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TV CASTINGS: Actors Join ‘Alcatraz,’ ‘Wedding Band’ Pilots, ‘Hawaii Five-0′ Series

Nellie Andreeva

Former Heroes co-star Santiago Cabrera has landed the final regular role on Fox’s drama pilot Alcatraz. The project, executive produced by J.J. Abrams, chronicles the efforts of tenacious cop Rebecca (Sarah Jones) and team of FBI agents tracking down a group of missing Alcatraz prisoners and guards who reappear in the present day. Cabrera, repped by Gersh and Management 360, will play Jimmy, Rebecca’s sweet-natured fiance, an uniform cop. Cabrera is best known for his role on Heroes as comic book artist Isaac Mendez.

Well, this rules Jan Levenson as a potential successor to Michael Scott on NBC’s The Office. Melora Hardin, who has been playing Jan on a recurring basis, has been tapped for a lead role in the TBS pilot The Wedding Band. The hourlong comedy follows a group of guys performing in a wedding band, anchored by 2 lifelong best friends – perennial bachelor Tommy (Brian Austin Green) and Eddie (Peter Cambor), a married father of two. Hardin plays the sassy, demanding and opinionated president of Rutherford Events who hires the band for her events every week.

Former Secret World of Alex Mack star Larisa Oleynik is joining the cast of the freshman drama Hawaii Five-0. On CBS’ reboot of the classic cop show, Oleynik will play Jessica Kaye, an highly educated … Read More »

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Parminder Nagra And Robert Forster Join Fox/J.J. Abrams Pilot ‘Alcatraz’

By | Friday December 10, 2010 @ 5:47pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: ER alumna Parminder Nagra is set for a lead role on Fox’s pilot Alcatraz. Also in negotiations to join in the J.J. Abrams-produced pilot is veteran Robert Forster. The drama project, from Warner Bros. TV, Abrams’ Bad Robot and executive producer/showrunner Liz Sarnoff, chronicles the efforts of a cop (Sarah Jones) and team of FBI agents tracking down a group of missing Alcatraz prisoners and guards who reappear in the present day. Sam Neill was just cast as Emerson Hauser, a head of a government agency. Nagra will play his lab technician, Lucy. Forster, who was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in Jackie Brown, will play Ray Archer, a retired detective who is now owner/bartender of a cop hangout bar. Following her breakthrough performance in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, Nagra joined NBC’s medical drama ER, on which she co-starred for six seasons, until the show’s end in April 2009. She is with Gersh and 3 Arts. Forster, who recurred on NBC’s Heroes as Peter and Nathan Petrelli’s dad Arthur, is with Don Buchwald & Assoc.

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Two More Board J.J. Abrams’ Pilot ‘Alcatraz’

By | Wednesday December 1, 2010 @ 6:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Following the casting of Lost alum Jorge Garcia in the J.J. Abrams-produced Fox pilot Alcatraz, Abrams has recruited two more actors who have appeared on his previous series – Jonny Coyne and Jason Butler Harner – for the  pilot. The drama project, from Warner Bros. TV, Abrams’ Bad Robot and executive producer/showrunner Liz Sarnoff, chronicles the efforts of a team of FBI agents tracking down a group of missing Alcatraz prisoners and guards who reappear in the present day. Coyne, who did a two-episode arc on Abrams’ NBC drama Undercovers this fall, will play the lead role of Alcatraz Warden Edwin James. Harner, who guest starred in the pilot for Abrams’ Fringe, will play the supporting role of Associate Warden E.B. Tiller who enjoys and abuses his power. The two join previously cast Garcia and Sarah Jones, who will play the female lead. Stage and film/TV actor Butler, repped by ICM and ATA Management, will next be seen in the indie Letters From the Big Man, which is expected to premiere at Sundance.

