EXCLUSIVE: True Blood is adding a new vampire for its seventh and final season. Riley Smith (90210) is set for a major recurring role. He will play Keith, a sexy, rock ‘n’ roll vampire with a romantic side. A drummer in James’ (Nathan Parson) band, he becomes smitten with Arlene (Carrie Preston) on first sight. Smith, repped by Gersh and Sanders/Armstrong/Caserta, is a regular in Lifetime’s original movie/backdoor pilot Deliverance Creek from Nicholas Sparks Productions. The film has no airdate yet but is expected to premiere later this year, with the project still in series contention as backdoor pilot.
Charlie Weber (90210) has been cast in ABC/ABC Studios’ drama pilot How To Get Away With Murder. The sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller centers on ambitious law students and their brilliant and mysterious criminal defense professor who become entangled in a murder plot. Weber, repped by Resolution, Vanguard Management and Gregory Slewet, plays an associate of the professor.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
Michelle Harrison (the CW’s Emily Owens, MD) has been added to the cast the CW/WBTV/DC pilot The Flash, about scientist Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who becomes the Fastest Man Alive. She will play the guest starring/recurring role of Barry’s mother, Nora Allen. Repped by Russ Mortensen at Pacific Artists Management.
Related: 2014 The CW Pilots
EXCLUSIVE: The Vampire Diaries‘ Rick Cosnett and Danielle Panabaker (Shark) are set to co-star opposite Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin in the CW pilot The Flash, based on the DC comic. The project, from Warner Bros TV and Berlanti Productions, is an origin story about Barry Allen aka The Flash (Gustin), a Central City assistant police forensics investigator who arrives in Starling to look into a series of unexplained robberies that may have a connection to a tragedy in his past. Cosnett plays star Detective Eddie Thawne, a recent transfer to the Central City Police Department, whose past is a mystery and who harbors a dark secret. Panabaker plays Caitlin Snow, a highly intelligent bioengineering expert who lost her fiancé during an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs. Originally envisioned as a backdoor pilot episode of Arrow, Flash will now film a regular pilot directed by David Nutter, a move clearly geared toward a series pickup.
This marks the reunion and return to primetime for former Beverly Hills, 90210 stars Tori Spelling & Jennie Garth and the first pickup decision for new ABC Family president Tom Ascheim. The network has given series orders to two of its three comedy pilots: Mystery Girls, starring and executive produced by Spelling and Garth, and Young & Hungry, starring Emily Osment and executive produced by Ashley Tisdale. Production on both comedies will begin early this year for a premiere later in 2014. “It’s great to start the new year and my tenure at ABC Family with the pickup of these two funny original series,” Ascheim said. ABC Family’s third comedy pilot, Work Mom, remains in contention. Mystery Girls and Young & Hungry join ABC Family’s established comedy series Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy. “Viewers are excited to see Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth back on television together again, and will fall in love with Young & Hungry star Emily Osment in these comedies that bring us fun, new characters with which to laugh out loud,” said ABC Family’s Chief Creative Officer Kate Juergens. This is a big year for ABC Family comedy pilots as last cycle none of the network’s half-hour hopefuls went to series.
Here are descriptions of ABC Family’s newly picked up comedy series:
VH1 has commissioned a presentation for a comedy reality series created, executive produced by and starring actresses Erin Foster and Sara Foster, daughters of David Foster. The show explores the hypocrisy of reality TV by centering around two sisters (Erin & Sara Foster) who say they would never do a reality show, but are being filmed by a camera crew. 3 Arts Entertainment and Good Clean Fun are producing, with 3 Arts’s Oly Obst, Kimberly Carver and Josh Lieberman executive producing alongside Good Clean Fun’s Jason Carbone. Last year, Erin, repped by 3 Arts and CAA, was a writer on NBC’s The New Normal. Sara, managed by Luber Roklin, co-starred on the CW’s 90210.
Malcolm McDowell (Franklin & Bash) is set to co-star opposite Gael García Bernal in Amazon’s comedy pilot Mozart In The Jungle, directed by Paul Weitz. Based on the memoir by Blair Tindal, the project, written by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Alex Timbers, is all about sex, drugs and classical music and shows that what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what happens onstage. McDowell plays Thomas, a seasoned conductor being forced into retirement by the arrival of hotshot new conductor Rodrigo (Bernal). Also cast in the pilot are Lola Kirke (Reaching For The Moon) as the impressionable oboist Hailey, Bernadette Peters (Smash) as Gloria, the Chairwoman of the Board of the symphony, Saffron Burrows (Law And Order: CI) as Cynthia, a cellist in the middle of an affair with Thomas, Peter Vack (CBGB) as Joshua, a talented dancer out of Juilliard who becomes Hailey’s love interest, and Hannah Dunne (This Is It) as Lizzie, Hailey’s friend and roommate.
