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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.