— Natalie Morales, one of the best parts of The Grinder, will now be one of the best parts of Mike Schur’s new show. The creator of The Good Place and Parks and Recreation has cast Morales (who played Tom’s fiancée Lucy in Parks) as the lead in his new show, Abby. The premise sounds very Schur-ian: Morales will play a “no nonsense former staff sergeant in the Army, who has found her calling, hosting friends and newcomers in her open-air backyard bar where locals find camaraderie and a kind of sanctuary. It’s her livelihood, her lifeblood, and she’s unnerved when her new landlord shows up citing all kinds of reasons why the whole venture is illegal.”
No word on whether Ted Danson will make a cameo as a bartender.
— Space Camp and Back to the Future crush Lea Thompson is returning to television, having taken a role in a pilot from Lee Daniels and Modern Family executive producer Vali Chandrasekaran based on the Israeli show Nevsu: A Young Multicultural Couple. From Deadline:
Written by Chandrasekaran and directed by Trent O’Donnell, in it, Abel, a man from a bombastic African family who doesn’t have a word in their native language for “privacy,” and his fiancée Jenny from a mid-western family try to build a normal life together. Though nobody can agree what that “normal” means.
Thompson will play Jenny’s mom Lisa, a fleece and birkenstocks hippie who can be just as feisty and opinionated as her daughter.
So, basically, she’s playing a soon-to-be-grandmother, in case you wanted to feel old.
— Another Stephen King work of fiction is being made into a TV series. The Bone Church is based on a poem King wrote in the ’60s that was later turned into a story in the anthology, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. From Deadline:
In it, an adventurer organizes an expedition deep into a vast jungle land to locate the mythic Bone Church. They discover a secret not meant for the eyes of strangers. Only three of the 32 travelers escaped with their lives in a tale narrated by one of the survivors, who tells stories from a bar stool to patrons who’ll buy him drinks.
This may be the first TV series based on what was originally a poem.
— Taye Diggs is headed back to TV, too. He’ll play a coach on a CW pilot about a teen from South Central L.A. who is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High. That sounds so very CW, and also, like something I will definitely watch.
— The Riverdale spin-off, Sabrina the Teenage Witch continues to add to its cast. In addition to Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) as Sabrina, we’ve got Miranda Otto (Aunt Zelda), Lucy Davis (Aunt Hilda), Jaz Sinclair (Sabrina’s best friend Rosalind), Michelle Gomez (Sabrina’s possessed teacher) and Chance Perdomo (Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose). Richard Coyle has now been added as the villainous Father Blackwood.
— NBC’s Trial and Error was one of my favorite new TV shows last season (it is so, so good), and we are now learning that the accused killer in season two will be played by Kristen Chenowith. She is kind of perfect for this show. According to THR, she will play “Lavinia Peck-Foster, who is described as the first lady of East Peck who is a larger-than-life grand dame — at least in her own mind. She is an eccentric heiress known for her flamboyant outfits, large hats and hairless cat, Fluffy, who has not left the confines of Peck Gardens in ages. Lavinia calls on Josh Segal and Associates —- the team that got off Owl Murderer Larry Henderson — to defend her after she was found with her husband, Edgar, stuffed into a suitcase in the back of her car.”