Pilot Watch: A British-Based Pilot and Tons Of New Casting News

It’s Monday and that means we’re another week deep in full development mode for the fall ’09 TV season, and another week closer to seeing what will actually make it! So with that, many thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, who’ve got some more info on who’s playing what and what’s looking good. Which includes:

The following ABC developments: a pilot order and much casting news!

– Proving everything British is reusable for American TV, ABC ordered the pilot for “Pulling,” based on the British series of the same name. Did no one learn anything from “Coupling”? No? Okay then. The show follows three women living together after one of them calls off her engagement 24 hours before the wedding. No castings were announced yet.

– They were, however, for a slew of other pilots. When the aliens taking up residence on ABC’s new drama “V” hear the phrase, “Take me to your leader,” they’ll know exactly who to go to – Morena Baccarin. Baccarin just signed on as Anna, the lead alien visitor with advanced knowledge of human culture and media manipulation. And she should be familiar with the terrain; she previously starred in such sci-fi shows as “Firefly” and “SG-1 Adria,” and joins Scott Wolf and Morris Chestnut who already joined the cast.

– Emmy winner Tammy Blanchard is looking for another TV hit; she’s joined the cast of “Empire State,” a modern day Romeo and Juliet saga, where she’ll play a cousin of the blue-collar guy channeling Romeo. Additionally, Mel Raido will join her, as the ruthless and manipulating brother of the modern day Juliet.

– Scrubs alum Eliza Coupe is going incognito. She’s set to play a B-list superhero with the ability to turn invisible for the pilot “No Heroics.” But don’t expect her to save the day; her character is supposedly a “baddie.”

– Robbie Jones and Shannon Woodward are joining the “Limelight.” They’ve joined the cast of the new drama set at a performing-arts college, with Jones playing an inspired percussionist and Woodward, a talented actress, who both audition for the academy.

– Cedric the Entertainer’s new pilot, “The Law” has added Madchen Amick and Ryan Devlin to its cast. The show which will revolve around reserve police officers has Amick playing a soccer mom-turned-reservist and Devlin as a rookie reservist.

– Josh Hopkins and Ian Gomez are on the prowl. They’ve both joined the cast of “Cougar Town,” a comedy about a 40-year-old newly single mom played by Courteney Cox with a teen son. Hopkins, plays her neighbor, and likely prey, while Gomez will play another, less attractive neighbor. Sorry Ian.

– Rounding out the ABC news of the day is Rupert Penry-Jones, who won the lead in a new as-yet-untitled Jerry Bruckheimer drama. The native Brit will play a former cop heading up a group of amateur detectives following the kidnapping of his 11-year-old daughter.

Over at Fox we have:

– Heyy Brotthherrr. Okay, so that was inside to all Arrested Development lovers, but they can join me in appreciating the news that Tony Hale, better known as AD’s Buster, is joining the cast of “Cop House,” a comedy about a halfway house for troubled cops. Hale plays a, you guessed it, cop suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Sounds like a perfect fit to me; Buster sure knew a thing or two about PTSD.

– “Maggie Hill” rounds out its cast with the additions of Stuart Townsend, Luke Mably, Gbenga Akinnagbe and Anna Rose Hopkins to the ensemble show about Maggie, a brilliant surgeon with schizophrenia, played by Christina Cole. Townsend, who happens to be Charlize Theron’s boyfriend, joins the cast as Maggie’s imaginary boyfriend, while Mably will play her real boyfriend, a handsome doctor (because what doctor on TV isn’t?). Akinnagbe will play a rival, arrogant surgeon, and Hopkins plays Maggie’s younger sister.

CBS added to three of its shows, including:

– She may be planning an ER cameo as Nurse Hathaway, but Julianna Margulies is already moving on to her next role. She just landed the lead ” The Good Wife,” about a politician’s wife who returns to work as a defense attorney. Margulies plays said Good Wife and her casting officially drops the contingency previously put on the project.

– Lana Parrilla joins “Miami Trauma,” an ensemble medical show set at a Miami trauma center. She’ll play a brilliant surgeon who becomes the leader of the trauma team.

– Meanwhile, in another hospital, Justina Machado will play an operating assistant in a group of transplant doctors for the drama pilot, “Three Rivers.”

One casting bit for NBC. The peacock has its first cast member for “Parenthood,” based on the 90s movie, in Erika Christensen. She joins the pilot as Julia Braverman, an ambitious corporate attorney struggling to be more involved with her family.

And then one lone casting for The CW too. The next wannabe bloodsuckers in the pilot “Vampire Diaries” have the object of their thirst and affection in Bulgarian-born Canadian Nina Dobrev. She’s landed the lead in the pilot based on the series of novels as Elena, a tragic heroine who is the object of passion for two vampire brothers.

Don’t forget about cable! A&E announced they’ve ordered thirteen episodes of “Tattoo Highway,” which will follow master tattoo artist Thomas Pendelton as he travels cross country with his wife in a mobile tattoo parlor. The show debuts this spring and is sure to feature lots of questionable choices.

Comedy Central is adding Tosh.O to its roster. The new weekly series premiering in June stars comedian Daniel Tosh and is pegged to change the way people think about the internet, with a closer look at blogs, vlogs, tweets and pokes.

And it’s only Monday – a lot can happen in one week – so be sure to check back here for any and all castings and pilot news!

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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