×

Stars jump from fading shows to pilots

Latest casting grabs thesps from 2010-11 series

The latest round of pilot casting reflects the demise of projects that held great promise as recently as a year ago.

For example, while ABC’s “No Ordinary Family” hasn’t yet been canceled, the fact that its two leads have lined up provisional roles on CBS pilots — Michael Chiklis on comedy “Vince Uncensored” and Julie Benz on an untitled drama from Susannah Grant — shows how the pendulum has swung.

Similarly, Zach Gilford has become the latest from ABC’s “Off the Map” to look for a way back on the map, traveling to Fox drama “Iceland,” and Boris Kodjoe of NBC’s “Undercovers” is set for the Alphabet’s “Georgetown.”

FX’s “Terriers” co-star Donal Logue has landed on ABC’s “Hallelujah” (joined by Terry O’Quinn of “Lost”), and Jimmy Smits of NBC’s “Outlaw” has migrated to the Peacock’s “SILA” with Madchen Amick. Kelli Garner of ABC’s “My Generation” will now fly on the Alphabet net’s “Pan Am.”

And though his show’s retirement won’t come until next summer, Kevin Dillon of “Entourage” has prepared to move past Johnny Drama with a role on CBS comedy “How to Be a Gentleman.”

Going back past the latest TV season, there’s a host of familiar names continuing to pop up on network projects:

ABC

Marcia Gay Harden has committed to what would be her first broadcast network series regular role, in the multicam comedy “Smothered,” which also cast Brooke D’Orsay (“Gary Unmarried”).

“House” alum Jennifer Morrison, who has been recurring on “How I Met Your Mother,” signed up for drama “Once Upon a Time” with Robert Carlyle (as Rumplestiltskin) and Raphael Sbarge.

Judith Light is returning to her longtime “Who’s the Boss” home to try out comedy “Other People’s Kids,” and Jeremy Sisto (“Law and Order”) is also going the laffer route on “Suburgatory.” The provocative title role in period drama “Poe” went to Chris Egan, the lead in NBC’s short-lived “Kings,” while Bruce Greenwood and Leslie Hope are riding ABC’s “The River” and Wendy Crewson and Kevin Zegers are traveling to “Georgetown.” Emily Van Camp, most recently on ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters,” will take “Revenge” on the network with Madeline Stowe and Henry Czerny.

Kristin Chenoweth, David James Elliott, Miriam Shor (“Swingtown”) and Marisol Nichols (“The Gates”) joined drama “Good Christian Bitches,” and filling the role of Charlie on “Charlie’s Angels” will be none other than Robert Wagner.

CBS

Christine Lahti starrer “The Doctors” has extended its casting net to include Michael Boatman (“Spin City”), Scott Foley (“The Unit”) and Kyle MacLachlan, who with Morrison has been guesting on “How I Met Your Mother.”

David Henrie, best known as the son on “HIMYM” or the brother on “Wizards of Waverly Place,” depending on the demos in your home, has a series regular role on comedy pilot “The Assistants,” which has also cast Heather Locklear in a lead role.

Terry Kinney (“Oz”), who has been popping up on CBS shows like “The Mentalist” and “The Good Wife,” landed a part on cop drama “Rookies.” His role: Yoda.

Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) and Jim Caviezel (“The Prisoner”) have joined Michael Emerson on crime drama “Person of Interest.”

Looking at his first TV role since “Nip/Tuck” is Dylan Walsh, who signed on for CBS’ untitled drama from Ed Redlich and John Bellucci.

Comedy veteran Garret Morris has a part on Whitney Cummings-scripted “Two Broke Girls,” while Michelle Trachtenberg and producer-actor-comedian Larry Wilmore (“The Daily Show”) are aboard the untitled office comedy from Peter Knight.

Ken Marino (“Party Down”) will play football-tinged laffer “Home Game,” while another tangentially sports-related project, the untitled comedy inspired by talkradio host Colin Cowherd, has scored Damon Wayans (whose son, Damon Wayans Jr., grabbed a role on Fox’s untitled Liz Meriwether project).

Rob Schneider’s untitled family comedy has added Nadine Velazquez (“My Name Is Earl”) and longtime character actress Lupe Ontiveros.

And joining Dillon on “How to Be a Gentleman” is Mary Lynn Rajskub (“24”).

CW

Scott Porter and Cress Williams have left their “Friday Night Lights” days behind by taking roles on Rachel Bilson starrer “Hart of Dixie.”

The busy Titus Welliver has beelined to zombie drama “Awakenings.” Lucy Griffiths, who played Marian on the BBC’s recent “Robin Hood” series, co-stars.

Ryan Eggold (“90210”) soared to “Heavenly” with Lauren Cohan, who has been guesting on “The Vampire Diaries.”

