Former Deception star Meagan Good is returning to NBC with a role in the network’s drama pilot Babylon Fields, from Michael Cuesta, Gerald Cuesta and Michael Atkinson. The 20th TV-produced project, originally developed and piloted at CBS seven years ago, is about a town’s residents coming back from the dead. Good, repped by Gersh, Untitled and Morris Yorn, will play Janine Beltran, a local doctor with an edge to her. She was recently seen in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
EXCLUSIVE: With filming set to begin soon in Atlanta, Paramount’s Anchorman: The Legend Continues is still quietly adding thesps to its growing roster. Deception‘s Meagan Good is the latest to join Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate, David Koechner, and new cast members Kristen Wiig and James Marsden in the comedy sequel. We hear the NBC primetime star is set to play Ron Burgundy’s boss in the pic, which hits theaters December 20. Good graced the big screen last year in the box office hit Think Like A Man and is repped by Gersh and Untitled.
Good’s not the only new face in the cast: Paradigm and Viking Entertainment client Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2 and 3) has also joined the pic, Paramount confirms. Adam McKay, who’s directing from a screenplay he wrote with Ferrell, revealed to Empire this week that the sequel will see Burgundy & Co. head to New York City. Meanwhile, speculation that Ferrell’s StepBrothers co-star John C. Reilly will also pop up in Anchorman 2 swirled this week following reports that the film was looking to hire Reilly lookalikes. (One explanation from the production, via a rep: “We were looking for a stand-in for lighting purposes who looks like John C. Reilly. We always demand that every stand-in looks like John C. Reilly”.)
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Given that a pair of its primary lead performers happen to be African American, it might seem logical to assume that the ethnicity of stars Meagan Good and Laz Alonso would be somehow interwoven into the storyline of the midseason NBC soap ensemble Deception (formerly Infamous) that premieres tomorrow night at 10. But this assumption would be wrong, as showrunner Liz Heldens stressed during an afternoon TCA panel. Good portrays a police detective investigating a possible homicide, while Alonso plays an FBI agent and her former flame. “I guess the way it all shook out, (the ethnicity of Good and Alonso) is a way of sort of dealing with race without actually having to talk about it,” Heldens said. “But it’s not something we really talk about too much in the writers room…I just think it is sort of there. I’m not sure what we could put in the characters’ mouths that would speak louder than the fact of what you’re looking at on-screen.” Heldens pointed out that there certainly was no specific intent to cast African Americans in the roles, but that when Good originally came in to read “she just walked in and owned it. It was fantastic.”
Last season there wasn’t a broadcast drama series with a black lead until Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal launched in the spring with Kerry Washington as the star. That series is coming back next season, joined by several new ones toplined by black actors. It’s a rarity on broadcast television, which has seen only a handful of dramas with black actors as the leads in the past decade. The list of newcomers includes ABC’s Last Resort starring Andre Braugher; Infamous, whose lead is played by Meagan Good; and the CW’s Cult starring Jessica Lucas. Additionally, Fox in keeping in midseason contention its legal drama pilot Guilty toplined by Cuba Gooding Jr. Surprisingly, among comedies, which have been far more welcoming to black actors than dramas with such long-running sitcoms as Cosby and My Wife And Kids, there is only one that features a black actor in a lead role: NBC’s Guys With Kids, where Anthony Anderson plays one of the three leads. (There is a new comedy series with a minority single lead, Fox’s The Mindy Project, created by and starring Indian American Mindy Kaling.)
EXCLUSIVE: In her first series regular gig, Meagan Good has been tapped as the lead of NBC’s drama pilot Notorious, from Universal TV and BermanBraun. Written by Liz Heldens, Notorious is described as an opulent soap in which detective Joanna Locasto (Good) returns undercover to the wealthy and troubled Lawson family she grew up in — as the housekeeper’s daughter — to solve the murder of celebutante Vivian Lawson, who was once her closest friend. Good, reppped by Gersh and Untitled, is doing a season-long arc on Showtime’s Californication and has movie Think Like A Man coming out April 20. It has been a strong season for diversity in casting the leads of drama pilots. In addition to Notorious, two other hourlong pilots, Fox’s Guilty and ABC’s Last Resort, are toplined by Black actors, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Andre Braugher, respectively. Additionally, Amber Stevens plays the lead in the CW’s Joey Dakota, Jessica Lucas is the star of the CW’s Cult, and ABC’s Devious Maids has four Latina actresses as its leads. Meanwhile, Kerry Washington is the star of ABC’s upcoming midseason drama series Scandal.