You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FX net brakes ‘News’

Whaley out as cabler 'adjusts' skein

Bad news, Mr. Whaley: Frank Whaley is out as the lead of FX’s upcoming comedy series “Bad News, Mr. Swanson” as the cabler revamps the pilot.

FX made a 13-episode commitment to “Swanson” earlier this summer, but did so with the understanding that a number of changes would be made. FX has hired feature and TV helmer Dean Parisot (“GalaxyQuest”) to direct the new pilot, utilizing the original script.

A replacement for Whaley has not yet been cast.

FX entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly said the decision to go back and rework the pilot, which will serve as the show’s first episode, was based on the desire to make “tonal” adjustments to the show.

“There were a few things tonally about the pilot we wanted to retool, and we thought we could go further with the idea, so we’re taking another crack,” Reilly said. “Frank’s a very gifted actor (but) where we wanted to go just didn’t play entirely into his talents.”

The skein does tread on unusual territory: It’s a comedy about death, following a man who decides to live life to its fullest after he learns he’s dying of cancer. The story’s hook, Reilly said, is taking control of your life.

“Swanson is a guy whose life was passing him by,” he said.

Gavin Polone is exec producer of “Mr. Swanson,” along with Daryl Rowland and Lisa DeBenedectis, through Columbia TriStar TV Distribution. Michael Patrick Jann directed the first pilot.

Skein is expected to preem early next year at 10 p.m. as part of the basic cable net’s strategy to launch original series in the slot following off-network series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Ally McBeal” and “The Practice.”

“The whole idea of doing originals is to attract compelling talent to the network, make noise and brand the network,” Reilly said, adding that he considers getting Parisot to direct the “Swanson” pilot a “coup.” “This script has been like that from the beginning. It’s something we just didn’t want to let go of.”

More TV

  • The Play That Goes Wrong review

    BBC Orders Comedy Series Based on ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’

    The BBC has greenlit “The Goes Wrong Show,” a new series based on Mischief Theatre’s popular “The Play That Goes Wrong” stage production about a troupe that puts on disastrous plays. The stage show has transferred from London’s West End to Broadway for a J.J. Abrams-produced version described by Variety as “a broad, silly and [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    Writers Guild Sends Hollywood Agents Proposed Code of Conduct

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent Hollywood talent agencies a proposed “Code of Conduct” with tough new restrictions on how they operate as agents for writer clients. The WGA made the disclosure Thursday night in an email to its 12,000 members, a day after announcing that it will hold a March 25 [...]

  • Jussie Smollett court

    Jussie Smollett's Attorneys Say He Was Victim of Police 'Spectacle'

    Jussie Smollett’s legal team issued a defiant statement on Thursday night, saying the “Empire” actor feels betrayed by the justice system and hinting at a political motive for his prosecution. Smollett was arrested early Thursday on a felony charge of filing a false police report. He was released after a court hearing on $100,000 bond, [...]

  • Carra Patterson Sarah Levy Paola Lazaro

    Fox Casts Four Leads in 'Patty's Auto' Pilot

    Fox has announced the casting of four lead characters for its multi-cam comedy pilot “Patty’s Auto,” including the eponymous Patty. Inspired by Patrice Banks’ Girls Auto Clinic, an auto repair shop with all female mechanics, the project centers on Patty, the intimidating owner of Patty’s Auto who will be played by “Straight Outta Compton” alumna [...]

  • Adam Pally Abby Elliott

    Adam Pally, Abby Elliott Join Cast of NBC Comedy Pilot 'Uninsured'

    NBC pilot “Uninsured” has cast four of its series regulars, with Adam Pally (“The Mindy Project,” “The President Show”) and Abby Elliott (“Saturday Night Live,” “Odd Mom Out”) playing the young married couple at the center of the show. Pally will play Dave, who is described as a “natural hype man with a good heart.” Elliott [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Appeared in Documentary on

    Jussie Smollett Recently Hosted Doc on Lynching, Filmmaker Talks 'Coincidence'

    In May 2018, Jussie Smollett appeared as the narrator and correspondent in an episode of the Epix documentary series “America Divided” that explored the subject of hate crimes, specifically lynching, in the state of Tennessee. Now that the “Empire” actor has been charged with filing a false police report and Chicago police are convinced he [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content