TV News Roundup: Peter Gallagher Joins ‘New Girl,’ ‘Luther’ Special Sets Premiere

New Girl” adds a famous TV dad and “Luther” returns to the scene in Thursday’s TV news roundup. Plus, a “Fargo” favorite has landed a lead gig in an upcoming comedy pilot…

CASTING:

In a form of casting synergy, Peter Gallagher will guest star on “New Girl” as the never-before-seen father of Max Greenfield’s Schmidt. As TV Line reminds us, Greenfield played the younger version of Gallagher’s beloved father (figure) Sandy Cohen on Fox sudser “The O.C.,” reruns of which recently became available on digital service CW Seed.

“Fargo’s” Allison Tolman will topline ABC’s “Downward Dog” pilot, Variety has confirmed. Based on the web series, the comedy centers on a woman and her dog. The project was hot this development season, being pitched around the networks, before ultimately landing at ABC. Tolman’s character, Nan, is described as being in a constant state of upheaval, but she always feels like she’s about to turn the corner. Meanwhile, her dog, Martin, just wants her and he’ll do whatever it takes to get her attention.

“Arrow” alum Annie Ilonzeh is heading to “Empire.” She’ll play Harper Scott, an intrepid journalist fixated on the Lyon family’s shenanigans, in the final eight episodes of season two, according to Entertainment Weekly.

RENEWALS:

ABC has picked up a second season of its reality series “Battlebots,” the robot-fighting tournament that delivered solid ratings for the network in its revival last summer. Airing behind “Celebrity Family Feud,” “Battlebots” stood as the No. 1 broadcast series in its 9 p.m. time period in adults 18-49 (1.7 rating), total viewers (5.4 million) and all key male demos.

The series comes from Whalerock Industries and the creators of the original “BattleBots” franchise, Ed Roski and Greg Munson. MGM will be distributing the program internationally.

PREMIERE DATES:

The two-hour event follow-up to Idris Elba’s detective drama “Luther is set to premiere at 9 p.m. on Dec. 17 on BBC America. The movie centers on a cannibalistic serial killer who delivers a devastating blow that not only pulls Detective Chief Inspector John Luther out of seclusion, but pushes him closer to the edge than he’s ever been. The cast also includes Darren Boyd as Detective Chief Inspector Theo Bloom, Rose Leslie as Detective Sergeant Emma Lane and Dermot Crowley as Detective Superintendent Unit Martin Schenk.

Oxygen Media will premiere new docu-series Finding My Father and “Rich In Faith beginning at 9 p.m. on Dec. 9. The first follows 16 young women and men who use social media, distant family connections, the assistance of private investigators and big leaps of faith in the hopes of connecting with their biological fathers for the first time. The second follows preacher Rich Wilkerson — aka the man who officiated Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding — and his wife, DawnCheré, as they strive to change the perception of faith and belief to a new generation of seekers in the series.

LATE-NIGHT NEWS:

Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” has added writer-actress Grace Parra to its list of contributors. The Columbia University grad recently hosted Fuse’s late-night series “White Guy Talk Show.”

“Grace is a smart, funny, young talent whose charisma jumps off the screen. We’re so excited to have her as part of our team on ‘The Nightly Show,’” said Wilmore.

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