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CBS Nabs Simon Baker for "Mentalist" Role; NBC Puts Ian McShane on "Kings" Throne

Simon Baker is clearly willing to give CBS another go around.

The former Guardian star, who went on to co-star in CBS' short-lived action drama Smith, will again star in a drama project for the Eye.

Baker will play the lead in procedural drama The Mentalist. He'll play Patrick Jane, a former fake celebrity psychic who uses his powers of observation to assist the California Bureau of Investigations (CBI) to solve baffling crimes, including the hunt for a notorious serial killer called Red John to whom Jane has a personal connection.

Also cast in The Mentalist: Owain Yeoman (The Nine), Amanda Righetti (The OC), Tim Kang (Third Watch), and Shaun Toub (The Kite Runner).

Project comes from writer/executive producer Bruno Heller (Rome) and Warner Bros. Television. I do have to say that given the pedigree I was expecting more from this shrill script which played more like the dramatic version of USA's Psych than a companion for the aging CSI franchise.

Elsewhere, Ian McShane (Deadwood) has been cast in NBC drama pilot Kings, a modern-day retelling of the David and Goliath story set in a war-torn world similar to ours yet remarkably different in some respects (the story is set in a fictional kingdom ruled by a monarchy).

McShane will play King Silas Benjamin, this kingdom's ruthless ruler, opposite the already cast Christopher Egan (Pretty Handsome).

It's anticipated that NBC may grant the project a series order when it unveils its primetime schedule later this week. Given the casting on this, I would be surprised if it doesn't earn itself series stripes. It's anticipated that Kings, Knight Rider, and My Worst Enemy (starring Christian Slater) will appear on the schedule, along with The Philanthropist.

I thought the script, from writer Michael Green (Heroes), was an interesting read, but I am not quite sure how the American public in general will react to this alternate world tale of strife, conspiracy, and monarchical machinations. Only time will tell...

What's On Tonight

8 pm: The Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother (CBS); My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad (NBC); Gossip Girl (CW); Dancing With the Stars (ABC; 8-9:300 pm); House (FOX)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious (CW); New Amsterdam (FOX); The Bachelor: London Calling (ABC; 9:30-11 pm)

10 pm: CSI Miami (CBS); Medium (NBC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Gossip Girl.

It's another chance to catch up on the teen soap. On tonight's repeat episode ("Roman Holiday"): it's time to deck the halls as Blair's father comes home for the holidays and brings his boyfriend with him while Serena and Dan plan holiday surprises for each other.

8-11 pm: Top Chef on Bravo.

Because why wouldn't you rewatch three hours of the best culinary competition series on television?

9:30 pm: Old Christine.

Seinfeld Reunion Alert! On tonight's episode ("One and a Half Men"), which also happens to be the third season finale (boo!), Christine takes matters into her own hands after her gynecologist (guest star Jason Alexander) suggests her flu-like symptoms are actually signs she's experiencing perimenopause.


Anonymous said…
This being a Bruno Heller project, I had high hopes. But the casting of Simon Baker isn't all that exciting and the premise is pretty yawn-inducing (and it sounds like the pilot script is too).
Anonymous said…
I was going to laugh about the Top Chef reruns, but then I remembered that I watch each episode twice - once with my girlfriend, once with friends. If not more. It's so tasty and entertaining!

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