EXCLUSIVE: Jean Smart has become a late addition to NBC‘s untitled Craig Robinson comedy pilot. She replaces Jane Adams who exited after the table read last week. The single-camera comedy is executive produced by Greg Daniels and Owen Ellickson, who wrote the script. It centers on a rough-edged musician Craig (Robinson) who’s adjusting to his new life as a music teacher in a big-city middle school where he encounters teacher politics and the temptations of single moms. Smart will play Jeannette, an erratic, stressed-out junior high principal who’s constantly in damage control mode. Multiple Emmy-winner Smart, repped by WME and Untitled, recently recurred on Hawaii Five-O and Harry’s Law.
Jean Smart, who had been pursued for multiple comedy pilots this season, is set to co-star opposite Portia de Rossi in ABC’s dueling sisters single-camera comedy pilot The Smart One. (Maybe the title spoke to her — it had her name written all over it, literally). The project, written by Don Todd, centers on a brilliant and successful woman (de Rossi) who has to go to work for her less brainy but more popular sister — a former beauty queen, weather girl … and now big-city mayor. Emmy winner Smart, who recurs on Harry’s Law, will play the sisters’ mother. Ellen DeGeneres, Todd and Lauren Corrao are executive producing for Warner Bros TV.
Emily Swallow and Sarayu Rao are the latest to board David E. Kelley’s TNT medical drama pilot Chelsea General. Based on CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s upcoming novel Monday Mornings, the project starring Alfred Molina and Ving Rhames follows the lives of five surgeons as they push the limits of their abilities and confront their personal and professional failings. Swallow will play Dr. Michelle Robidaux, a young resident at Chelsea General who is still learning the ropes. The actress, repped by Don Buchwald/Fortitude and Gallant Management, originally tested for another role in the pilot that went to Jennifer Finnigan, but the producers liked her a lot and invited her to test for Dr. Robidaux. Rao, repped by …
Mark Valley is reuniting with David E. Kelley. The former Boston Legal regular, who most recently starred on Fox’s action drama Human Target before it got the ax last season, has landed a series-regular role in Kelley’s Harry’s Law on NBC. The deal has just closed, and he’s scheduled to begin the new gig on the Warner Bros TV legal dramedy tomorrow; the Season 2 premiere is set for Sept. 21. He will play one of two new attorneys (joining fellow new castmember Karen Olivo) at the law firm run by Harriett “Harry” Korn (Kathy Bates). Christopher McDonald also recently joined the show as a regular; Alfred Molina and Jean Smart have signed on for early-season arcs. Valley, who happens to be a West Point grad and Gulf War veteran, recently wrapped Nu Image’s Medallion alongside Nicolas Cage. He’s repped by WME and manager Scott Melrose.
Jean Smart is set to star in NBC’s untitled Dan Goor pilot. The multicamera comedy, from BermanBraun, UMS and writer-exec producer Dan Goor, centers on Adam Foote, a young doctor who joins his parents’ medical practice and spends as much time tending to his family as to his patients. Smart will play Adam’s doting, meddlesome mom, Dr. Barbara Foote. Emmy winner Smart recurs on two CBS series this season, drama Hawaii Five-0 and comedy $#*! My Dad Says.
Gabrielle Union is set to co-star opposite Rob Corddry, Paula Marshall and Kevin Hart in Rob Thomas’ single-camera comedy pilot for Fox Little in Common. The WBTV-produced pilot is about three families united through their kids’ little league sports. It centers on the Wellers (Corddry, Marshall), who move from San Jose, CA to Austin, TX, but find that their adjustment won’t be quite that easy considering that their Latino neighbors, the Pachecos, have a radically different approach to child-rearing than they do, while their other new neighborhood acquaintances, the African American Burlesons (Hart, Union), take sports very seriously. Union’s Nicole Burleson is a lobbyist on the fast track to success who is every bit as competitive and intense as her husband.