EXCLUSIVE: Actor Jeff Hephner just got his big break, landing the lead role in NBC’s drama pilot Playboy. The project, from 20th TV, Imagine TV and writer-executive producer Chad Hodge, is set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. Hephner went through rigorous auditioning process, beating a number of better known actors for the role, the last major part in the pilot to get cast. And he certainly has the right last name for it that sounds exactly like the moniker of the king of the Playboy empire, Hugh Hefner.
Playboy centers on Nick Dalton (Hephner), described as “the ultimate playboy.” He is an attorney in Chicago and a Keyholder at the glamorous, exclusive Playboy Club. A fixer who knows how to make problems disappear, he has mysterious ties to the mob. The pilot, directed by Alan Taylor, co-stars Laura Benanti, Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Leah Renee, David Krumholtz and Wes Ramsey. Hephner, repped by Paradigm and the Group Entertainment, is recurring on CW’s Hellcats and has also done arcs on NBC’s Mercy and Fox’s The O.C.
ABC’s comedy comedy pilot has found the leads for its comedy pilot My Freakin’ Family: Ellen Woglom and Ravi Patel. Christopher Rich also has been cast in the project, which centers on two young parents, Anna (Woglom) and Raj (Patel), whose lives change after they have a baby and the four grandparents with very different cultural backgrounds descend upon their lives to fight for the soul of their grandchild. Rich will play Anna’s dad, an affable suburban cowboy. Harish Patel was previously cast as Raj’s dad. Ravi Patel, repped by TalentWorks and Seven Summits, played the lead in Fox’s comedy pilot Nevermind Nirvana last year.
Janet McTeer is set to co-star in the Fox drama pilot Weekends at Bellevue. Based on Dr. Julie Holland’s memoir, Bellevue centers on a psychiatrist in charge of the weekend shift of Bellevue Hospital psychiatric unit. McTeer, nominated for an Oscar in 2000 for Tumbleweeds, will play Diane, the head of psychiatry at Bellevue.
Zoe Lister-Jones has been cast in NBC’s untitled Whitney Cummings comedy pilot. The project, written by Cummings, centers on young couple Whitney (Cummings) and Alex (Chris D’Elia) who tackle the ups and downs of a committed relationship torn between their friends Lily (Lister-Jones) and Neal who think … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Now that’s a gig few male actors could pass up — playing the boss of a Playboy club. After a slew of castings of beautiful young actresses as Playboy bunnies, former Numbers star David Krumholtz is set for a co-starring role in NBC’s drama pilot Playboy. In the 20th/Imagine TV project, set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963, Krumholtz will play the club’s general manager, a young Albert Brooks and a bottom-line kind of guy, a bit of a nerd who now gets to play with the cool kids.
Additionally, Krumholtz, repped by CAA and the Collective, is developing Igotchaback, a half-hour single-camera comedy for FX based loosely on the lives of legendary rap artist and Wu Tang Clan founding member GZA and his publicist Heathcliff Berru. The project, which Krumholtz is executive producing with an eye to star, centers on an up-and-coming music industry manager tasked with representing an aging rap star mired knee-deep in existential crisis.
Last pilot season, Krumholtz starred in another 20th TV/Imagine pilot, Fox comedy Tax Man.
Eva Amurri (Californication) is set to star opposite Christine Lahti in CBS’ medical-family drama pilot The Doctor, written by Privileged creator Rina Mimoun and directed by David Nutter. The project, from Warner Bros. TV, centers on a mother (Lahti) who reconnects with her two adult children – son David and daughter Natasha (Amurri) when she joins the family medical practice.
Judy Marte, Tom Reed and Stark Sands have joined Leelee Sobieski in the CBS’ drama pilot Rookies, an ensemble cop show from writer Richard Price, which is executive produced by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. In the James Mangold-directed pilot, about six NYPD rookies who balance their personal lives with learning the beat on the streets of Manhattan, Marte, Reed, Sands and Sobieski play 4 of the rookies. Marte (Raising Victor Vargas) is with Greene & Assoc. and managers Eunice Lee & Tim Jordan.
Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Leah Renee have joined NBC’s drama pilot Playboy. In the 20th/Imagine TV project, set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963, the two will play bunnies. Dewan-Tatum, repped by ICM and Steve Caserta, recently wrapped feature Set Up.
NewsRadio alum Dave Foley has been cast in CBS’ comedy pilot, buddy comedy How to Be a Gentleman created and starring David Hornsby. Based on the book of the same … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Tony-winning actress Laura Benanti is set to star in NBC’s drama pilot Playboy. The project, from 20th TV/Imagine TV, is set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. Benanti will play Carol-Lynne, a 30-year-old bombshell and an established star at the Playboy Club who knows that her days as a Bunny are numbered. Benanti, who won a Tony for Gypsy, co-starred on ABC’s Eli Stone and FX’s Starved. She is with Innovative and Brookside Artist Management.
Nancy Lenehan (Worst Week) has been cast in CBS’ comedy pilot How To Be A Gentleman, written by and starring David Hornsby. It revolves around a magazine that has changed ownership. Lenehan, repped by Pakula/King & Assoc. and Meghan Schumacher Management, will play Hornsby’s WASPy overbearing mother.
Tara Summers is set to co-star in the CBS drama pilot Ringer. The project centers on troubled young woman Bridget (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who, while on the run from the mob, hides out by inhabiting the life of her rich twin sister, Siobhan, until she learns that her twin’s life has a bounty on it as well. Summers will play Siobnah’s best friend.
Kevin McNally has boarded ABC’s pilot Poe, a crime procedural following Edgar Allan Poe, the world’s very first detective, as he uses unconventional methods to investigate dark … Read More »
Amber Heard (Zombieland) and Naturi Naughton (Fame) are set as leads in the NBC drama pilot Playboy. The project, from 20th TV/Imagine TV, is set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. CAA-repped Heard, who had been in talks for the project, will play Maureen, a new hire at the club, originally an orphan from Fort Wayne, an inquisitive young woman with an untethered sexuality and a dark past. Naughton, repped by Innovative and Luber Roklin, will play Brenda, a stunning African-American Bunny determined to become the first black Playboy centerfold who is Maureen’s confidante and roommate in the Bunny Dormitory. Interestingly, she also played a 1960s Black Playboy bunny in the Hands and Knees episode of Mad Men last year. Alan Taylor, who directed the pilot for AMC’s Mad Men, is directing Playboy from a script by Chad Hodge.
Amber Heard (Zombieland) is in talks for a lead role on the NBC drama pilot Playboy. The project, from 20th TV/Imagine TV, is set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. Heard would play a new hire at the club, originally an orphan from Fort Wayne, an inquisitive young woman with an untethered sexuality and a dark past. Alan Taylor, who directed the pilot for AMC’s Mad Men, is directing Playboy from a script by Chad Hodge.
NBC has made its first drama pilot order this development season and it has gone to Playboy, a period drama about Playboy bunnies in the Chicago club in the 1960s. The project, set against the background of the political and moral changes in the 1960s, was written by Chad Hodge. 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV, which first took a stab at the concept last season with a different writer, are producing. Hodge is executive producing Playboy with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and and the company’s new TV chief Francie Calfo. This is the first pilot order this month as the New Year marks the beginning of the traditional pilot pickup season. The green light for Playboy comes before NBC’s new top programmer Bob Greenblatt has officially joined the network, something expected to happen later this month when the Comcast-NBCU gets government approval.