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Pilot Watch: Power Ranking 10 High-Profile Casting Decisions

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | February 20, 2013 | Comments ()


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Welcome to another edition of Pilot Watch, where we briefly run down the latest casting announcements. "Briefly," because, despite the considerable talent involved, most of the series will never see the light of day. If you want to know more about the projects, click on the links.

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1. Kyle Chandler -- The "Friday Night Lights" alum has joined one of the pilots with the best chance now at a greenlight. Showtime's "Vatican," which also stars Matthew Goode, is said to evoke :The Sopranos" and "Upstairs, Downstairs." "Vatican" is described as a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church. Chandler will play Cardinal Thomas Duffy, "the charismatic yet enigmatic Archbishop of New York, whose progressive leanings (he has ordained a woman) excite some and alarm others within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church."

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2. Tricia Helfer -- Helfer, of "Battlestar Gallactica" fame, joins "Killer Women" as Molly Parker in a drama about the only woman in the notoriously male Texas Rangers. It's based on an Argentinian series.

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3. Mandy Moore -- The beloved Mandy Moore, who generally bounces around crappy projects well beneath her, will be one of the leads in "Pulling," a single-camera comedy for ABC based on a British series that revolves around three dysfunctional women in their 30s living their lives the way they want, even if society tells them they should have it all figured out by this point. Moore will play Louise, "who is optimistic and desperate to snag a husband -- but her man-hungry tactics typically backfire. "

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4. Catherine O'Hara -- O'Hara will join "My Future Assistant" (not to be confused with Krysten Ritter's pilot, "Assistance"), a comedy that "revolves around assistants at a big New York law firm who band together as a family to help one another cope with the obnoxious, overbearing bosses who challenge their sanity on a daily basis." O'Hara will play one of the obnoxious, overbearing bosses.

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5. Michael Pena -- Pena, who just missed the cut as one of the 15 most prolific actors of the last five years, joins "The List" for Fox. It's sounds fairly generic. "The project centers on the intense Deputy U.S. Marshal Soto (Peña) who, when members of the Federal Witness Security Program start getting killed, leads the hunt for the person who stole "the list" - a file with the identities of every member of the program. "

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6. Jason Lee -- Jason Lee moves from "My Name Is Earl" and "Memphis Beat" will take the lead in CBS's "Second Sight," about a detective with the New Orleans Police Department who's concealing a troublesome secret. He has an ocular disorder, which causes him to have horrifying and visually stimulating anxiety dreams and hallucinations. Sounds like a high-concept procedural, which CBS does great with.

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7. Ari Graynor -- The "Fringe" and "Sopranos" alum has nabbed the lead in CBS's "Bad Teacher," based on the Cameron Diaz movie. She'll play the Cameron Diaz role.

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8. Rachelle Lefevre -- The Stephen King series for CBS has already added Dean Norris ("Breaking Bad") as the villain. The Twilight star will join a cast that includes Jolene Purdy, Nicholas Strong, Britt Robertson, Alex Kotch and Natalie Martinez. Lefevre will play "an investigative reporter who's just moved to Chester Mills who forms an interest in an Army veteran (Mike Vogel) on mysterious mission."

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9. Tate Donovan -- Donovan -- who is NEVER without a job (in fact, he's currently on NBC's "Deception," which almost certainly won't get renewed) -- joins Toni Collette in "Hostage," which is based on the Israeli format. The series revolves around a family caught in the middle of a grand political conspiracy. Donovan will play Brian, a former Ivy League "golden boy" who is attempting to cover up the fact that his real estate career is floundering, forcing him to rely on his wife (Collette) to keep the family afloat.

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10. Peyton List -- List -- of "Mad Men" -- joins Greg Berlanti's latest stab at a superhero series, "Tomorrow People" and this one sounds like most of the rest: In the vein of "X-Men" and "Heroes," the series "revolves around several young people from around the world who represent the next stage in human evolution, possessing special powers, including the ability to teleport and communicate with each other telepathically. "




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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Tomorrow's People sounds like a straight reboot of the '70's ITV series The Tomorrow People - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.... It was standard crap but amazing Brit TV of the period; one of my faves. Somewhere, in a box, I have several Tomorrow People "annuals" (the Brits will know what I mean).

  • kiniki

    Tate Donovan is one of those actors I love to watch.... But anything he is in, he either dies or the show gets cancelled...

  • AnnaY

    If it's the same "Killer Women" Argentinian series I'm thinking of, the original was called "Mujeres Asesinas" and was actually about various crimes committed by women.

    The crimes were murder, in case you couldn't tell.

  • Lee

    Completely OT, but I don't know where else to post this, I HATE this new commenting system where I can't access comments in the archives. The comments are usually the main thing I want to read when I look something up. Please bring back the old commenting thingy!!!

  • Prolixity Julien

    You are not alone.

  • JVD

    “Killer Women” - I'm there but only if its an update ot the J.V.D. movie from 2001.

  • Quatermain

    It might be the studios releasing the blandest descriptions possible in order to get the most people to watch, but those all sound pretty much generic and terrible. And I predict at least one manufactured "controversy" for Vatican, probably right at the beginning so people will tune in to see what all the fuss is about.

