Pilots land passengers

Curry, Cole fill 'Family'

Tim Curry and Gary Cole have joined the WB’s new take on “Family Affair,” while Katey Sagal has agreed to ABC’s “8 Simple Rules” and William Fichtner will join John Hannah in taking ABC’s “The Oath.”

Additionally, Scottish thesp Angus MacFadyen believes in ABC’s “Miracles,” and Fox is serving up Meatloaf — the rocker-thesp has joined drama pilot “John Doe.” Deals were among several to close Monday as the networks entered the homestretch of pilot casting. Here’s the latest:

  • Curry will portray the erudite British butler Mr. French in the new “Family Affair,” from Turner Television and Pariah Prods. Cole has taken on the role of Uncle Bill, the wealthy New York City bachelor who takes charge of his orphaned niece and nephew. Sasha Pieterse has been cast as Buffy, the young niece often seen clutching her beloved doll Mrs. Beasley. The parts of Buffy’s fraternal twin Jody and older sister Sissy are still being cast. Exec producing are scribe Bob Young, Gavin Polone, Sid & Marty Krofft and Randy Pope.

  • Sagal (“Married … With Children”) will play the mother in “8 Simple Rules,” which also stars John Ritter as a protective dad. The Touchstone Television-produced project is based on a book by W. Bruce Cameron. Tracy Gamble serves as scribe-exec producer, while Flody Suarez & Tom Shadyac also are exec producing and Gil Junger is directing.

  • Endeavor-repped Fichtner (“Black Hawk Down,” “The Perfect Storm”) will portray one of two MDs fighting the system at an HMO hospital in ABC’s tentatively titled “The Oath,” which Touchstone Television is producing. Hannah already has been cast as the other doctor. Gary Tieche is scribe-exec producer, while Marc Platt also is exec producing.

  • MacFadyen will play a priest in Touchstone Television- and Spyglass-produced “Miracles.” Project stars Skeet Ulrich as a spiritually conflicted man who investigates miracles. Richard Hatem is scribe-exec producer, while Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber also are exec producing.

  • Meatloaf will portray the character Ripper in Regency Television-produced “John Doe,” which stars Dominic Purcell as a mysterious man who knows everything except his own identity. Ripper is the owner and bartender at an establishment called the Sea, which John Doe uses as a sort of home base, since he also lives in an apartment loft above. Project is written and exec produced by Brandon Camp and Mike Thompson. Mimi Leder is directing-exec producing.

  • Dan Hedaya (“First Wives Club”) will join Rita Moreno and Nia Vardalos in CBS’ untitled half-hour based on Vardalos’ one-woman show, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Project’s exec producer Marsh McCall and Vardalos are writing the pilot. In addition to starring and writing, Vardalos also is co-exec producing. Brad Grey Television is producing.

  • Viola Davis, David Hewlett and Marin Hinkle have joined the cast of CBS drama pilot “Lefty,” from Brad Grey Television and Big Ticket Television. APA-repped Davis will portray Sister Maggie Durst, while Hewlett will play Father Gregory in the project starring Danny Nucci as Father Lefty, a nonconformist big-city priest. Hinkle plays Susanna Berman, Father Lefty’s best friend. Sylvester Stallone and Brad Grey are exec producing; Cynthia Cidre is penning the script.

  • Heather Burns (“Miss Congeniality”) has joined the cast of the ABC comedy pilot “With You in Spirit,” in the role of Emily. Endeavor-repped thesp will play opposite Reid Scott, who stars as a reporter in the New Age town of Spirit, N.M. Cast also includes Cheri Oteri, who will play “The Weather Girl” in the 20th Century Fox TV-produced project from scribes Steven Levitan (“Just Shoot Me”) and Alan Cohen & Alan Freedland (“King of the Hill”).

  • Liz Vassey (“The Tick”) will portray Rachel Dragan, the femme lead in CBS’ hourlong pilot “Dragans of New York,” which Regency Television and CBS Prods. are producing. Detective comedy is written-exec produced by Hugh Laurie.

  • James Avery (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) has been cast as Nancy Drew’s college professor in the ABC backdoor “Nancy Drew” pilot that Touchstone Television is producing. Ami Mann is scribe-exec producer, while Kevin Brown also is exec producing.

  • D.W. Moffett, Tamara Taylor and Kristin Bauer have joined NBC comedy pilot “Hidden Hills,” from Susanne Daniels’ and Kate Juergens’ Primarily Entertainment and NBC Studios. Family show concerns a married man, his wife, their three kids and the suburbs. Ric Swartzlander and Peter Segal are scribes-exec producers. Daniels and Juergens are also exec producers.

  • In cable pilot news, “E.R.’s” Laura Ceron has been tapped to play eccentric coroner Dr. Connie Benito on Lifetime Television’s drama pilot “Fiona,” which is vying for a summer series debut. Ceron will join Kellie Martin and Mario Van Peebles in the hour-long Columbia TriStar Domestic Television-produced project. Ceron, currently in her eighth season as nurse Chuny Marquez on “E.R.,” is also set for a guesting gig this month on Nickelodeon’s “Brothers Garcia.”

(Jill Feiwell contributed to this report.)

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