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Casting Couch: Amy Poehler to "Office" Non-Spinoff; Marcia Gay Harden Finds "Damages"

The, er, non-spinoff spinoff of The Office from Office executive producers Greg Daniels and Mike Schur just got a hell of a lot more interesting.

Saturday Night Live's Amy Poehler is said to be in negotiations to join the cast of the untitled comedy opposite the previously announced Aziz Ansari, who was cast in the project last month.

Confirming news I had heard from someone close to the production, the untitled comedy series will NOT be a spin-off as previously announced at the NBC Upfronts by Ben Silverman but will in fact be a completely separate series, which will not utilize any existing or forthcoming characters on The Office but remain its own entity.

I think Poehler is a fantastic choice for this new series, whatever the premise might eventually be. I'm hoping that she actually is the de facto series lead as television needs more female lead actors in comedy series to join the current troika of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, and Mary-Louise Parker. While there were no indications of who or what Poehler will play, I know that she'll bring her fantastic comedic timing, penchant for deadpan humor, and snarky attitude to whatever this series ends up being.

Now if Daniels and Co. could just lure Poehler's hubby Will Arnett to the mix, I'd set up my TiVo Season Pass right now.


In other casting news, Marcia Gay Harden (Into the Wild) has joined the cast of FX's Damages for its sophomore season. She'll play a high-powered attorney who opposes Glenn Close's Patty Hewes on a high stakes case and will recur throughout the season.

Returning to the series (SPOILER ALERT!): Ted Danson, who will turn up in Season Two as the delightfully malevolent Arthur Frobisher, who clearly survived the gunshot that seemed to fell him in the first season's taut season finale last year. Danson is set to appear in several episodes of Damages' second season.

Damages has been a role lately, racking up some A-list talent for its second season, including Harden, Timothy Olyphant, and William Hurt (who, coincidentally, also appeared in Into the Wild, opposite Harden).

I think Harden will be a fantastic addition to the cast and I'm still curious to check out the pilot presentation she filmed for CBS this season, The Tower, which is currently sitting in a pile of unwatched pilot DVDs by my television set.


Finally, ABC's remake of Brit series Life on Mars has finally found its Chris Skelton.

Life on Mars, which stars Jason O'Mara as Detective Sam Tyler who seemingly travels back in time to 1973 while on the hunt for a serial killer who has kidnapped his police colleague/lover, is currently being rejiggered by October Road creators Josh Appelbaum, Scott Rosenberg, and Andre Nemec.

They've enlisted former October Road cast member Jonathan Murphy for their new series venture. Murphy will play the wet-behind-the-ears and naive newbie cop Chris Skelton (a role played by the fantastic Marshall Lancaster in the BBC original) in the US version of Life on Mars.

Stay tuned.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Big Brother 10 (CBS); Baby Borrowers (NBC); America's Next Top Model (CW); Wife Swap (ABC); So You Think You Can Dance (FOX; 8-10 pm)

9 pm:
Criminal Minds (CBS); Baby Borrowers (NBC); Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious (CW); Supernanny (ABC)

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Celebrity Circus (NBC); Primetime: Crime (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

9 pm: Project Runway on Lifetime.

Season Five (the final season on Bravo) of Project Runway begins tonight with sixteen unsuspecting designers thrown into the deep end. On tonight's episode, they'll have to create clothing from unusual sources... as though that's anything new for the sartorial showdown.


Anonymous said…
Amy Poehler + Aziz Ansari + Greg Daniels and Mike Schur = Comedy Ecstasy! Definitely hope Amy takes the lead role in this project, whatever it may be!
Fantastic casting of two very talented women. I can't wait to see Poehler in a Greg Daniels helmed comedy and the cast for Damages just keeps getting better and better!

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