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Pilot Watch: Power Ranking 10 Recent Casting Decisions

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | February 13, 2013 | Comments ()


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Pilot season is a weird time of year because lots of big names are often cast into shows that will likely never move beyond the pilot stage. It's incredibly, really, how many big name pilots never get picked up. In the past, I have attempted to put odds on the chances of a greenlight based on the talent and premise description, but I'm often very wrong. For instance, who would've thought that a Roseanne Barr sitcom set in a trailer park would be rejected, while a brother-sister sitcom featuring mostly unknowns ("Ben and Kate") would be greenlit.

That is to say, when it comes to pilot season, stars don't matter that much (unless the star is Michael J. Fox). So, rather than feature a post every time a big name is cast, for funsies, I'll just power rank the most recent casting additions based on the talent, the fit within the series, and the series' prospects for greenlight. I've provided the bullet point information, but if you want to know more about the individual pilots, click on the source links in the names.


1. Andre Braugher -- The lead in the now cancelled "Last Resort," has been added, alongside Terry Crews and "Parks and Rec" writer, Chelsea Peretti, to Andy Samber's untitled cop comedy from "Parks and Rec's" Michael Schur. He will play a no-nonsense police officer.

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2. Matthew Goode -- Joins the cast Showtime's Ridley Scott directed "The Vatican," as papal secretary Bernd Koch, "the pope's closest confidante, who has a very powerful perch within the inner circle of the Vatican."

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3. Josh Holloway -- The former "Lost" star will play the lead in the CBS procedural, "Intelligence," about a cyber-command agent with a microchip implanted in his brain that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

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4. Greg Kinnear -- Based on an Australian series, Kinnear is the lead in Rake, about a "the chaotic and comedic life of criminal defense lawyer Keegan Joye (Kinnear), brilliant, frustratingly charming, and with zero filter."

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5. Jennifer Beals -- Joins Showtime's "Venice," which is "a soap about the haves and the have-nots of California's most seductive city, Venice. It focuses on two rival families and a forbidden and dangerous romance emerging between them as the families battle for control of Venice."

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6. Jonathan Groff -- Groff, of "Glee" and "Boss" fame,' joins an HBO comedy from the people behind "Bored to Death," about friends living the modern gay experience in San Francisco.

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7. Maggie Lawson -- Lawson joins an untitled James Caan single-camera comedy as a single mother who moves in with her retired, alcoholic baseball player dad (Caan). "She reluctantly starts coaching her son Tommy's underdog Little League team and is drawn back into the world of sports she vowed to leave behind."

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8. Christina Ricci -- Will play the lead in "Girlfriend in a Coma," based on the Douglas Coupland novel about a woman who wakes up from a 17-year coma with a daughter from a pregnancy of which she was unawares.

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9. Virginia Madsen -- Joins NBC's modern-day "Hatfields and McCoys' set in Pennsylvania, where the feud between the two families is reignited by another death.

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10. Matt Jones -- Jones, who plays Badger on "Breaking Bad," has been added to the cast of Chuck Lorre's CBS sitcom "Mom," which has already cast Anna Faris as the mother, Alison Janney as her mother, and Nate Corddry. Jones will play the divorced father of the child.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • kirbyjay

    I like Greg Kinnear as charming, chaotic and unfiltered

  • e jerry powell

    That Josh Holloway is one hot piece of ass.

    Beals. Back at Showtime. I guess it keeps a girl working, so that's a good thing.

    Virginia Madsen is back. I get the feeling that the vehicle is not going to series, alas.

  • Yuuuup

    Girlfriend should put ME in a coma until all these shows are ultimately cancelled

  • Jemiah Jefferson

    Fingers crossed that the Groff show happens. I need more of him in my life. AND he'd better sing and dance, too, dammit.

  • Joe Gordon

    I recall reading an article or listening to a Lost commentary track and James Garner was saying that of everyone on the show he thought that Holloway had "that thing" that could make him a huge star.

    Guess Garner was wrong on that one.

