It’s casting season in Hollywood and familiar names are being snatched up by studios.
Maria Bello will play a famed detective; Christine Lahti will be a doctor (again); Michael Emerson will play a billionaire; and James Van Der Beek will play himself in a handful of series planned for fall.
The drama is being put together by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights“) with “Desperate Housewives” producer Alexandra Cunningham as showrunner. Bello most recently appeared on NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU.”
That “L&O” procedural was also the recent home of Christine Lahti, who has been tapped by CBS to star in its fall medical-family drama pilot “The Doctor.”
Lahti previously played a doctor on “Chicago Hope” on CBS. The show, about a mother who reconnects with her adult children when she joins the family medical practice, is written by “Privileged” creator Rina Mimoun and directed by David Nutter.
CBS greenlit the one-hour crime drama from Abrams and screenwriter Jonathan Nolan last week. It will star Emerson as a billionaire who works to stop violent crime along with an ex-CIA agent.
Emerson was previously signed up for NBC’s planned series “Odd Jobs” with “Lost” costar Terry O’Quinn, but that project was delayed.
He’ll be joining the cast of the ABC comedy pilot “Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23” as the friend of the titular character Chloe (previously cast Krysten Ritter).
The ‘Van Der Beek’ on the show will be a heightened version of the actor, a la Matt LeBlanc on Showtime’s “Episodes.” “Bitch” creator Nahnatchka Khan always envisioned a name celebrity for the role; the first draft of the script had a character named Lance Bass.