Brianne Howey has landed a recurring role on ABC Family’s teen drama Twisted. She will play Whitney, a free spirit who is full of life and takes chances. She comes to Green Grove to live with her father (Ivan Sergei) for a fresh start. Howey’s TV credits include Revenge, The Middle, NCIS and 90210. She is repped by Untitled Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Stephanie Szostak (Iron Man 3) and Blair Redford (90210) are set to co-star opposite Matt Passmore in USA Network’s untitled Sean Jablonski pilot. The project, from UCP, follows investment banker Neil Truman (Passmore) and his wife, Grace (Szostak), as they struggle to sift through their stagnant marriage, looking for the spark they once had. When Neil discovers that Grace has been seeing a debonaire male escort (Redford) his entire world is turned upside down. As he gains a new perspective on life and what motivates women, Grace contemplates her own needs and whether her marriage is worth saving. Jablonski and Russ Krasnoff of Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment executive produce. The French-born Szostak, repped by UTA and manager Estelle Lasher, recently wrapped production on the Ricky Blitt/Peter Farrelly indie comedy Hit by Lightning. Redford, who has spent the last two seasons on The Lying Game, is repped by Greene & Assoc. and Luber/Roklin.
In scheduling their new series in May, network executives always face the dilemma whether bumping off an existing show for a newcomer is worth it. Networks’ goal always is to improve their schedules, but inevitably, their bets not always pay off. Here is a nifty graphic showing how this fall’s freshman series are doing vs. their predecessors in the time slots last year among adults 18-49, with the vast majority of the shows faring worse. Only seven newbies have improved their time periods so far — 3 at Fox, 2 at ABC and one each at NBC and the CW. There are caveats, including ratings bombs last fall goosing up comparisons, including strong new Fox drama Sleepy Hollow which succeeded one of the biggest flops of last fall, Mob Doctor, in the Monday 9 PM slot. Of the seven freshmen in positive territory, five replaced cancelled series, Sleepy Hollow (Mob Doctor), Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Dancing With The Stars results), The Originals (90210), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Ben & Kate), The Goldbergs (Happy Endings); one, Dracula, replaced a newsmagazine; and one, MasterChef Jr., took over for a show that is not on the air and has not been renewed but has originals in the can (Kitchen Nightmares). In the opposite direction, the worst year-to-year drops, 55% for Lucky 7 and 52% for Sean Saves The World, came when newbies replaced long-running shows, the …
CBS shows have migrated to younger skewing sibling the CW — CBS pilot Ringer became a CW series, and defunct CBS vampire drama Moonlight got a second run on the sister network. Now for the first time, there is migration in the other direction, with CBS looking to reboot a series from the CW predecessor, the WB. CBS has given a script order to Charmed, a reimagining of the original series centered around four sisters who discover their destiny – to battle against the forces of evil using their witchcraft. Created by Constance M. Burge and produced by Spelling TV, Charmed aired on the WB for eight seasons, concluding just before the network’s merger with UPN to form the CW in 2006. It has done well in off-network syndication on TNT and streaming on Netflix.
‘Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce’ Adds Sophina Brown & Carrie Fisher, ‘Deliverance Creek’ Adds Riley Smith, Amy Aquino In ‘Bosch’
EXCLUSIVE: Sophina Brown (Numbers) is set to co-star in Bravo’s pilot Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, from Marti Noxon and UCP. Carrie Fisher will make a cameo appearance in the pilot, which follows Abby (Lisa Edelsein), the famous author of a best-selling self-help book series who is hiding the fact that she’s separated from her husband as she starts to navigate her life as a single woman in her early 40s in Los Angeles. Brown will play Abby’s best friend Kate who has to decide whether to stand by her as she’s going through this divorce or risk their years long friendship, joining another recent cast addition, Janeane Garofalo. Fisher will appear as Abby’s book editor, Cat, who’s got a no prisoners approach to Abby’s career.
EXCLUSIVE: Former 90210 showrunner Rebecca Sinclair is back at The CW with a new hourlong drama project set in Los Angeles. Sinclair has teamed with Carol Mendelsohn Prods (The Defenders) for a period drama set in 1961 Malibu at the onset of the Southern California surf culture as well as the wave of social change that would transform America. CBS TV Studios, where CMP is under a deal, will produce. Written, executive produced and run by Sinclair, the untitled darkly comedic drama explores the lives of a motley crew of Malibu surfers — each an outsider in their own way — who had found a community of kindred spirits. The show will dive beneath the idyllic surface of beach culture, using historic events — from the civil rights and women’s rights movements to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam — to give the project a specificity. “We wanted to tell a different kind of story about the ’60s, one that explored the real events that led to the birth of California’s surf culture,” Carol Mendelsohn said. Quipped Sinclair, “There’s a Trojan horse element to this show: We’ll lure the audience in with gorgeous beaches, girls in bikinis and hot shirtless guys but then leave them grappling with big ideas.”
EXCLUSIVE: Denzel Washington‘s son John David Washington is following in his father’s footsteps with his first major acting role, signing on as a regular in the HBO pilot Ballers toplined by Dwayne Johnson. Also cast in the half-hour dramedy, which chronicles the lives of several Miami-based athletes, is former Bruins player Donovan Carter. Washington will play Ricky, a highly competitive and highly spiritual pro athlete. Carter will play Vernon, a deeply family oriented pro athlete. Washington, whose only previous acting credit is a small part in his dad’s 1992 movie Malcolm X, played football in college and did a stint with NFL’s St. Louis Rams.
