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Dempsey backs ‘Boy’; Cole studies ‘101’

Smith, Jones also added to shows

Patrick Dempsey is all “About a Boy” and Gary Cole has signed up for “Criminology 101,” while Bill Smitrovich has agreed to abide by “The Law & Henry Lee.”

Deals are among several pilot casting pacts finalized Thursday. Here’s the latest:

  • Dempsey will star in the Fox adaptation of “About a Boy,” a half-hour comedy pilot presentation based on the feature of the same name.

    “About a Boy” comes from Tribeca, Working Title and Universal Network TV. Matthew Carlson (“God, the Devil and Bob”) will write and exec produce.

    Dempsey, who’s repped by CAA and Joanie Burstein, will play the lead character of trust fund slacker Will, who winds up befriending an unusual 12-year-old. Producers are still scouting for an actor to play the boy.

    The thesp landed an Emmy nom in 2001 for his perf on the drama “Once and Again.” Other TV gigs included a stint on “Will & Grace” and a role in the NBC telepic “Crime and Punishment.”

    Dempsey recently starred in the Reese Witherspoon film “Sweet Home Alabama”; other credits include “Scream 3,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “With Honors.”

  • Cole (“The Brady Bunch Movie”) is set to play Roy Franks in the 20th/Spyglass produced CBS drama “Criminology 101,” from exec producers Nell Scovell, Roger Birnbaum, Bery Berber and Meghan Wolpert. Thesp’s repped by ICM.

  • Smitrovich will star opposite Danny Glover in the Eye’s “The Law & Henry Lee,” from Spelling TV and Cheyenne Enterprises. Thesp, who will continue his recurring role on “The Practice,” plays Sgt. Bobby Pasternak, a vet homicide detective and Glover’s partner.

    Smitrovich’s credits include “Life Goes On” and “Crime Story.” He’s repped by Lighthouse Entertainment.

  • Anna Deavere Smith (“The West Wing”) will have a recurring role in the Eye drama pilot “Expert Witness” from 20th Century Fox TV and Firm TV. Hart Hanson and Keith Ablov are exec producers.

    CAA-repped thesp most recently was seen on the net’s now-dead “Presidio Med.”

  • Theresa Randle (upcoming “Bad Boys II”) and Paul Adelstein (“Breaking News”) have joined CBS’ “Violent Crime,” from Universal. Randle is on board as a Boston detective who is partners with the character portrayed by Jennifer Esposito. Adelstein (“Breaking News”) plays the boss of the violent-crimes unit.

    “Violent Crime,” exec produced by Samantha Howard Corbin, Ian Sander and Kim Moses, is a Universal Network Television production for CBS.

  • Tamala Jones (upcoming “Head of State”), has nabbed a lead role in NBC’s “The Tracy Morgan Project,” from NBC studios and Carsey-Werner-Mandabach. Jones, repped by ICM and Roklin Management, will play the loving and funny wife to Morgan, whose character incurs a series of mishaps as he tries to land a huge ambulance account for his automotive repair shop. Jim O’Doherty, David Israel, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandabach, Lorne Michaels, Dave Becky and David Miner are exec producers.

  • Bill Duke (“National Security”) has joined the cast of ABC’s “Karen Sisco” as Amos, a U.S. Marshal and Sisco’s boss.

    Duke, who’s repped by Writers & Artists, is also a prolific director, having helmed features such as “Hoodlum” and “Sister Act 2.” “Karen Sisco” comes from Universal TV.

  • Missi Pyle, Robin Bartlett, Geoff Stults (who is repped by 3 Arts and UTA) and Dan Lauria have joined the cast of Touchstone’s Jenny McCarthy project at ABC. The half-hour stars McCarthy as a spoiled, rich socialite who discovers what life is like for everyday people when her father is jailed for embezzlement and their money disappears overnight.

    Don Beck is scribe-exec producer, and Gil Junger is directing.

  • Also, Carrie Butler (“Hairspray”) has joined Fox’s untitled Glouberman/Orenstein pilot (from Warner Bros. TV) as Molly; James Lafferty (“Emeril”) will play Nathan on the WB’s “Ravens”; Tyler Andrews (“American Dreams”) will play Tim in NBC’s “Happy Family”; and Allison Munn (“That ’70s Show”) has joined the cast of the WB’s “Sweet Potato Queens.”

(Josef Adalian and Jill Feiwell contributed to this report.)