Thomas Dekker (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”), soon to appear in HBO movie “Cinema Verite,” has joined “Secret Circle.”

Alexandra Breckinridge (“Family Guy”), who recurred on the CW’s “Life Unexpected,” has booked female detective series “Cooper and Stone.”

Fox

Robin Givens, most recently recurring on “Chuck,” joined the ensemble for “Tagged,” a comedy set in a coroner’s office, while Gabrielle Union and Alanna Ubach will boost the cast of sitcom “Little in Common.”

Another comedy, “Council of Dads” with Kyle Bornheimer, has fleshed out its cast with thesps including Ken Howard, Diane Farr (“Numbers”), Rick Gomez (“Cupid”) and Richard T. Jones (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”).

On the drama side, Tom Sizemore hooked up with Ethan Hawke starrer “Exit Strategy,” and Eric Winter (“Days of Our Lives”) and Amber Stevens (“Greek”) joined “Weekends at Bellevue,” featuring Lauren Ambrose.

NBC

Where to begin with the busy Peacock? How about with Donald Sutherland, eyeing his first series regular role since ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money” in NBC’s “My Life as an Experiment,” which also landed Paget Brewster of “Criminal Minds.”

Drama “17th Precinct” added a pair of fanboy faves in Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Kristin Kreuk (“Smallville”), along with Esai Morales (“Caprica”). Meanwhile, Kelly Hu joined Don Johnson pilot “Mann’s World,” which also has guest appearances from Ellen Barkin and Sandra Vergara, younger sister of Sofia.

“Playboy” underwent a major casting change when Eddie Cibrian (“CSI: Miami”) replaced Jeff Hephner. “Free Agents” will have Hank Azaria at its core.

Friday, Christina Appelgate took the lead role in NBC’s untitled comedy from Emily Spivey. Sarah Paulson, prominent in NBC’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” will front the net’s untitled Kari Lizer comedy.

A trio and a quartet of performers made noteworthy additions to Peacock pilots: Aidan Quinn, Brian F. O’Byrne (“Mildred Pierce”) and Peter Gerety (“The Wire”) for “Prime Suspect,” and Wilmer Valderrama, B.D. Wong, Steve Harris (“The Practice”) and Laura Allen (“Terriers”) for “REM.”

Jeffrey Tambor signed on for Amanda Peet starrer “Bent,” “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” added Natalie Morales (“White Collar”), and “Wonder Woman” cast Tracie Thoms (“Cold Case”) as a regular, along with Elizabeth Hurley in a recurring role.

More TV

  • Baldvin-Z

    Iceland’s Baldvin Z Crime Series “Black Sands” Added to All3Media Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden  All3Media is to handle international rights on Icelandic crime series “Black Sands” which, currently in development, is to be pitched at the Göteborg Festival’s TV Drama Vision confab on Thursday. “Black Sands” marks the first crime thriller to be created by Icelandic helmer Baldvin Z (“Trapped”) since the hit series “Case.” Commissioned by [...]

  • Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the

    Ad Time in Fox's Super Bowl Was Sold Out. Until it Wasn't

    Fox declared in November that it had sold all the advertising time available in its looming February 2 broadcast of Super Bowl LIV. But just this week, it found a little more. After holding nearly two months’ worth of discussions, Fox and the National Football League have devised a way to add commercial inventory to [...]

  • NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe'

    NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe' From 'House' Alums

    NBC has given out its fifth drama pilot order for the 2020-2021 season. The broadcaster has commissioned “Ordinary Joe.” It explores the three parallel lives of the show’s main character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho 'Parasite' Director

    Listen: Who Will Take Home the Oscars for Best Director and Picture?

    The Oscars are just two weeks away, so it’s time to start making final predictions about who is going to win. On this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, I invited the magazine’s deputy awards and features editor (and my “Pick of the Week” co-host) Jenelle Riley onto the show [...]

  • Dazzler, Tigra, Hit-Monkey, and M.O.D.O.K.

    'Howard the Duck,' 'Tigra & Dazzler' Animated Marvel Shows Not Moving Forward at Hulu

    Marvel Television’s remaining slate continues to dwindle. Variety has confirmed that the animated shows “Howard the Duck” and “Tigra & Dazzler” — two of four animated Marvel projects set up at Hulu — are no longer in the works at the streamer. The other two shows, “M.O.D.O.K” and “Hit Monkey,” are currently still on track [...]

  • Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi movie

    After 'Star Wars' Obi-Wan Kenobi Delay, Is the Force Still Strong With Disney Plus?

    The issues on Disney Plus’ Obi-Wan Kenobi series are either a minor stumble or a portent of trouble ahead, depending on who you ask. It was reported on Thursday that series writer Hossein Amini was no longer attached to the project as Disney wished to overhaul the scripts. The move led to pre-production in London [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content