  • Amanda

    Pulling is brilliant! It was on Netflix streaming for a while but seems to have disappeared.

  • Matt C.

    Is it me, or does number 8 not say the name of the show?

  • That French Guy

    It doesn't, but it's "Under the Dome".

  • Wembley

    Mandy Moore plays Taylor Swift?

  • Melissa

    OMG, Tomorrow People!!

    That will be cheesetastic, but I'll be sucked in like all the other 90's kids who obsessively watched Nickelodeon, I'm sure.

    1970's original:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    1990's remake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • I watched the 70s series from ITV obsessively. It was awful, but amazing.

  • John W

    The Catherine O Hara one sounds a lot like Devil Wears Prada/Ugly Betty.

    But O Hara is a gifted comedian so I'll probably be watching that one.

    Anything about superheroes of course I'm gonna watch.

    I'm assuming the Stephen King one is The Dome so I'll be watching that as well.

  • e jerry powell

    Actually, I'd swear that O'Hara had already played that part on "Six Feet Under."

    Yup, that was it. She was Lisa's nightmare boss.

  • Louise, “who is optimistic and desperate to snag a husband — but her man-hungry tactics typically backfire. “

    Oh that sounds so fucking original I did a facepalm so hard it left a mark.

  • John G.

    There is something about Ari Graynor that hits me deep in the solar plexus in a good way

  • scoot

    Always need more Kyle Chandler in my life.

    Shame this doesn't sound like it'll be a show providing any Chandler eye candy though.

  • Pookie

    So in other words a new season of new shows without any African Americans in them.

  • Shazza

    Are you surprised? I'm not.

  • ertyuiopuhgfj

    I find it sad that black people can't just be Americans.

  • That " Tomorrow People" wouldn't happen to be a remake of the 90s show, would it? I think it was British or Canadian? Either way I friggin loved it as a kid.

  • When you say "90s", I think you mean "70s" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...

  • Strand

    "Donovan will play Brian, a former Ivy League “golden boy” who is attempting to cover up the fact that his real estate career is floundering, forcing him to rely on his wife (Collette) to keep the family afloat."

    So he's basically playing Jimmy Cooper again?

  • VonnegutSlut

    If "Vatican" gets picked up, I suppose it means I can add a Thornbirds angle to my many Kyle Chandler fantasies.

    While I loved Tricia Helfer on Battlestar, I think Katee Sackoff might actually have been better casting for the Texas Rangers project--but I suppose she's busy with "Longmire."

    I honestly always thought Helfer kinda had that Angelina Jolie-action star problem in that she always looked a few cheeseburgers light of really being able to kick the shit outta someone's ass. I know, I know: she was a Cylon & they had super strength, but I'm assuming she's not a Cylon in this new project and therein lies the crux.

  • Lucie

    Oh whoa, I thought Jason Lee was Scott Patterson (Luke Danes) in that picture...

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    Kyle Chandler and Tricia Helfer? God yes! The others? Not a shit given. However I might watch the superhero one just to see if it manages to be worse than Heroes. Which would be spectacular.

    Is it just me or Ari Graynor looks like a healthier Rene Zellwegger?

  • theotherone

    dysfunctional women in their 30s living their lives the way they want, even if society tells them they should have it all figured out by this point.

    Wow! Holy original concept Batman! Isn't that every other show at the moment?

  • Shazza

    Actually 'Pulling' was a very good UK series that ran from 2006-2009. I'm not looking forward to the American version.

  • Zirza

    They're remaking Second Sight?

    Are there any BBC series left unsoiled? Any good ones, I mean?

  • BlackRabbit

    Ultraviolet? Ok, it was a mini-series, I think.

  • maybe they're remaking the 1980's Canadian show, Seeing Things

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Noticed that, too. Sadly, Jason Lee is no Clive Owen.

  • toblerone

    Tricia Helfer — Helfer, of “Battlestar Gallactica” fame, joins “Killer Women” as Molly Parker in a drama about the only woman in the notoriously male Texas Rangers. It’s based on an Argentinian series.

    Argentinians did a series about the only woman in the notoriously male Texas Rangers? Scratches head....

    I love Helfer but true genius would have been to cast Molly Parker as Molly Parker.

  • Blake

    “Pulling,” a single-camera comedy for ABC based on a British series that revolves around three dysfunctional women in their 30s living their lives the way they want, even if society tells them they should have it all figured out by this point. “

    Wasn't this called Sex in the City?

  • pullinguk

    No. "Pulling" is 100 times better. Among many important differences, the comedic tone of "pulling" is dark and irreverent. It's also about working class women. And the Louise character was overweight and weird... kind of the anti-Mandy Moore. Sigh, Hollywood. I wonder when the other two miscasts will be announced.

  • Shazza

    I'm so sad to see Netflix has taken it off watch instantly.

  • Homestar

    Also, how is the title going to translate? It's Brit slang for hooking up/sex.

    The original show was truly great. I've no doubt this will be less so.

  • Blake

    Go with "Hooking". No wait "Pulling" is better.

  • Hahahaha fat women don't have sex in America, sillies!

  • Kballs

    No, that was 4 women, silly. Totally different.

  • Blake

    Sorry, I was took the "women in their 30s" literally.

    Was Kim Cattrall / Samantha ever actually 30?

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