How often does a TCA panel on a TV show includes a question to the star: “When did you first know that you were adorable?” That happened today during the session for Fox’s new comedy New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel as a dorky girl moving in with three guys. The indie darling was, well, adorable, in her responses, including blushing in dismissing the adorable label. “I don’t think I’ve ever read a role as good for myself,” she said of her part on the show. The producers talked about the casting change, with Lamorne Morris replacing co-star Damon Wayans Jr, who had to pull out after the pilot due to his commitment to ABC’s Happy Endings. Instead of making this a straight recasting, the producers decided to keep the pilot as is with Wayans Jr as one of Jess’ roommates and then have his character move out and introduce Morris in Episode 2 as a new roommate. “We were really happy with the pilot, the chemistry was where we wanted it,” executive producer Brett Baer said. “So we wanted to bring in a new character that would really bring a new energy to the show.” Added Jake Kasdan, director of the pilot and executive producer of the series, “We thought the overall dynamic was very rich and were looking to preserve that but tailoring to a different actor.”
Lamorne Morris has been cast in Fox’s New Girl, the Zooey Deschanel series that set to premiere Sept. 20. He will play Winston, a former athlete who is one of three roommates that takes in a fourth (Deschanel). … Callum Keith Rennie has been booked as a series regular on NBC’s midseason drama The Firm opposite Josh Lucas and Juliette Lewis. He will play Ray McDeere, the older brother to Mitch (Lucas). Rennie is repped by APA and Hodgson Management. … Richard T. Jones will recur on the upcoming season of CBS’ Hawaii 5-0. He is repped by Buchwald/Fortitude.
James Wolk (Lone Star) has been cast in a multi-episode arc on the second season of Showtime’s Shameless. He will play Adam, an investment executive who makes a connection with Fiona (Emmy Rossum). Wolk is repped by WME. … Teddy Sears (Raising the Bar) has been cast in Lifetime’s Drew Peterson movie alongside Rob Lowe, playing Peterson’s best friend. Sears, who is recurring on USA Network’s Necessary Roughness, will next be seen as a mysterious character on Torchwood. He is repped by APA and manager Sandy Erickson. … Mariana Klaveno has booked a recurring role on Showtime’s Dexter. She will play Carissa Morris, a professor at Florida University. Klaveno recently guest starred on CBS’ Hawaii Five-O and plays a vampire on HBO’s True Blood. She is repped by APA and Shelter Entertainment. … David Andrews has been set …
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.