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TCA: Debra Messing On The Real Mystery Of ‘Mysteries Of Laura’

By | Sunday July 13, 2014 @ 3:21pm PDT

TCA: Debra Messing On The Real Mystery Of ‘Mysteries Of Laura’In NBC’s new series The Mysteries of Laura, Debra Messing stars as Laura Diamond, who according to NBC materials is “a brilliant NYP homicide detective balancing her ‘Columbo’ day job with a crazy family life.”  But what, journalists were asking today, is “mysterious”  — or even unusual — about a woman juggling family and career in 2014?
 At today’s TCA panel on her new show, Messing was joined by other cast members Laz Alonso, Josh Lucas and Janina Gavankarand,  as well as the male executive producers Jeff Rake, McG, Greg Berlanti and Aaron Kaplan. They were quick to respond that exposing the working-mom dynamic is not the point of the show.
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Debra Messing To Topline NBC Pilot ‘The Mysteries Of Laura’

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 10:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Debra MessingSmash alumna Debra Messing is back at NBC as the lead of another hourlong project, pilot The Mysteries Of Laura, lifting the project’s cast-contingency. Messing is set for the title role in the pilot, written by Jeff Rake and directed by McG. Based on the popular Spanish series Los Misterios De Laura, The Mysteries Of Laura follows the life and relationships of Laura Diamond (Messing), a female homicide detective who can handle murderous criminals — but not her hell-raising twin children. Warner Bros. TV, Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Prods. and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment produce. Production on the pilot and the series will be moved to New York where Messing is based. Messing is making her Broadway debut in John Patrick Shanley’s play Outside Mullingar and will segue to Mysteries Of Laura after wrapping her well received stage run. The Mysteries Of Laura extends Messing’s long history at NBC where she became a household name with her Emmy-winning starring role on comedy Will & Grace. She is repped by Gersh, 3 Arts and Rick Genow.

Related: 2014 NBC Pilots

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Debra Messing To Topline CBS’ Rottenberg/Zuritsky Comedy Pilot

By | Monday March 25, 2013 @ 11:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Smash star Debra Messing is returning to half-hour comedy with a starring role in CBS‘ untitled  Julie Rottenberg/Elisa Zuritsky pilot (formerly Mother’s Day). In addition to playing the lead, Will & Grace alumna Messing will serve as a co-executive producer on the project, based on an Israeli format, in one of the richest talent deals this pilot season. The untitled comedy centers on 40-year-old Ella (Messing) who, in order to successfully navigate through the demanding life of being a mother of three, a lover, a friend and a career woman, constantly lies her way out of and into situations — little lies, big lies, white and at times not-so-white lies. The project reunites Emmy winner Messing with Rottenberg and Zuritsky who served as co-executive producers on Smash. Messing’s casting is formally in second position to the NBC Broadway drama, which is not expected to return after a very low rated Season 2. The original Israeli series was created by Daniela London-Dekel and Dana Eden, written by London-Dekel and produced by Eden’s Eden Prods. Rottenberg and Zuritsky executive produce the CBS version, from CBS TV Studios, with London-Dekel, Eden and Keshet’s Avi Nir and Ran Telem. Messing is with Gersh, 3 Arts and Rick Genow.

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Ellen DeGeneres Wants To ‘Sing You Home’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ellen DeGeneres is teaming with Storyline partners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce Sing You Home, a feature film based on the bestselling novel by Jodi Picoult. DeGeneres will be involved solely as producer on this, and I’m told it’s a passion project for her. She optioned it with her own money and enlisted Zadan and Meron. They will develop it themselves.

The novel is about a woman who spends 10 years before finally getting pregnant. Seven months in, the child is stillborn, her distraught husband can’t take anymore and leaves her. She throws herself into her career as a music therapist and unexpectedly develops a romantic relationship with a female guidance counselor. This newfound happiness makes her reconsider having a family again, and she remembers that she and her husband left behind several frozen embryos. Unfortunately, her ex has become involved with an evangelical church, run by a charismatic pastor who has pledged to fight the “homosexual agenda” he feels is endangering traditional family values. The ex-husband and pastor take issue with his ex-wife’s desire to use the embryos. Much the way that Picoult’s novel My Sister’s Keeper found an emotional way into the controversial topic of genetic planning (that book was turned into a movie directed by Nick Cassavetes), Picoult’s Sing You Home takes on the issues of in vitro fertilization and gay rights, arguments that end … Read More »

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Anjelica Huston Joins NBC’s ‘Smash’

By | Friday March 4, 2011 @ 7:15pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

In what would be her first regular series gig, Oscar winner Anjelica Huston has been tapped to co-star opposite Debra Messing and Christian Borle in NBC’s drama pilot Smash, which follows a cross-section of characters who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway. Huston will play a shrewd, classy but cynical New York theater producer who is at home with the elite. Also co-starring in the pilot are Megan Hilty, Jack Davenport and Katharine McPhee. On TV, Huston recently recurred on the NBC/CBS drama Medium.

