Garr, Lahti pilot deals for new series

Theps join the casting, WB halts 'Dragonrider'

Veteran thesp Teri Garr has joined the cast of NBC’s Debi Gutierrez comedy pilot, Christine Lahti has landed a CBS telepic — and two fall 2001 series projects won’t be happening so soon.

The WB has halted production on the Regency TV/20th Century Fox hourlong project “The Dragonriders of Pern,” from exec producer Ron Moore. Insiders cite creative differences as the reason behind the decision to shelve the fantasy adventure skein.

Meanwhile, NBC and 20th have decided to push back production on the Dottie Dartland Zicklin-penned laffer “Tikiville” until midseason. While Rob Estes had been cast as the male lead, producers were having trouble landing the right femme thesp for the show.

On the casting front, Garr is set to play Gutierrez’s mother-in-law in the untitled Gutierrez skein, a family laffer from a Latina point of view. Gutierrez and Regina Stewart are exec producers of the Warner Bros. Television/Castle Rock pilot.

In recent years, Garr has had a recurring role on WBTV’s “Friends,” playing Lisa Kudrow’s mother. Her other series credits, not counting appearances on David Letterman’s CBS “Late Show,” include “Women of the House” and “Good Advice.”

On the feature side, Garr appeared in the 1999 comedy “Dick.”

In other casting news, Christine Lahti (“Chicago Hope”) has signed on for the title role in the CBS telepic “The Pilot’s Wife” (Daily Variety, Nov. 20 )

Thesp, who now doubles as a feature helmer, will play the wife of a commercial airline pilot whose plane explodes, leading her on a mission to discover what went wrong. In the process, she discovers that he had a home in London and was married to a flight attendant.

Pic, from Stephanie Germain Prods. in association with Mandalay Films and Lion’s Gate Entertainment, is based on the best-seller from author Anita Shreve.

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