EXCLUSIVE: Ed Asner is reprising his role (again) on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0, playing August March on the cop drama. He originated the role in a 1975 appearance in the first incarnation of the series and returned last year to play the world-class smuggler. His storyline is being extended for the second episode of Season 3, we’re told, and he is headed to Hawaii next week to shoot his scenes. The series is currently in production on the season premiere, which is set to air September 24. The seven-time Emmy winner is plenty busy, as he’s also set to star opposite Alison Sweeney and Greg Vaughn in the Hallmark telefilm Two In, which is shooting in LA for a 2013 premiere. He also just pacted to return to Broadway in the fall to star alongside Paul Rudd and Michael Shannon in Grace, the Craig Wright drama that officially opens October 4 for a limited run. He isrepped by Greene & Associates and manager Perry Zimel.
Paul Rudd and Michael Shannon are the latest movie stars to take the Broadway stage. They will star in Grace, the Craig Wright play that opens officially October 4 for a limited run. Ed Asner and Kate Arrington also star in the Dexter Bullard-directed play about a couple that heads to Florida with plans to open a chain of gospel motels.
The marathon pilot screenings at the broadcast networks are in full force. While they are rarely the deciding factor in the networks’ final series pickup decisions, they help solidify early standouts’ frontrunner positions and sometimes breathe life into pilots that might have been written off too soon. Here are some updates I heard today. (If some pilots, like ALCATRAZ and POE, are not mentioned in this update, they are in the one from yesterday, so check out that one too.)
The only element of uncertainly about GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES‘ future as a new ABC series next season seems to be what it will be called as it will definitely won’t be GCB. After a great screening today, the dramedy executive produced by Darren Star appears a sure thing, possibly as a companion to Desperate Housewives given that it’s been referred to as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas.” Probably the biggest surprise today was the mixed reaction to Shonda Rhimes’ drama SCANDAL, once considered a lock. But with Rhimes behind it, the project is still in the running. Also mixed was the reaction to family/dance drama GRACE, which once again got praise for its elaborate dance sequences and not so much for the narrative. Still a possibility to run behind Dancing With the Stars. Early comedy favorites, SUBURGATORY and SMOTHERED, continue to fly high after good screenings today and yesterday, respectively. Reaction to the Jenna Elfman-starring comedy BAD MOM was more mixed. …
From Celebrity Rehab stars to pilot leads — that’s the career trajectory for Eric Roberts and Tom Sizemore, who landed major roles on pilots this season: Roberts is the star of ABC’s dance drama Grace, and Sizemore co-stars opposite Ethan Hawke in Fox’s Exit Strategy. (Sizemore was a cast member of the third season of VH1′s Celebrity Rehab in 2009; Roberts was on the reality series last year.) Add to them Don Johnson, star of Michael Patrick King’s NBC pilot A Mann’s World, who also has a history of substance abuse and brushes with the law. In a pilot season overshadowed by the spectacle of current TV bad boy Charlie Sheen, it is nice to see the bad boys of yesteryear getting redemption and another chance at stardom. Let’s hope Sheen will get that too in a pilot season a decade from now …
Saturday Night Live alum Tim Meadows has joined NBC’s untitled Kari Lizer project. The workplace comedy centers on Mary (Sarah Paulson), a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. Meadows, repped by APA and Brillstein Entertainment, will play Mary’s partner, a psychotherapist and the reality check to Mary’s eternal optimism.
Off the Map co-star Zach Gilford has been cast as the male lead in the Fox single-camera pilot Iceland. The project centers on Mackenzie (Kerry Bishe), a twentysomething woman whose fiance recently passed away. Gilford, from WME and D/F Management, will play a guy friend of Mackenzie described as “bad influence.” For Gilford, the casting is in second position to Off the Map. He is the third cast member from the midseason drama to book a pilot this season along with Martin Henderson and Rachelle Lefevre, both cast in NBC’s Reconstruction.
Paul Blackthorne (Lipstick Jungle) has just been cast in the ABC drama pilot The River directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The horror thriller centers on Lincoln Cole (Joe Anderson) who, after his famous TV explorer father Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) goes missing way up the Amazon, reluctantly abandons his medical studies and follows in his father’s footsteps. Blackthorne, repped by SDB Partners, Seven Summits & Optimism, will play the producer of Emmet Cole’s long-running documentary series.
Andrew J. West (Greek) is set as the lead in NBC’s untitled Dan Goor pilot. The multicamera comedy, from writer-exec producer Dan Goor, centers on Adam Foote (West), a young doctor who joins his parents’ medical practice and spends as much time tending to his family as to his patients. Jean Smart was recently cast as his mom. West is with ICM and Group Management.
Marcia Gay Harden is set for a co-starring role in the ABC multi-camera comedy pilot Smothered, from Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. The project centers on young couple Zack (Kyle Howard) and Gillian, who find themselves smothered by their two very different sets of parents. Harden will play Zack’s pretentious, often overbearing mother.
Sherri Saum (Gossip Girl) has landed a lead in ABC’s drama pilot Grace, from writer Krista Vernoff. A dysfunctional family drama set in the world of professional dance, it centers on Michael Grace (Eric Roberts), a famous choreographer who tends to sleep with his dancers and has three daughters with different mothers. He is in danger of losing his studio until his daughter Sarah (Abigail Spencer), a dancer-turned-lawyer, decides to buy her father’s studio and run it for him. Saum will play Grace’s second daughter, a beautiful, bright …