Actor-comedian Paul F. Tompkins (Comedy Bang! Bang!) will star opposite Molly Shannon in ABC’s single-camera comedy pilot from creator Brian Gallivan, Sony TV and Olive Bridge Prods. It centers on an overworked father (Tompkins) dreaming of being “on vacation all year” who decides to uproot his family from the city and move them to New Hampshire, where they open a group of tourist cottages but rarely, if ever, feel like they’re on vacation. Shannon plays his wife. Also cast in the pilot is Tessa Albertson as the couple’s older daughter. Repped by Innovative/MKSD.
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Strangers With Candy‘s Amy Sedaris will co-star opposite Jane Krakowski in Fox‘s half-hour pilot Dead Boss, from WBTV and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. An adaptation of the BBC3 series, Dead Boss is a comedic mystery that finds overachiever Helen Stephens (Krakowski) wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and forced to rely on her train wreck of a sister to prove her innocence. Sedaris plays Mary, one of Helen’s nosy, fault-finding co-workers and the gatekeeper to their boss who secretly loved the man and openly hated Helen.
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One Tree Hill alum Robert Buckley has been set as a series regular in Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero’s CW drama pilot iZombie, from Warner Bros. TV. iZombie is a supernatural crime procedural that centers on a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. Buckley, repped by WME and Interlink Management, will play Major, Liz’s former fiance who is trying to make the transition to friend.
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EXCLUSIVE: Mexican actor-singer-heartthrob Jaime Camil is making his US pilot debut with a co-starring role opposite Gina Rodriguez in the CW‘s drama Jane The Virgin. Based on the successful Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, Jane The Virgin centers on Jane (Rodriguez), a hardworking religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated. International telenovela star Camil will play the series regular role of Rubio, who happens to be a world-famous telenovela star with a surprising connection to Jane. Camil, who is coming off back-to-back hit Spanish-language series in Mexico and the U.S. with Que Pobres Ran Ricos and Poy Ella Soy Eva, is currently seen on Univision’s new rom-com novela, Qué Pobres Tan Ricos. He made a successful feature debut in the US as the star of bilingual Patelion/Lionsgate hit Pulling Strings, which ranked as the third highest-grossing foreign language film of 2013. Additionally, a recent guest appearance by Camil on Devious Maids delivered strong ratings for the Lifetime series, which also has Latin roots. Jane the Virgin, from CBS Studios, is written by Jennie Snyder Urman and directed by Brad Silberling. Camil is with ROAR, WME and attorney James Mandelbaum.
Patrick Sabongui (Godzilla) has been added to the cast of the CW pilot The Flash, based on the DC comic. It tells the story of scientist Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who through a freak accident is given the power of super speed that transforms him into the Fastest Man Alive. Sabongui will play another character of the comic, Captain David Singh, a potentially recurring role.
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Diogo Morgado, who portrays Jesus in the feature Son Of God and its predecessor, miniseries The Bible, will be playing another kind of messenger in a CW pilot. Morgado has been cast as one of the leads in ensemble drama The Messengers, from writer/co-exec producer Eoghan O’Donnell and exec producer Basil Iwanyk. In it, when a mysterious object crashes down to earth, a group of seemingly unconnected strangers die from the energy pulse, but then awaken to learn that they have been deemed responsible for preventing the impending Apocalypse. Morgado will play The Man, a mysterious figure who wakes up naked and burned in the desert and sets out on a mission to provide some answers about the strange events. He is repped by Aida Bernal at Spellbound Entertainment and Adam Park at the Park Noack Agency.
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While California Gov. Jerry Brown is still “not committed” to expanding the state’s film and TV tax credit, Los Angeles is seeing another drop in broadcast pilot production to what appears to be an all-time low. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been doing photo ops with Disney and Marvel execs to celebrate their commitment to film some 60 episodes of Marvel’s four Netflix series and a miniseries in the Big Apple. And now New York, which also lured The Tonight Show franchise away from Los Angeles, has more reasons to celebrate after another very strong pilot performance, returning this year to the top as the most popular drama location and reinforcing its strong position in comedy.