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PILOT CASTINGS: NBC’s ‘Smash’, Fox’s ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter’ Find Leads

Nellie Andreeva

Broadway actor Christian Borle has landed the male lead opposite Debra Messing in NBC’s Broadway-themed pilot Smash, which is based on an idea by Steven Spielberg. The pilot, from DreamWorks TV and UMS, follows a cross section of characters who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway led by the musical’s composer Tom (Borle) and lyricist Julia (Messing). Also previously cast in the pilot are Jack Devenport, Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee. Borle was nominated for a Tony in 2007 for Legally Blonde.

Katie Finneran has been cast as one of the two leads of Fox’s multicamera comedy I Hate My Teenage Daughter. The project, from Warner Bros. TV and writers/executive producers Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer, centers on two women, Annie  and Nikki (Finneran), who now have daughters just like the girls who picked on them in high school. Finneran is a familiar face at Fox. She co-starred on two series for the network, dramas The Inside and Wonderfalls.

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Jack Davenport To Co-Star In NBC’s ‘Smash’

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: I hear FlashForward alum Jack Davenport will co-star opposite Debra Messing in the NBC hourlong pilot Smash, which was based on an idea by Steven Spielberg. The pilot, from DreamWorks TV and UMS, follows a cross section of characters who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway led by the musical’s composer Tom and lyricist Julia (Messing). British actor Davenport will play Derek, a fierce and intelligent musical choreographer trying to find his next big project who loves the idea of the Marilyn Monroe musical. Davenport also joins Megan Hilty in the pilot, written by Theresa Rebeck and to be directed by Michael Mayer. Smash landed Davenport in a competitive situation as he was also holding an offer for the lead in Marc Cherry’s ABC pilot Hallelujah. Davenport, repped by Gersh and Sanders Armstrong Caserta, also starred in the CBS’ praised drama Swingtown and in Coupling (the original hit British version) and co-starred in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Another Brit, The Beautiful Life alumna Ashley Madekwe is the first actress to be cast in ABC’s drama pilot Revenge, written by Swingtown creator Mike Kelley and to be directed by Phillip Noyce. It is a contemporary re-imagening of The Count of Monte Cristo from a female perspective and centers on Emily Thorn, a mysterious young woman who comes … Read More »

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Debra Messing To Topline NBC Pilot ‘Smash’

Nellie Andreeva

Former Will & Grace star Debra Messing is returning to NBC as the female lead of  another series project set in New York where the male lead is a gay man.

Messing is finalizing a deal to star in NBC’s hourlong pilot Smash, an ambitious drama about the mounting of a Broadway musical, which was based on an idea by Steven Spielberg. The pilot, produced by DreamWorks TV and UMS, follows a cross section of characters who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway. At the heart of the show are the musical’s composer Tom, who is gay, and the lyricist Julia (Messing), who is somewhat against the idea of a Marilyn Monroe-themed musical.

TV writer/playwright Theresa Rebeck wrote the script for Smash and is executive producing with Spielberg, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey of DreamWorks TV, Hairspray producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron  and Grammy and Tony-winning songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman who will pen original songs for the show. Michael Mayer (American Idiot) is directing. This has been a passion project for new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt who first developed it at Showtime. But, despite its pay-cable origins, Smash is said to be a broad, broadcast-type show.

After the end of NBC’s Will & Grace, which earned Messing an Emmy, she toplined the USA Network mini-series/series The Starter Wife. Last season, the actress, repped by Gersh and 3 Arts, starred in and produced the ABC comedy pilot Wright vs. Wrong.

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Who Are The Most Sought-After Actors This Pilot Season?

Nellie Andreeva

It is the end of January, and pilot offers to actors are going out fast and furious. Like every year, there are several actors that attract the lion’s share of offers. In the leading man category, two 40-something actors, Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler and Brotherhood alum Jason Isaacs, are red-hot, fielding a half-dozen offers each.

Among the ladies, Ugly Betty alumna Becki Newton is once again in demand despite the fact that her pilot gig could be in second position to her current series, NBC’s midseason dramedy Love Bites whose prospects are dim with a cut-back order and no premiere date set. (Love Bites co-star Greg Grunberg already booked the lead in the A&E pilot Big Mike in first position). Also sitting on multiple offers is Gilmore Girls alumna Krysten Ritter. Casting directors on several projects are also sending out feelers to Christina Applegate, who just gave birth to her first child. Other TV actors lured to return to series TV are Debra Messing, Jason Bateman, James Spader, Daniel Sunjata, Ali Larter, Lizzy Caplan  and Katee Sackhoff.

As usual, pilot casting directors’ wish lists include a lot of movie … Read More »

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