NBC‘s high profile midseason drama series Believe, co-created and executive produced by Gravity director/co-writer Alfonso Cuaron and exec produced by J.J. Abrams, is undergoing a behind the scenes change. Executive producer/showrunner Dave Erickson is expected to depart. He will be succeeded by co-executive producer/director Jonas Pate who has been named executive producer/showrunner, a rare case of a director, not a writer taking the reins of a scripted serie. He directed the important second episode of the series that follows the pilot helmed by Cuaron. Pate joins executive producers Cuaron, Abrams, Bryan Burk as well as Hans Tobeason who will now serve as on-set producer in New York where the series films. This marks the second showrunner change on Believe. Co-creator/executive producer and original showrunner Mark Friedman left the series in July. To accommodate the showrunner transition, Believe is going on a holiday hiatus a week earlier that the previously scheduled Dec. 20 start. The extra week will be used to work on scripts. The series will resume production on Jan. 6 as originally scheduled. NBC has not slated Believe yet but had been looking to launch it after the Winter Olympics, using the sports event to promote the series and benefiting from the strong awards attention Cuaron is enjoying with Gravity.
Stella Maeve Joins ‘Chicago PD’; Nick Tarabay Cast In ‘Believe’; ‘Gang Related’ & ‘Twisted’ Also Add Recurring
Stella Maeve has been cast in a recurring role on NBC’s midseason drama Chicago PD, a spinoff from the network’s Chicago Fire. On the cop drama, from Wolf Films and Universal TV, Maeve will play Nadia, a pretty 18-year-old escort who is addicted to heroin and goes through a very difficult withdrawal. Maeve, repped by Principato-Young and Abrams Artists, recently co-starred in CBS series Golden Boy, CW pilot Norfolk and indie Dark Summer.
Spartacus and Crash alum Nick Tarabay has booked a recurring role on the new NBC Alfonso Cuaron drama Believe, about Bo (Johnny Sequoyah), a girl with special powers. Tarabay, repped by Domain and manager Brian Medavoy, will play Niko Zepeda, a dangerous, intimidating CIA Black Ops who is a constant looming threat as he hunts Bo and her protector Tate (Jake McLaughlin).
2ND UPDATE: Joining the group of newly picked up NBC series is DJ Nash comedy The Family Guide. This is it for NBC’s first batch of new series pickups. Waiting word are several top contenders, including Sony’s drama Blacklist and comedy Welcome To The Family.
UPDATE, 10:15 AM: Also picked up are the Sean Hayes/Victor Fresco comedy, titled Sean Saves The World, and J.J. Abrams’ drama Believe. That means two series each on NBC next season for Hayes/Hazy Mills and Abrams/Bad Robot, who also executive produce the recently renewed Grimm and Revolution, respectively.
PREVIOUS, 10:13 AM: After cleaning up house yesterday, passing on seven pilots, NBC just started handing out their new series orders. Rand Ravich’s drama Crisis and Jason Katims’ comedy About A Boy were among the first to get the happy call. Like Hayes and Abrams, Katims too will be pulling double duty on NBC next season as his Parenthood also has been renewed. About A Boy stars the little boy from 1600 Penn, so in case anyone was wondering, that series is dead. NBC, of course also has the Michael J. Fox comedy series with a 22-episode order. I’ll keep updating with pickup information as it comes in.
Related: Full Primetime Pilot Panic Listings
Here are credits and descriptions for NBC’s newly picked-up series:
Kate Lang Johnson (Fired Up) is set as a lead opposite Chyler Leigh and Humphrey Ker in NBC’s comedy pilot Holding Patterns, from writer Justin Spitzer, TBD Prods and Universal TV. It is an ensemble multi-camera comedy about a group of friends whose lives completely change after they survive a plane crash, caused by Leah (Leigh) ruining Griffin’s (Ker) proposal dinner. Johnson, repped by Innovative and McKeon/Myones, plays Sabrina, Griffin’s perfect fiancée, a beautiful doctor.
Arian Moayed has been cast as a regular in Believe, NBC’s drama pilot from J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón. The project, written by Cuarón and Mark Friedman, is about the unlikely relationship between Bo (Johnny Sequoyah), a girl in possession of great powers — which will come into their own in seven years — and Tate (Jake McLaughlin), the man sprung from prison to protect her from those trying to hunt her down. Moayed, repped by Gersh and Kipperman Management, will play Corey, the right-hand man to hit woman Moore (Sienna Guillory). He was nominated for a Tony for Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo and just finished a two-episode arc on The Following.
UPDATED: J.J. Abrams is having a pretty good end of the week. After signing on to direct the next Star Wars movie yesterday, he received two pilot orders today. NBC has greenlighted Believe, Abrams’ project with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. The network also has ordered Undateable, a comedy from writer Adam Sztykiel (Due Date) and producer Bill Lawrence.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros TV is exploring casting of key roles in its high-concept drama project from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams. The project, tentatively titled Believe, already has a pilot production commitment. It is not unusual for studios to do preliminary casting work on high-profile projects before a formal green light, especially those with a strong, hard-to-find lead whose casting can make or break a show. WBTV is doing the same with the lead in its potential Wonder Woman origin series at the CW, Amazon.
Directed by Cuarón and written by him and Mark Friedman, Believe is about a girl in possession of a great gift/powers — which will come into their own in seven years– and the man who is sprung from prison to protect her from those trying to hunt her down. The breakdown, released this week by casting director April Webster, is searching for the young lead: 10-year-old Bo, innocent and beautiful, a regular girl who has a depth and mystery to her.