A record 15 broadcast pilots will be filming in New York this year, including 10 — almost a third — of the 34 drama pilot/direct-to-series projects filming within the regular cycle that have set their locations (two remain TBD). That is up from 13 total and eight dramas last year and just shy of the city’s all-time drama record of 11 in 2012. (Keep in mind that the number of NY-based was zero just four years ago, before the state implemented its aggressive tax break program.) New York is chipping away at Los Angeles’ comedy dominance. LA used to own the comedy space, with virtually every pilot filming here. Just two years ago, it housed 100% of the broadcast comedy pilots. The percentage dropped to 89% last year and is at 85% (39 out of 46) this season. New York made a big move in the arena in 2013 after seven years of no major broadcast comedy pilot presence there. A whopping five broadcast half-hour pilots were filmed in the city last year, including straight-to-series The Michael J. Fox Show. Proving that that wasn’t a fluke, New York matched its comedy haul this year with another five pilots, including NBC’s straight-to-series Tooken. Like last year, all five are single-camera. What’s more, a hybrid comedy, How I Met Your Dad, which is filming the pilot in Los Angeles, will move to New York if it goes to pilot. In most cases, the NY location is talent-driven (Irreversible star David Schwimmer, Dead Boss‘ Jane Krakowski, How I Met Your Dad star Greta Gerwig, Lowell and Gaffigan are all based in NY). But studios wouldn’t have been as open to setting shop in New York had the tax incentives not been strong enough to rein in production costs on comedies, especially the expensive single-camera format, which are still higher than a Los Angeles-based half-hour pilot but not by much. One drawback of comedy series filming in New York has been the shortage of writing talent as broadcast shows have to compete with such cable comedies as Louie and Girls, but with New York-based comedy production appearing to be here to stay, more writing talent may relocate there to support them.
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With Mad Men wrapping production on its seventh and final season, original cast member Rich Sommer has booked his follow-up series gig, taking a comedy turn with a co-starring role in CBS’ half-hour pilot Good Session. The single-camera project, written by John Hamburg and Matt Miller and directed by Hamburg, revolves around a happy couple, Joel and Lindsay, who go to a therapist to help them decide if they should have a baby but quickly discover they have more to discuss. Sommer, repped by Domain and Davis Spylios Management, will play Seth, Joel’s best friend and former college roommate, an armchair philosopher and suburban-dwelling father of three kids with the vibe of a man who hasn’t been single in years.
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Brian Howe is set to co-star in CBS’ half-hour hybrid comedy pilot Save The Date. The romantic comedy, from writers Jackie and Jeff Filgo, ABC Studios and CBS Studios, centers on 35-year-old and newly single Kate (Maggie Lawson), who drunkenly books a wedding venue and now is faced with the task of meeting the right man in time. Howe, repped by The Kohner Agency, will play Ray, Kate and Hillary’s (Michelle Trachtenberg) wry-humored dad, who’s been married to Connie (Julie White) for decades in an active, happy marriage. He recently recurred on CW’S Hart of Dixie and ABC’S Betrayal and will … Read More »
Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell‘s crowdfunded Veronica Mars movie is slated to make its world premiere next Saturday at the SXSW Film Festival, but an early sneak peek at the film’s first two minutes has been released online. The clip bridges the gap between the cancelled CW series’ end and the film with a voice-over by ex-teen P.I. Veronica Mars (Bell), in a montage “where we tell new fans everything they’ll need to know,” Tweeted series co-creator and director Thomas. WB will release Veronica Mars theatrically and day and date on VOD March 14. In January The CW announced a spin-off digital series to follow starring Veronica Mars‘s Ryan Hansen.
Related: ‘Veronica Mars’ Movie To Premiere at SXSW
‘Veronica Mars’ Gets Digital Spinoff Series On CW Starring Ryan Hansen
British actor Jon Fletcher (The Good Wife) is set to co-star in CW drama pilot The Messengers from feature producer Basil Iwanyk (the Clash Of The Titans franchise) and CBS TV Studios. Stephen Williams (Lost) has been tapped to direct. The Messengers starts with a mysterious object crashing down to Earth. A group of seemingly unconnected strangers die from the energy pulse, but then awaken to learn that they have been deemed responsible for preventing the impending apocalypse. Fletcher, repped by Resolution and One Entertainment, will play Joshua, a charismatic and compelling pastor at a Texas mega-church. Williams is with UTA and Oasis Media Group.
