Fan-fave thesps in demand for pilot roles

Supporting thesps from 'Breaking Bad,' 'Lost,' 'Office' land prime gigs

Fear not, fans of TV shows at the farewell stage — or at least, fear a little less. Thesps from departing series are landing roles left and right in 2013-14 TV projects.

Dean Norris became the latest from AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” which will air its final eight episodes this summer, to prepare for the next stage of his career. Norris has joined CBS’ summer skein “Under the Dome,” the 13-episode series based on Stephen King’s novel. Mike Vogel (“Pan Am”) stars in the project.

Norris’ “Bad” co-star Anna Gunn will star as a teacher with three teenage children in Bravo’s drama pilot “Rita,” one of two projects representing Bravo’s initial foray into scripted series, while Betsy Brandt has a co-starring role in NBC’s untitled Michael J. Fox project with a 22-episode order.

In addition, recurring “Bad” castmembers Jonathan Banks and Matt Jones have also found new assignments. Banks will be in NBC drama “Bloodline” (along with KaDee Strickland of recently retired “Private Practice”), while Jones has joined CBS’ Chuck Lorre pilot “Mom,” which will feature Anna Faris, Allison Janney and Nate Corddry.

Eyes will also be on the cast of “The Office” as that show prepares to wrap its nine-year run in May. Ellie Kemper has snagged the lead in NBC comedy “Brenda Forever,” while Craig Robinson is starring in an untitled project from “Office” exec producer Greg Daniels and Owen Ellickson.

In addition, Jake Lacy, who joined “The Office” this season, will take part in CBS comedy pilot “The McCarthys” (starring Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver of “Silver Linings Playbook”), while a long-ago grad of the series, David Denman, will be in CBS’ “Beverly Hills Cop” revival, and Zach Woods will take a spot in HBO dark comedy “Silicon Valley” from a team including Mike Judge.

Aside from those two casts, there are plenty of more familiar faces from shows on or nearing their last legs already in the mix for new gigs.

Andre Braugher is moving from his “Last Resort” to his next resort, teaming with Andy Samberg in the untitled Fox sitcom from Michael Schur and Dan Goor. Meanwhile, moving on from recently canceled “Ben and Kate” is Echo Kellum, who landed a role on NBC’s untitled comedy with Sean Hayes and Linda Lavin. Hayes is exec producing with Victor Fresco.

Some actors are hedging their bets on their series’ future. With the upcoming eighth season of “Psych” possibly being its last, co-star Maggie Lawson has signed on (alongside James Caan) for ABC’s untitled comedy from Mark and Robb Cullen. And though CBS’ “Rules of Engagement” hasn’t been officially canceled, star Patrick Warburton has booked Eye comedy pilot “Jacked Up.”

And despite the fact that ABC’s “Family Tools” doesn’t even premiere until May, days before upfronts, co-star J.K. Simmons is already eyeing his next job, moving alongside Parker Posey in NBC’s untitled D.J. Nash comedy pilot as the blind father of the main character.

Not to be forgotten: Jason Isaacs, late of last year’s NBC critically admired “Awake,” will topline CBS drama pilot “Surgeon General” from Samuel Baum, and James Wolk (“Political Animals”) is co-starring in the David E. Kelley comedy pilot “Crazy Ones,” marking Robin Williams’ potential return to series TV.

CBS drama pilot “Hostages” will star recent cable TV favorites Toni Collette (“United States of Tara”) and Dylan McDermott (“American Horror Story”), while Fox’s “Delirium” will feature Billy Campbell (“The Killing”) with Emma Roberts, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“The Tudors”) has a spot in NBC’s “Dracula,” which has a series order.

David Walton, late of NBC’s “Bent” and recurring on Fox’s “New Girl,” has the lead in NBC’s pilot adaptation of Hugh Grant starrer “About a Boy” from “FNL” exec producer Jason Katims. Jason Ritter, who recently recurred on “Parenthood,” will take the male lead role in Fox’s “Friends & Family,” the adaptation of Blighty’s “Gavin & Stacey.”

And though it’s been a while now since “Lost” and “Friday Night Lights” left the air, the wound is still fresh for many. “Lost” alum Josh Holloway set up a potential return to series regular work, in CBS drama pilot “Intelligence,” while “FNL” grad Aimee Teegarden will have the lead role in the CW’s “Oxygen” as a teen who falls in love with an alien.

Finally, it was a different sort of series altogether, but it’s worth noting that “Harry Potter” alum Rupert Grint will star in CBS’ single-cam pilot “Super Clyde” from Greg Garcia. Grint will play a fast-food worker who aspires to be a superhero.