “Will & Grace” alums Bill Wrubel and Kari Lizer.

Niecy Nash will co-star in Fox’s female buddy cop comedy pilot “The Enforcers.” She will play one half of the central duo, two wildly different single mothers with dreams of being police officers who find themselves partnered as inspectors in the Code Enforcement Department, where instead of fighting crime, they have been relegated to handling petty code breaking like noise complaints, tree trimming and water misuse.

Nash’s character is described as a fun, outspoken, recently divorced single mom of two kids who, after struggling through a variety of odd jobs to provide for her children, is thrilled to land the job of code cop, hoping it will bring her a sense of legitimacy — but it doesn’t.

The casting marks a continuation at Fox for Nash, who also starred as an enforcement type — a security guard — on the network’s “Scream Queens.”

Late Night News:

Ben Affleck, Tracy Morgan, J.K. Simmons, Mike Tyson, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg and more will appear on the 11th annual “Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars” special, which airs live Sunday, Feb. 28, on ABC, after the award show. The special may also welcome Affleck’s buddy Matt Damon — from today’s press release: “possibly even Oscar loser Matt Damon, time-permitting.”

More TV Tidbits:

Joe Morton has been upped to a series regular on “Scandal,” meaning Rowan aka Papa Pope will be around to rile up Olivia (Kerry Washington) for good. Morton’s promotion was first reported by THR. He won an Emmy for the role in 2014.

Indie filmmaker Craig William Macneill (“The Boy,” “Henley”) will direct all six episodes of Syfy’s new horror anthology series “Channel Zero: Candle Cove,” which premieres this October.

“Candle Cove” centers on a man’s obsessive recollections of a mysterious children’s television program from the 1980s, and his ever-growing suspicions about the role it might have played in a series of nightmarish and deadly events from his childhood.

“Craig is a gifted young film director whose cinematic vision will bring a unique perspective to ‘Channel Zero: Candle Cove,’ ” said Bill McGoldrick, executive vice president of scripted content at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.

First Look:

Nicole Richie, Gigi Hadid, Marc Jacobs, David and Amy Sedaris, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, Ester Dean, Faith Evans, Jamal Sims, Chanel Iman, Todrick Hall, Thomas Roberts, Tasha Smith and Vivica A. Fox will all serve as guest judges on the eighth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The new season debuts March 7 at 9 p.m. on Logo with a 90-minute premiere episode.

Watch a first look at the new season here:

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