JoBeth Williams (“Poltergeist”) is “Homeward Bound,” while Jeffrey Tambor (“The Larry Sanders Show”) is joining ABC’s “That Was Then” and French Stewart is going back to his “3rd Rock” roots.
News comes as the networks continued firming TV pilot plans Thursday. Here’s the latest:
- JoBeth Williams, repped by Innovative Artists, has been cast as the mom in ABC drama pilot “Homeward Bound.” Linsday Sloane stars in the project as a young woman who returns home to live with her family. J.K. Simmons already has been cast as the father; cast also includes Constance Zimmer and Devon Gummersall. Studios USA is producing the pilot from Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah. Danielle Stokdyk and Jennifer Gwartz are also exec producers.
- Tambor will play the dad in “That Was Then,” Touchstone’s hourlong drama from scribe-exec producers Jeremy Miller and Dan Cohn. Skein’s about a man (James Bulliard) who gets a chance to relive a week in his high school career.
Character played by Tambor will actually be dead during the portion of the show set in the present day; he’ll pop up only when the show switches to the 1980s.
- Former “3rd Rock From the Sun” star French Stewart has taken on the lead in Fox pilot “The Big Fix,” reuniting with “3rd Rock” writer-producer David Sacks. UTA-repped Stewart’s deal is subject to negotiations. Sacks (“The Tick”) is scribe-exec producer on the Castle Rock-produced high-concept family comedy. “The Big Fix” concerns a man (Stewart) who led a self-centered life but is, upon his arrival in the afterlife, given the chance to go back and correct his mistakes.
- Three-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald (“Wit”) has joined the cast of NBC pilot “Mister Sterling.” Project, which Studios USA and NBC Studios are producing, stars Josh Brolin as a young man who becomes a U.S. congressman. McDonald will play his press secretary. Lawrence O’Donnell (“The West Wing”) is the scribe-exec producer.
Meanwhile, casts for ABC’s “Astronauts” and NBC’s “A.U.S.A.” also are coming together.
- Jeffrey Pierce (“Big Apple”), Yvette Nipar, Chris Potter (“Silk Stalkings”) and Bobby Hosea (HBO’s “61*”) have landed on ABC drama pilot “Astronauts.” Pierce will play a young astronaut who heads a team being sent up to space to rescue the crew of a space ship, while Nipar plays an astronaut. The pilot is produced by 20th Century Fox Television in association with Industry Entertainment. It’s written and exec produced by Todd Robinson, directed by Robert Harmon, and exec produced by Emile Levisetti, Nick Wechsler, Ian Sanders and Kim Moses. Pierce is represented by Don Buchwald and Associates and Pearl Pictures and Management.
- Several thesps have been added to the Scott Foley-led NBC pilot “A.U.S.A.” Amanda Detmer (“Big Fat Liar”) has nabbed the femme lead, while Adam Rothenberg will play the brother of Foley’s character. In addition, Peter Jacobson will play a top-of-the-class type, and John Ross Bowie will play a socially challenged paralegal.
Foley stars in “A.U.S.A.” as Ben, a young lawyer just starting his career as a prosecutor in the Manhattan U.S. Attorneys Office. Project, inspired by the early career of writer-exec producer Rich Appel (“King of the Hill”), focuses on his professional and personal misadventures as he tries to make his mark on the justice system. Pilot comes from 20th Century Fox Television and NBC Studios.
- Barnett Kellman (“George Lopez”) has signed to direct the pilot for the WB’s “Family Affair.” Endeavor-repped helmer’s credits include “Murphy Brown,” “Mad About You” and “Bob Patterson.” .
Former WB execs Susanne Daniels and Kate Juergens have finally settled on a name for their Turner-based production shingle: Primarily Entertainment. Duo had spent several months trying to get copyright approval on a moniker.
“It’s almost impossible to clear a name,” Juergens said. “We didn’t want to use our names; we wanted something that sounded substantial.”
Primarily Entertainment has a drama and comedy at the Frog and a half-hour laffer at the Peacock.