Well, looks like Ned Vaughn won’t be following former union boss Ronald Reagan to Sacramento after all. A rare Republican in a heavily Democratic town, the former SAG-AFTRA EVP today pulled the plug on his campaign for the California State Assembly’s 66th District. Vaughn resigned his union post in August to seek for the state seat. He had said in the spring that he would not seek re-election in SAG-AFTRA’s September elections. “As I initially considered my decision to run, I felt I could strike an acceptable balance between family life and the demands of mounting a first-time political campaign,” Vaughn wrote his announcing his withdrawal. “But despite my personal commitment, I’ve determined the timing of this pursuit is just too soon for my still-young family. My roles as husband and father are the ones I prize most, and it has become clear to me that conducting a successful Assembly campaign will require me to spend too much time away from my children at a time when they still need me.” He added, “I also look forward to helping other Republican candidates who can bring much needed balance and crucial reform to Sacramento.”
Beau Garrett Joins Bravo Pilot ‘Girlfriend’s Guide’, Ashley Madekwe In WGN’s ‘Salem’, Jennie Garth Closed For ‘Mystery Girls’
Beau Garrett (Tron) is set to co-star in Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, Bravo’s scripted pilot from Marti Noxon and UCP. Based on the book series by Vicki Iovine, it follows Abby (Lisa Edelsein), the famous author of a best-selling self-help book series who is hiding the fact that she’s separated from her husband as she starts to navigate her life as a single woman in her early 40s in Los Angeles. She finds herself seeking advice from her divorced friends, including Phoebe (Garrett), instead of her married ones. Phoebe is a former model and recent divorcee that is still close to her ex. Garrett is with Paradigm, KLWGN Entertainment and Jason Hendler.
A federal judge this morning has ruled that a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the union by former SAG president Ed Asner and the 15 members of the self-titled United Screen Actors Committee will not go forward in its original form. In a hearing downtown, Judge Manuel Real granted large portions of SAG AFTRA‘s motion to dismiss the lawsuit over $130 million in allegedly improperly dispersed foreign residuals. Asner and the other plaintiffs first filed their suitMay 24. After the hearing, plaintiff’s attorney Helena Wise said “we’re not backing away from this”. The lawyer added that because some aspects of the foreign residuals in the case remain partially intact, she is considering amending the complaint. In his decision today, the judge also granted the majority of SAG AFTRA’s motions to strike portions of the original complaint. He did not agree to strike the naming of the union’s national executive director David White, which could be significant as Wise said today she is also considering launching an action of breach of fiduciary duty and corruption against various union executives including White and general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. In the hearing earlier, Wise told the judge that she would likely add White and others to the suit if it was allowed to go forward for their alleged role in the foreign residuals pay-outs. Also outside the courtroom after the hearing, plaintiff Bill Richert accused the union of being “corrupt” from “top to bottom.” Richert and several other plaintiffs attended the hearing today. Asner was not among them. SAG AFTRA lawyer Robert Bush said following the 30-minute hearing that “the complaint will have to be completely re-written”, adding that in his opinion “this is a small case, not a big case”.
The New Adventures Of Old Christine alumna Emily Rutherfurd has been cast as one of the two leads in ABC Family‘s comedy pilot Work Mom, written by Grant Levy and Dominik Rothbard. The workplace comedy follows Heather, who finally gets promoted at her digital marketing firm, and winds up hiring her vivacious, recently unemployed mother, Eden (Rutherfurd), who mixes up the office in a way no one could have predicted.
Jennie Garth is in talks to join Tori Spelling in another ABC Family comedy pilot, Mystery Girls. Sources are optimistic about the deal, which would reunite the former 90210 co-stars. Mystery Girls, penned by Shepard Boucher based on a story by him and Spelling, follows a former starlet (Spelling) who is roped into solving crimes with her former mystery TV show costar (Garth) when a witness to a crime will only speak to the infamous Mystery Girls. Spelling and Maggie Malina executive produce. Garth’s offer was first reported by TVLine.
UPDATE, 12:35PM: Gabrielle Carteris has been elected SAG-AFTRA’s new Executive Vice President at the union’s convention today. The Beverly Hills, 90210 actress and former LA Local co-President beat NY Local president Mike Hodge and last-minute candidate Jane Austin for the powerful union position voted on by delegates. (UPDATE 4:13 - A total of 303 ballots were cast in the race say SAG-AFTRA. Carteris received 66.5% of the vote from the delegates while Hodge received 23.22% and Austin pulled 10.28%. In a separate vote, Hodge was elected to a National VP position along with 6 others) Recently elected National Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino was among those who spoke in favor of Carteris to the delegates. The result may not sit that well with union President Ken Howard, who threw his support very publicly behind Hodge. Carteris was endorsed by former SAG-AFTRA co-President Roberta Reardon. The convention continues until September 29 and will be followed by a two-day National Board meeting.