    And why would a Roseanne Barr sitcom be an automatic pickup? She is widely known within the industry for being an absolute cooze to work with/work for, she's not in the best health and lets face it, outside of Roseanne which went off the air nearly 20 years ago the only notable project she has done was She-Devil which is widely and rightly reviled as one of the worst movies in the history of Hollywood and the absolute worst movie Meryl Streep has ever done.

  • e jerry powell

    I dunno. Roseanne did a couple indie things that I almost watched all of. I think one of them was the sequel to Smoke.

  • CBS needs to change that to Shirtless Intelligence. Josh Holloway solves crimes at the beach, is shirtless ALL the time. Highest rated show ever!

  • kirbyjay

    Why would he have to be at the beach? He could be shirtless in the office, shirtless at the airport, shirtless on the city streets, shirtless at church...
    Matthew McConaghy could be his shirtless boss, Charming Tater could be his shirtless wacky neighbor, Taylor Llamalautner could be his shirtless rookie sidekick. Baby Goose could guest star as a shirtless villain.
    Oh....the possibilities....

  • TheReinaG

    In slow motion.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    I'll watch Matthew Goode, Jennifer Beals and Josh Holloway in pretty much anything because they moisten my lions. I'm a simple soul. Quality be damned.

  • I know what you're saying, and I'm not in the habit of correcting or commenting on typos, but in this case, I really wanted to let you know that the phrase 'moisten my lions' made my day.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    It was intentional. Part of the Pajiba dictionary. Can't remember who originally made The Best Type of All Time (as I affectionately think of it).

  • I haven't checked out the Pajiba dictionary since it first went up. Obviously, I need a refresher. And it still made me laugh.

  • Anna von Beav

    "...novel about a woman who wakes up from a 17-year coma with a daughter from a pregnancy of which she was unawares."

    I thought it was a 20-year coma and a 17-year-old daughter? Which, by the way, rapey?

    ETA: oh. No. I was misled about those numbers.

  • logan

    Wow! So a guy from Glee is playing a a gay guy in another show! WHOA who saw casting like that coming?

  • Jemiah Jefferson

    You must not waste the power of the Groff on a heterosexual role. It would make baby Jesus cry.

  • DataAngel

    Wow. Wow. 10 shows and nothing remotely interesting, new, or watchable in the bunch.

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    I have such a crush on Matthew Goode, he's got that sexy smirk, but that show doesn't look appealing at all.

    Also, thanks to the publicity for that Christina Ricci show I've had The Smith's "Girlfriend in a Coma" stuck in my head for 2 days now.

  • BWeaves

    I just wikied (is that a verb?) the plot of the novel "Girlfriend in a Coma." Urg. I hate it already, and it's not even rapey. Of course, one of the friends is a supermodel. That makes me hate it even more. How rare is it to become a supermodel, and then how rare would it to be a supermodel and still hang out with your high school loser friends 20 years later?

  • Anna von Beav

    It's *not* rapey?! HOW EVEN?!

    ETA: Nevermind. I also have this wiki of which you speak. Ugh.

  • Tinkerville

    I was really hoping Josh Holloway would land in a better sounding pilot than that. He deserves to be on a long running show, but Person of Interest is already tackling the AI end of the spectrum and doing it very well.

    I will watch The Vatican only if we get to see the Pope's hats in all their towering crazy-ass glory.

  • pcloadletter

    California’s most seductive city, Venice.

    LOLWUT

  • dizzylucy

    I will be so happy to have Josh Holloway back on my TV that even the words "CBS procedural" and "microchip in brain" may not deter me.

  • Leelee

    "a cyber-command agent with a microchip implanted in his brain that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum."

    So... that's just Jake 2.0 right? Oh, no-one else watched Jake 2.0? Ok, that's fine, I'll just sit in the corner, grasping tightly to my secret love of Christopher Gorham.

  • HamtownTracey

    At first glance, that photo of Christina Ricci looks like Christina Hendricks. Eerie. No matter. I like Christinas.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I suppose Bernd Koch IS a pretty efficient means to ensure that whole celibacy thing.

  • kirbyjay

    Burned Crotch?