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EXCLUSIVE: After a long, long search and multiple rounds of testing, British actor Max Brown has been cast as the lead in Fox‘s 13-episode action-adventure drama series Hieroglyph, from 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment. Set in ancient Egypt, where fantasy and reality intertwined, it follows Ambrose (Brown), a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharoah (Reece Ritchie), navigating palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and even a few divine sorcerers. Brown, repped by UTA, Luber Roklin Entertainment and UK’s United Agents, most recently co-starred on the first season of the CW drama, Beauty And The Beast as medical examiner Evan Marks. He previously starred on Showtime/BBC’s The Tudors and BBC’s Spooks (aka MI-5).
Warner Bros. Television has just released the first image from its CW pilot The Flash, based on the DC comic. It shows Grant Gustin in full head gear as his character Barry Allen’s superhero alter ego The Flash. In the show, through a freak accident, scientist Barry Allen (Gustin) is given the power of super speed that transforms him into the Fastest Man Alive. Allen was introduced on the CW series Arrow this season but The Flash won’t make his debut until the pilot, co-starring Jesse L. Martin and executive produced by co-writers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and director David Nutter. Production begins next week.
Danielle Savre (Heroes) is set as one of the female leads in Supernatural: Tribes, the CW’s planted Supernatural spinoff, which will air as an episode of the veteran sci-fi series on April 29. Also set for a lead role in the project is former Vampire Diaries recurring player Stephen Martines, who will be joining fellow TVD alums Nathaniel Buzolic and Sean Faris as well as Lucien Laviscount. Written by Andrew Dabb and directed by Robert Singer, the sweeping drama revolves around the various mafia-esque monster families that unknowingly to humans “run” the underbelly of Chicago and are being tracked by a newly minted Hunter who’s trying to stop them and rid Chicago of anything or anyone supernatural. Savre, repped by TalentWorks and Zero Gravity, plays Margo, the acting head of the leading shapeshifter family, an ex-punk rocker-turned-corporate professional who feels threatened only by the return of her prodigal brother David (Buzolic) into the family. Martines, repped by Global Artists Agency, Luber Roklin and Chad Christopher, plays Detective Freddie Costa, a world-weary Chicago cop who serves as a mentor to Ennis (Laviscount) but also is secretly on the payroll of one of the powerful monster families.
Shonda Rhimes has drafted Liza Weil, who recurred on her hot ABC drama Scandal, for the ABC drama pilot How To Get Away With Murder starring Viola Davis, which Rhimes exec produces. The sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller centers on ambitious law students and their brilliant and mysterious criminal defense professor (Davis) who become entangled in a murder plot that could rock their entire university and change the course of their lives.Weil will play one of the professor’s two associates.
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Irish actor Stephen Hagan has been cast in CW pilot Identity, exec produced by Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci. It centers on Mia (Ahna O’Reilly), a young New Yorker who learns she needs an organ transplant to survive and her only living relative is a newfound half-brother, Davis (Matt Barr), the charming, privileged only son of a wealthy and powerful Charleston family. She connects with them only to find they’re the target of a CIA investigation for involvement in domestic terrorism, and the agency wants her as their newest informant. Hagan, repped by APA, NB Management and UK’s Artists Partnership, will play Jasper, Davis’ handsome, mysterious, and magnetic best friend who has chemistry with Mia from the moment the meet. He recently co-starred in BBC series Injustice.
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Filly Brown star Gina Rodriguez is set to topline the CW‘s drama pilot Jane The Virgin, in keeping with the project’s Latin roots. Based on the successful Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, Jane The Virgin, from CBS Studios, centers on Jane (Rodriguez), a hardworking religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated. Jennie Snyder Urman wrote the adaptation and is executive producing with Electus’ Ben Silverman as well as Gary Pearl and Jorge Granier. Brad Silberling, who directed the pilot for CW/CBS Studios drama Reign last season, has been tapped to direct. Last year, Rodriguez was cast in Fox drama pilot Wild Blue and had a talent holding deal with ABC the previous season. She is with APA, Intellectual Artists and Jackoway Tyerman.
Related: 2014 The CW Pilots