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J.J. Abrams’ Fox Pilot ‘Alcatraz’ Casts Lead

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Jones (Sons of Anarchy) has landed the lead in the J.J. Abrams-produced Fox pilot Alcatraz. The drama project, from Warner Bros. TV and Abrams’ Bad Robot, centers on a group of missing Alcatraz prisoners and guards who reappear in the present day. It chronicles the efforts of a team of FBI agents to track them down and unravel the mystery behind their disappearance thirty years prior. Jones  will play Rebecca Madsen, a smart, thoughtful and a little obsessive police officer. She joins Lost alum Jorge Garcia who was the first actor cast in the pilot. Jones is the latest ingenue to headline a series project from Abrams, who is known for breaking new young female talent on his shows. He cast Keri Russell on Felicity, Jennifer Garner on Alias, Evangeline Lilly on Lost, Australian Anna Torv on Fringe, and, most recently, British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw on Undercovers.

Jones, repped by Greene & Assoc. and manager Lena Rocklin, recurred on FX’s Sons of Anarchy last season and is doing an arc on another FX drama series, Justified. She has been on the radar of Fox’s casting executives with recent guest spots on House and Lone Star. On the feature side, she recently completed The Domino Effect and Storage.

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Several Television Pilots Land Directors

Nellie Andreeva

Former Dexter director-producer Michael Cuesta, who most recently helmed the pilot for CBS’ cop family drama Blue Bloods, has signed on to direct Showtime’s drama pilot Homeland, a psychological thriller from former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon based on an Israeli format.

In other notable recent pilot director signings, former Six Feet Under director-executive producer Alan Poul has been tapped to direct and executive produce TNT’s drama pilot Perception starring Eric McCormack as a brilliant neuroscientist helping the FBI, Gregory Hoblit (Untraceable) is set to direct another TNT pilot, the untitled Allan Loeb cop drama project starring Steven Weber and D.L Hughley, which is based on Marshall Karp’s novel The Rabbit Factory. On the broadcast side, Danny Cannon has come on board to direct Fox’s drama pilot Alcatraz. The gig marks Cannon’s first collaboration with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, which is co-producing the pilot with Warner Bros. TV. Cannon, who made his TV directing debut on the pilot for the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced CSI, has worked primarily with the WBTV-based Bruckheimer TV. His most notable effort on a non-Bruckheimer-produced project came last spring when he directed and executive produced the CW/WBTV pilot Nikita.

At ABC Family, Wendey Stanzler is directing drama pilot Nine Lives starring Skyler Samuels and Amy Pietz, Keith Truesdell is shooting the untitled Brenda Hampton pilot, and … Read More »

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‘Alcatraz’ Drama Picked Up To Pilot At Fox

Nellie Andreeva

It’s been a quick greenlight for Alcatraz, the JJ Abrams-produced drama, which landed at Fox with a pilot commitment a week ago. I hear the project, described as “a show about mysteries, secrets and the most infamous prison of all time: Alcatraz,” has been picked up to pilot by the network with a production order. Elizabeth Sarnoff penned the final script, while Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt wroteearlier versions. All 3 are credited as writers on the pilot. Sarnoff will serve as showrunner and will executive produce with Abrams and Bryan Burk. Lilien and Wynbrandt will co-executive produce. Abrams’ Bad Robot Prods is producing with Warner Bros TV. This will be the second off-cycle pilot order for Fox, which also recently greenlighted the comedy pilot Outnumbered.

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JJ Abrams TV Drama ‘Alcatraz’ Lands At Fox

Nellie Andreeva

The network that gave us Prison Break is heading back to prison. Fox has picked up Alcatraz, the J.J. Abrams produced drama about the San Francisco Bay island. The project, which was written on spec and recently taken out to the networks, has received a pilot commitment by Fox which is already in business with Abrams on sci-fi drama Fringe. Alcatraz is described as “a show about mysteries, secrets and the most infamous prison of all time: Alcatraz.” Lost executive producer Elizabeth Sarnoff penned the final script, while Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt (Kyle XY) wrote earlier versions. All 3 are credited as writers on the pilot. Sarnoff will serve as showrunner and will executive produce with Abrams and Bryan Burk. Lilien and Wynbrandt will co-executive produce. Abrams’ Bad Robot Prods is producing with Warner Bros TV. This is the third consecutive year a spec from Bad Robot has landed a major commitment after interest from multiple networks. The first two scripts, Fringe and Undercovers, went to series on Fox and NBC, respectively.

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