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Channel Surfing: Morena Baccarin Gets Scaly for "V," Hansen and Watros Get Early "Gossip," Ashlee Simpson-Wentz Moves into "Melrose Place," and More

Welcome to your Monday morning television briefing.

A slew of pilot castings were announced over the weekend, including former Firefly star Morena Baccarin landing the pivotal role of Anna in ABC's sci-fi pilot V, a remake of the 1980s cult series about an alien invasion. Baccarin will play the charismatic Anna, the leader of the Visitors who is able to manipulate the media very effectively and shows a breadth of knowledge about human culture. (Hollywood Reporter)

Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars) and Cynthia Watros (Lost) have joined the cast of the untitled Gossip Girl prequel backdoor pilot, which will air May 11th. Watros will play Lily's mother CeCe, while Hansen will play Shep, a friend of Owen (Shiloh Fernandez), who has a thing for Lily's older sister Carol (Krysten Ritter). (Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

Ashlee Simpson-Wentz (Seventh Heaven) has been last in CW's drama pilot Melrose Place, an update of the 1990s FOX mainstay. She'll play Violet, a small-town girl recently transplanted to LA who arrives in own harboring a secret. Simpson-Wentz joins previously announced cast members Michael Rady and Katie Cassidy in the CBS Paramount Network Television-produced pilot. (Hollywood Reporter)

More casting announcements: Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks) will play the lead in ABC's untitled Jerry Bruckheimer drama pilot; Nina Dobrev (Degrassi) has scored the lead role in the CW's supernatural drama pilot Vampire Diaries; Tony Hale (Arrested Development) will star in FOX comedy pilot Cop House; Eliza Coupe (Scrubs) has joined the cast of ABC comedy pilot No Heroics; Luke Mably (The Prince and Me), Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire), and Anna Rose Hopkins (CSI: Miami) will co-star in FOX drama pilot Maggie Hill; Robbie Jones (One Tree Hill) and Shannon Woodward (The Riches) will star in ABC drama pilot Limelight; Lana Parrilla (Swingtown) will star in CBS drama pilot Miami Trauma, Tammy Blanchard (Cadillac Records) and Mel Raido (Clubbed) have been cast in ABC drama pilot Empire State; and Justina Machado (ER) has landed a role in CBS drama pilot Three Rivers. (Hollywood Reporter)

Finally: Nate Corddry (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) and Molly Parker (Swingtown) will star opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar in HBO single-camera comedy pilot The Wonderful Maladys, about three adult siblings who lost their parents at a young age. Parker will play Mary, a therapist and older sister to Gellar's Alice; while Corddry will play their younger brother Neil, a grad student. Project, written by Charles Randolph, will be directed by Alan Taylor (Mad Men). (Hollywood Reporter)

Friday Night Lights star Scott Porter blogs about the latest episode of the NBC drama series, in which his character Jason Street leaves Dillon, Texas for good and how executive priducers Jason Katims and Peter Berg broke the news to him. (Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch)

ABC has handed out an official pilot order to single-camera comedy Pulling, a US remake of the UK comedy series about three women who move in together when one ends her engagement 24 hours before her wedding. Project, from ABC Studios, is written by Rob Hanning (Courting Alex) and will be directed by Elliot Hegarty. Stacy Traub will serve as showrunner/executive producer; also aboard to executive produce: Francie Calfo, Sharon Horgan, and Dennis Kelly. (Variety)

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello has some scoop for Smallville fans... as he indicates that not one, but TWO pivotal characters will die in the season finale this May. "These characters will die and they will stay dead," Ausiello's source tells him. "This is the real deal." (
Entertainment Weekly's Ausiello Files)

SoapNet has acquired all seven seasons of drama Gilmore Girls and is said to be developing two original scripted dramas as well: a US adaptation of Dutch soap Julia's Tango and Santa Monica, a dramedy about twenty-somethings living at the beach. (TV Week)

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
The Gossip Girl prequel is building up quite a cast. So far, I've been pretty impressed and I'm happy to see Ryan Hansen sign on.
Anonymous said…
Why remake Pulling? Are they in need of some pseudo SitC with darker overtones? Why not jump on a decent new idea - Most imported remakes don't survive.

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