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TV vets continue to lead pilot casting

Kreuk, Levi, O'Quinn among latest to nab roles

Though much has been made in recent years of film stars migrating to starring roles on the smallscreen, the familiar names in this year’s pilot casting continue to come mainly from the TV world.

Looking back on the past week, Ryan Phillippe is the most prominent thesp primarily from features to take a flyer on a pilot, signing on for the untitled CBS detective drama from Nick Wootton and Greg Berlanti that previously booked Chi McBride. Malin Akerman will co-star with Portia de Rossi on ABC comedy “The Smart One,” and Shawn Ashmore (“X-Men: The Last Stand”) will play a supporting role in Fox’s untitled project from Kevin Williamson that stars Kevin Bacon.

For longtime TV fans, the most noteworthy casting of the week, if not the year, would be Ann Guilbert — who played Millie Helper on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” — joining CBS’ untitled comedy from Louis C.K. and Spike Feresten.

Beyond that, the big names in recent days remain those recently seen on other TV shows, including Sarah Bolger, Ryan Hansen, Kristin Kreuk, Ali Larter, Zachary Levi, Mike O’Malley, Terry O’Quinn, Jonny Lee Miller, Becki Newton, Kal Penn, Autumn Reeser, J.K. Simmons, John Stamos, Michaela Watkins and Madeline Zima.

ABC nabbed several of those names, including O’Quinn, the “Lost” stalwart who has recently recurred on “Hawaii Five-0,” for “666 Park Avenue,” the David Wilcox-penned pilot about supernatural occurrences in a historic New York City apartment building.

In a reunion of Showtime actresses, Blythe Danner positioned herself for her first series regular role since “Huff,” joining the 19th-century set “Gilded Lillys” from K.J. Steinberg (with Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers also exec producing), alongside Bolger (“The Tudors”) and Zima (“Californication”).

Penn (“House”) and Watkins (“Saturday Night Live”) are both joining ABC comedy “Prairie Dogs,” from Jackie Filgo and Jeff Filgo, about a relationship between an identity theft victim and criminal, while Simmons (“The Closer”) joined “White Van Man,” the Britcom adaptation by Bobby Bowman that has Kyle Bornheimer as its lead.

Also for ABC, Reeser (“No Ordinary Family”) booked passage on nuclear sub drama “The Last Resort,” starring Andre Braugher; Dania Ramirez (“Heroes”) clocked in for Marc Cherry’s “Devious Maids”; Mimi Kennedy, the character actress recently seen in “Midnight in Paris,” joined Judy Greer starrer “American Judy”; and Nick Kocher (“I Just Want My Pants Back”) landed in the Alphabet net’s untitled single-cam comedy from Adam Sztykiel.

And Jean Smart, most recently recurring on “Harry’s Law,” will play the mother of the Akerman and de Rossi characters in “The Smart One.”

NBC focused mainly on TV resumes with its latest casting as well. “Rescue Me” vet Steven Pasquale will star in “Do No Harm,” about a neurosurgeon who has a dangerous alter-ego, with Alana De La Garza (“Law and Order”), Ruta Gedmintas (“The Borgias”) and Mousa Kraish also cast as regulars.

Michael B. Jordan will partner with showrunner Jason Katims for the third time, following up stints on “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood” with hospital drama “County,” starring Jason Ritter. Agam Darshi (“Sanctuary”) and Jess Weixler took supporting roles.

Christine Woods, a past regular on “Perfect Couples” and “FlashForward,” and Nicky Whelan (Australia’s “Neighbours”) will play the female leads in “Daddy’s Girls,” the multicam comedy from Dana Klein about a young woman whose father is dating the mean girl from her high school. Show also stars Brenda Song (“The Suite Life on Deck,” “The Social Network”) and and Cedric Yarbrough (“Reno 911!”).

Ethan Embry (“Brotherhood”) joined the ensemble of Shaun Cassidy’s Western drama “The Frontier”; Aubrey Dollar (“Women’s Murder Club”) scored the lead role in Hilary Winston’s untitled workplace comedy; and Heather Burns (“Bored to Death”) will play a supporting role on “Save Me,” the single-cam religious comedy from John Scott Shepherd starring Anne Heche.

And for Greg Daniels’ NBC adaptation of Blighty’s “Friday Night Dinner,” Aya Cash (“Traffic Light”), Kevin Bigley and Gil Ozeri joined the cast.

CBS’ other casting moves include Miller (“Eli Stone”) taking the lead role in Rob Doherty’s modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes, “Elementary,” while Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty”) will co-star with Sophia Bush (“One Tree Hill”) in “Partners,” the comedy about two male colleagues whose relationship is like a marriage.

Parvesh Cheena (“Outsourced”) was the first person cast in “Friend Me,” a comedy from Alan Kirschenbaum and Ajay Sahgal.

Fox revved its casting gears on several shows, with Hansen (“Party Down”) taking the lead on David Guarascio/Moses Port comedy “El Jefe”; Larter (“Heroes”) is doing the same for Josh Friedman’s “The Asset,” about a unique CIA agent; and Newton (“Ugly Betty”) inked a deal for comedy “The Goodwin Games,” written by Craig Thomas and Chris Harris.

Having just wrapped five seasons on “Chuck,” Levi took the lead role in ensemble comedy “Let it Go,” written by D.J. Nash, about a young father, while Stamos (“ER”) joined previously announced T.J. Miller on comedy “Little Brother,” with Gillian Vigman (“New Girl”) and Rosa Salazar (“Parenthood”) also cast.

O’Malley (“Glee”) will end up appearing on-camera in the pilot he wrote for Fox, “Prodigy Bully,” about a child prodigy from a working-class Massachusetts family. Mike Vogel (“Pan Am”) and Michael Friedman will load onto “Living Loaded,” while Malcolm Barrett (“Better Off Ted”) and Hayes MacArthur (“Perfect Couples”) bounced into “Rebounding.”

Over at the CW, longtime “Smallville” heroine Kreuk committed to half the title package of the reinvented “Beauty and the Beast,” from Jennifer Levin and Sherri Cooper, and Stefania Owen (“Running Wilde”) joined “Sex and the City” prequel “The Carrie Diaries.”

Susanna Thompson (“Kings”), Willa Holland (“The O.C.”) and Katie Cassidy (“Melrose Place”) were added to “Arrow,” the Green Arrow drama starring Stephen Amell.

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