Pilots changing faces

ABC's 'Strange,' Fox's 'Hollyweird' alter casts

HOLLYWOOD — ABC’s midseason drama “Strange World” is the latest pilot to be revamped before making it to air. Sources say actor Michael Moriarty has been dropped as a cast regular from the 20th Century Fox TV series.

Moriarty might be featured in some guest spots on the show, but producers felt the actor did not fit in as a series regular. “Strange World” is one of nearly a dozen upcoming series being tweaked or wholly reworked.

Fox’s drama “Hollyweird,” from Studios USA, is facing the most radical revamp. The entire cast is being replaced and the plot reworked before debuting this fall. But many other series are recasting supporting characters and reshooting certain scenes.

ABC says most of its pilots, aside from “Strange World,” will make it to air intact, as has traditionally been the case. More and more, though, pilots are simply blueprints or presentations that give an indication of series potential.

As studios make more pilots for more networks, talent is spread thin and studios can’t get the actors they want until a show is picked up. The quality of pilots decreases, often forcing serious changes before fall.

NBC is recasting or tweaking almost every pilot on its fall schedule, sources there said. The Peacock web and Paramount, for instance, are recasting a couple of supporting characters in the Nathan Lane sitcom “Encore! Encore!”

NBC is also recasting supporting characters on “Conrad Bloom” and Warner Bros. TV’s “All My Life,” and the web has ordered some minor reshooting on “Trinity” and “Will & Grace.” The only NBC pilot that will make it to air unchanged is the Saturday drama from NBC Studios called “Wind on Water.”

Fox is doing some minor reshoots on the drama “Brimstone,” and UPN will drop a minor character on “The Secret Diaries of Desmond Pfeiffer.”

At CBS, actor Jerry Stiller is replacing Jack Carter in the comedy “King of Queens.” “Martial Law” changed one of its lead characters, and “The Benben Show” is facing some small changes, too.