  • Carrie/Teabelly

    "Will play the lead in “Girlfriend in a Coma,” based on the Douglas
    Coupland novel about a woman who wakes up from a 17-year coma with a
    daughter from a pregnancy of which she was unawares."

    This is killing me. Because it's allegedly a comedy? I read that elsewhere so I dunno if it's true. Have they read the book?! Where is the comedy in the end of the world? And even if we're ignoring that aspect, where is the comedy in waking up in a withered body (which clearly they won't do) and realising you've lost 17 years of your life?

    I have started reading the book again just to cleanse my brain of this.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    "Matthew Goode joins the cast Showtime’s Ridley Scott directed “The Vatican,” as papal secretary Bernd Koch, “the pope’s closest confidante, who has a very powerful perch within the inner circle of the Vatican.”

    Bad German (and probably Italian) accents will abound, I take it.

    Gods, it can't be too hard to find a decent German actor for roles like that. Even "Supernatural" managed to cast an actual German for last week's episode's big bad (albeit as a stereotypical nazi).

  • Milly

    But when pronouncing the name, wouldn't it sound to an english-as-first-language viewer as Burnt Cock? I know they take celibacy seriously, but that is going a bit far.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Do you mean the pronunciation with an English accent or in German? With an English accent, you are right (and it would be hilarious, considering the child abuse scandals in the catholic church).

    In German, 'Koch' is pronounced similar to the Scottish 'Loch'. The 'e' in 'Bernd' sounds like the 'ea' in 'bear' (unsurprisingly, that's the origin of the name).

  • I'm guessing they go with the usual "let's cast British actors for roles that should have foreign accents since they sound fancier" casting choices.

  • Rosanna

    But Maggie Lawson is on Psych! She can't do both! I love her as Juliet.

  • Blake

    By the description of her new show: "has signed on opposite James Caan in an ABC single-camera comedy about a “recently divorced single mother who temporarily moves in with her estranged father (Caan), a beer-swilling former baseball player. She reluctantly starts coaching her son Tommy’s (Griffin Gluck) underdog Little League team and is drawn back into the world of sports she vowed to leave behind.

    She should GO BACK TO PSYCH!.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Psych got cancelled.

  • dizzylucy

    What???? Really?

  • toblerone

    What is Psych?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Some terribly boring and formulaic "comedy" show that inexplicably has a big following.

  • toblerone

    You'll have to more specific as that description covers 95% of the "comedies" on TV.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Why are you still interested, then?

  • pajiba

    BOO. BOO TO YOU.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Oh, come one. 'Psych' is just a procedural with a shtick. No different from 'Monk', 'The Mentalist', or 'Elementary'.

  • Mrs. Julien

    He will play a no-nonsense police officer.

    And he's getting too old for this s*it.

  • kirbyjay

    Braugher has played so many no-nonsense cops in his career he should have chosen no-nonsense cop as his actual career.

  • Blake

    But It is a comedy so I'm hoping for Captain Dickson from 21 Jump Street / Ron Swanson P&R kind of character, Plus his casting turned the show from a "no thanks" to hell yes

  • BlackRabbit

    Is that Jon Stewart in that picture up there? I love him on Regular Program.

  • NateMan

    “the chaotic and comedic life of criminal defense lawyer Keegan Joye (Kinnear), brilliant, frustratingly charming, and with zero filter.”

    Good gods, how many shows in consecutive years are we going to have where the entire premise is to have the main character just be an asshole? Let's see... Between House, 2 Sherlocks, that terrible Lie To Me, etc., I would think we've had our fill.

  • Steph

    It's not just that these guys are assholes, they also have Hollywood Autism, so they get a pass for some reason.

  • BWeaves

    Hollywood Autism is my new favorite disease, right along next to "Why no, I don't do Botox. It's Hollywood Bell's Palsy."

  • Kballs

    Or Hollywood crabs. It's crabs alright, but they're FANCYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

  • Puddin

    What, do you want to watch a show about a guy with a receding hairline who loves his wife, pays his taxes on time, and eats egg whites because his doctor said his cholesterol was borderline?

  • We already have plenty of shows about serial killers too.

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