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Pilot Watch: Power Ranking 13 High-Profile Casting Choices

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | February 27, 2013 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | February 27, 2013 |

Welcome to the fourth edition of Pilot Watch, where we briefly run down the latest casting announcements. “Briefly,” because, despite the considerable talent involved, many of the series will never see the light of day (pilots are picked up around 40 percent of the time). If you want to know more about the projects, click on the links. - See more at:

1. Ron Livingston — This is not actually casting for a pilot, but I needed to squeeze it in somewhere because it is fantastic casting news. Livingston will join “Boardwalk Empire” (which has a giant Charlie Cox sized hole in it) as Roy Phillips, a wealthy out-of-town businessman who catches the eye of Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol).


2. Jorge Garcia — Speaking of Charlie Cox, Hurley joins Cox’s “Ordained,” starring opposite him as a law firm investigator. The series centers on the son of a Kennedy-esque family (Cox) who leaves the priesthood and becomes a lawyer at a top New York firm to prevent his politician sister from being assassinated.”

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3. Jamie Bell — The Billy Elliot star will play the lead in AMC’s Turn, based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring. The series center on hard-working New York cabbage farmer Abraham Woodhull (Bell), who forms a group of spies with his pals in the summer of 1778. The gang winds up helping America greatly in its fight for independence.


4. Gillian Anderson — I wish I loved the idea behind this show more, but the thriller sounds kind of silly. “The conspiracy drama centers on an unlikely puppeteer who will bring everyone from CEOs to the president of the United States to their knees by threatening the things they hold most dear. Anderson will play Meg Fitch, the CEO of a conglomerate. She’s horrified to learn of the mass abduction of her daughter Amber and her private-school classmates. Long estranged from her sister, Agent Susie Dunn (Taylor), with whom she shares a shocking secret that explains their alienation, Meg will use her own intelligence and judgment to do whatever it takes to get her daughter back.

5. Stephen Root and Brittany Snow — Both join “To My Future Assistant,” one of two pilots currently in development about assistants. This one centers on assistants coping together while dealing with terrible bosses. Snow will play an assistant, while Root — and Catherine O’Hara — will play terrible boss.


6. Alicia Silverstone — Silverstone tries her hand at television again, this time for Lifetime, where she will topline “HR,” which centers on an “uptight Director of Human Resources for a global company (Silverstone) who, after a head injury alters her outlook on life, throws standard corporate practices out the window and inspires the business to strive for new ambitions and profits.”


7. Martin Short — I like Short in the right role, and you cannot get anymore right than as a game show host in John Mulaney’s semi-autobiographical comedy pilot, starring Mulaney. It centers on the joke writer for a game-show host.


8. Greg Grunberg — The J.J. Abrams favorite joins “Doubt,” ANOTHER legal drama, this one centering on “Vincent, a former cop-turned-charmingly low-rent lawyer who uses his street smarts and cunning to work the system for his clients while battling his own demons and wooing his ex-wife.” Unfortunately, Grunberg isn’t the lead; he’s the developmentally disabled older brother of the lead.


9. John Stamos — In yet ANOTHER ANOTHER legal drama, NBC’s “I Am Vincent,” Stamos plays a high powered divorce attorney with a unique view of relationships.


10. Odette Annable — Annable, previously Odette Yustman, aka Ass Girl from The Unborn movie poster will star in “Venice” for ABC. It is a modern take on Romeo & Juliet that pits the two rival families of California’s most seductive beachside city against each other. The series also has Jennifer Beals and Bruce Greenwood in its cast.


11. Rachel Griffiths — I’m kind of sad that Griffiths has fallen from “Six Feet Under” to a 10-episode summer series for NBC called “Camp.” which centers on parents who “decompress with gin while teenagers make gleeful mischief and fall in and out of love.” Griffiths will play the camp’s director Mackenzie Greenfield, who is reeling from being left by her husband for a younger woman.


12. Cam Gigandet — Gigandet (as well as “Mad Men’s” Michael Gladis) join CBS’s “Reckless,” a “sultry legal show set in Charleston, South Carolina, where a gorgeous Yankee litigator and a Southern City Attorney struggle to hide their intense attraction while clashing over a police sex scandal.” Gigandet will play the lead attorney.


13. Delroy Lindo — This is less interesting for cast involved (Sienna Guillory, Jamie Chung, and Johnny Sequoyah have also been cast), but for who the series, “Believe,” is created by: J.J. Abrams. He’s not had much success with good television series of late. This one revolves around a young girl in possession of great powers — which will come into their own in seven years — and the man who is sprung from prison to protect her from those trying to hunt her down.


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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.