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TV News Roundup: Seal to Play Pontius Pilate in Fox’s ‘The Passion,’ Tony Shalhoub Cast in CBS’ ‘BrainDead’

The Walking Dead,” “BrainDead” and “The Passion” add to their casts while Spike invests in another musical competition show in Thursday’s TV news roundup…

Casting

Grammy-winning singer Seal has been cast to play Pontius Pilate in Fox’s upcoming musical event “The Passion,” the network announced Thursday.

Seal joins previously announced host and narrator Tyler Perry, and cast members Jencarlos Canela (Jesus Christ), Chris Daughtry (Judas), Prince Royce (the disciple Peter) and Trisha Yearwood (Mary, the mother of Jesus). Peter Barsocchini’s take on “The Passion” tells the 2000-year-old story of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life on earth through passages from the Bible and a variety of contemporary popular music, sung by the cast, and arranged by executive producer and music producer Adam Anders. Set in modern day, the event will follow Jesus of Nazareth as he presides over the Last Supper, and then is betrayed by Judas, put on trial by Pontius Pilate, convicted, crucified and resurrected. The two-hour broadcast will air on Palm Sunday, March 20 at 8 p.m. (live ET, tape-delayed PT).

Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub has joined the cast of CBS’ comedic political thriller “BrainDead,” which will premiere this summer. Shalhoub will play Red Wheatus, a hard-drinking, fun-loving Republican senator who has spent decades in Washington making deals, until a radical transformation turns him into a health-conscious extremist who would rather destroy the government than compromise. Shalhoub joins previously announced cast members Mary Elizabeth Winstead; Aaron Tveit; Danny Pino; and Nikki M. James.

Alicia Witt has joined the cast of “The Walking Dead,” Variety has confirmed. AMC is keeping all details about Witt’s role under wraps, but since filming for Season 6 has already wrapped, she’s expected to make her debut in Season 7 this fall.

Witt tweeted the news on Thursday morning.

https://twitter.com/aliciawitty/status/695248605758750720

Development

Spike will partner with Howie Mandel’s Alevy Productions for a new game show, “Caraoke Showdown,” hosted and executive produced by Craig Robinson, Variety has confirmed.

“Caraoke Showdown” will debut as a half-hour special later this year, featuring Robinson posing as a driver to pick up unsuspecting contestants who are along for a very unique ride. During various rounds of game play, contestants must belt out their favorite tunes, finish the lyrics or act out songs for cash.

Mandel will serve as executive producer, in addition to Alevy’s Mike Marks and Core Media. Overseeing for the network are Sharon Levy, Spike’s EVP of Original Series, and Chachi Senior, SVP of Original Programming. Tori Socha serves as the network’s Executive in Charge of Production. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the news.

Awards

“American Crime” executive producer and Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley will be honored at the 41st Annual Humanitas Prize awards, it was announced Thursday. Ridley will receive the Kieser Award, given to an individual whose body of work exemplifies everything Humanitas stands for, exploring the human condition and ultimately inspiring compassion, hope and understanding in the human family.

In addition, producer-writer David Hudgins (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) will emcee the event, which honors outstanding writing in television and film. The ceremony will take place on Feb. 11 at the Directors Guild Theater.

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