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Casting Couch: Pilot Casting Kicks into High Gear

Looks like faces of the 2007-2008 season might look a little more recognizable than you thought.

With the addition of some serious A-level talent attachments lately, Hollywood has officially moved into pilot casting, bringing more than a few familiar faces to a pilot near you, including Peter Krause, Brooke Shields, Miranda Otto, Kim Raver, Kevin McKidd, Mark Valley, and Adam Baldwin.

At ABC, Peter Krause (Six Feet Under, The Lost Room) has signed onto drama pilot Dirty Sexy Money as the lead, a lawyer who takes on his father's client list, including an extremely wealthy and morally flexible family called the Darlings. Project comes from the newly minted ABC Television Studio (formerly known as Touchstone). With the attachment of Krause (in his first network role since Sports Night), this one's just gotten bumped up onto my priority read list.

Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings) has joined the cast of the pilot for ABC's Cashmere Mafia from Sex and the City creator Darren Star and writer Kevin Wade. The soap/drama revolves around four high-powered female execs in the rarefied world of upper-crust Manhattan. While I love Otto, the pilot script is a dud, bringing us some one dimensional characters without the dark humor of Desperate Housewives or the comic hijinx of Sex and the City.

Meanwhile at NBC, Darren Star's Cashmere Mafia--about wealthy, powerful women--will face stiff competition from the ladies of Lipstick Jungle, also about a group of rich NYC women in search of more power. Of the two, this one's definitely got a stronger script, as well as some Sex and the City pedigree. It's from Candace Bushnell, who just happened to write the book that the much beloved HBO series was based on. And it's forming up a pretty kick-ass cast so far, attaching Brooke Shields (Nip/Tuck) and Kim Raver (24) to star.

Rome's Kevin McKidd (Lucius Vorenus himself) has signed onto the drama/sci fi pilot Journeyman about a man who travels through time in order to fix some timestream-related problems in the past, but sometimes with disastrous effect on the future. It's not meant to sound like Quantum Leap (though, from the logline, the comparison might be apt), but it's building some buzz around town and it's at the top of my (about-to-topple) script pile.

From the minds of writers Josh Schwartz (The OC) and Josh Fedak comes Chuck, a drama pilot about an electronics store geek who manages to get the entire intelligent community's database downloaded into his head (don't ask) and is forced to work for the NSA and CIA. They've attached Zachary Levi (Less Than Perfect) to star as Chuck himself and Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Day Break) as a grizzly veteran agent after this lovable geek. Out of all of the pilot scripts I've read so far this season, Chuck is one of my favorites so far, turning what could have been a fairly formulaic action setup into a comedic and romantic drama populated by quirky characters, cool gizmos, and some geek love. This pilot is definitely one to watch.

Mark Valley (Boston Legal, Pasadena) has signed on to star in comedy pilot Business Class, about two salesmen who spend their days traveling across the country on various sales calls and living out of hotels on a neverending business trip. Valley, true to his trademark smarm, will play a charming and reprehensible sales guy. Remember how much of a badass he was on Pasadena (and how charmingly goofy he was on Keen Eddie), I wouldn't have it any other way.

Over at FOX, Craig Bierko (Sex and the City) has nabbed the lead in comedy pilot The Rules of Starting Over, about a group of divorced guys in their 30s and their newest recruit.

The pilot has also attached The Office's Rashida Jones as a woman on the prowl for a decent guy. The attachment has me more than a little concerned that things aren't going to end well for The Office's Karen and Jim by the end of the season. Jones, as most of you will recall, is only on recurring status over at The Office and it seems likely (however sad) that she won't be sticking around for Season Four.


Looks like there are some interesting projects brewing. "Chuck" looks like it has potential. I'm hoping things will be better this pilot season than last year's dismal one.
Anonymous said…
Everything I have read about Chuck makes it very appealing to me. Having Adam Baldwin in the cast just makes it more appealing. I will definitely keep my eye out for this one.
The CineManiac said…
"Chuck" sounds good and having the ever wonderful Adam Baldwin can't hurt, although has any show he's ever been in made it for a full season?
Also wasn't there a pilot for last fall or this spring about 3 friends who go on a trip together and there's an terrorist attack and 2 of the friends get blamed, and only their 3rd friend can help them out, but no one else seems to know he exists? Whatever happened to it?
Jace Lacob said…
Hey Travis,

You're actually thinking of Traveler, starring Matthew Bomer, Aaron Stanford, Logan Marshall-Green, and Steven Culp. ABC ordered 8 episodes earlier this season, but so far there's been no air date and no eps have been actually aired. My guess is: they'll either be burned off over the summer or simply vanish into the ether.
Anonymous said…
for chuck its Chris Fedak, not Josh Fedak


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