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Primetime Pilot Panic: Screenings Updates

Nellie Andreeva

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. … Read More »

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Pilot Rarity: Laura Allen Promoted To Female Lead On NBC’s ‘REM’

By | Monday March 21, 2011 @ 7:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

A week ago, Terriers co-star Laura Allen got good news when she was cast in a supporting role on NBC’s drama pilot REM. Today, which happens to be her birthday, she got even better news – in a pilot rarity, she was bumped up to female lead of the project opposite Jason Isaacs. Meanwhile, Law & Order: SVU alumna Michaela McManus, who tested opposite Allen for the supporting role of Tara, has now been cast in that role.

REM, from creator/executive producer Kyle Killen and 20th TV, is described as an Inception-style thriller and centers on Detective Michael Britten (Isaacs), who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities, one in which he has killed his son Rex (Dylan Minnette) and one in which he has killed his wife Hannah (Allen) in a car accident. McManus will play Rex’s tennis coach, who has become his confidante in the wake of the recent loss of his mother.

Trying out Allen for the Hannah role was an idea of former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon, who serves as exec producer/showrunner on the REM pilot. After what was described as a “terrific read” with Isaacs this afternoon, Allen landed the part. The cast of the pilot, directed/exec produced by David Slade, is now complete. It includes Isaacs, Allen, Cherry Jones, Steve Harris, Wilmer Valderrama, Minnette and … Read More »

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Cherry Jones Joins NBC’s Pilot ‘REM’, Natasha Henstridge Cast in ‘Secret Circle’

By | Monday March 21, 2011 @ 3:33pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Cherry Jones, who won an Emmy for her role on Fox’s 24, is reuniting with the show’s showrunner Howard Gordon and studio 20th Century Fox TV. Jones is set to co-star opposite Jason Isaacs in NBC’s drama pilot REM, from creator/exec producer Kyle Killen and 20th TV. The project, described as an Inception-style thriller, centers on Detective Michael Britten (Isaacs), who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities, one in which he has killed his son Rex and one in which he has killed his wife Hannah in a car accident. Jones will play Dr. Stephanie Evans, Michael’s shrink in the reality in which his wife has been killed. Gordon, who cast Jones in her Emmy-winning role as President Alison Taylor on 24, serves as executive producer/showrunner on REM. David Slade is directing/exec producing.

Natasha Henstridge has joined Kevin Williamson’s drama pilot for the CW The Secret Circle. It centers on Cassie (Britt Robertson). who moves to a new town and discovers that not only is she a witch and part of a secret coven, but she’s also the key that will unlock a centuries-old battle of good versus evil. Henstridge will play Dawn Chamberlain, Vice Principal of New Salem High School, who was once a friend of Cassie’s  mother and knows all about the secret coven of witches that has ruled the … Read More »

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Five Actors Cast In Kyle Killen’s ‘REM’ Pilot

By | Monday March 14, 2011 @ 3:04pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

That ’70s Show alum Wilmer Valderrama, The Practice veteran Steve Harris and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit co-star BD Wong have been cast opposite Jason Isaacs in NBC’s drama pilot REM, from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen and 20th Century Fox TV. Also cast in the project, described as an Inception-style thriller, are Laura Allen (Terriers) and teen Dylan Minnette. REM centers on Detective Mark Britten (Isaacs), who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities, one in which he has killed his son Rex (Minnette) and one in which he has killed his wife Hannah. Valderrama will play Detective Richard Vega, Britten’s gregarious new partner in one reality, while Harris will play a seasoned, cynical, wry-humored police detective who’s Britten’s partner in the other reality. Wong will play Britten’s therapist in the reality where he has killed his son. Allen will play Rex’s tennis coach, who has become his confidante in the wake of the recent loss of his mother. Valderrama’s casting stems from his talent deal with 20th TV.

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Jason Isaacs To Star In NBC Pilot ‘REM’

By | Sunday February 20, 2011 @ 3:42pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: One of the hottest actors this pilot season, Jason Isaacs, is off the market. After fielding more than half-dozen offers, Isaacs has settled on the lead role in NBC’s drama pilot REM, from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen and 20th Century Fox TV.  In addition to starring, Isaacs will serve as producer on the project, described as an Inception-style thriller. It centers on a cop (Isaacs) who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities. The casting of Isaacs lifts the contingency on the pilot, exec produced/run by  former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon. 20th TV-based Tim Minear serves as a consulting producer.

REM brings Brit Isaacs back to 20th TV where he starred in the drama pilot for Fox Pleading Guilty last season. Additionally, he developing and producing a drama project at 20th TV’s cable division Fox 21. Safe, set up at FX, is being written by Chris Gerolmo.

Brotherhood star Isaacs had been in demand since the Showtime drama ended in 2008. He was first pursued in the 2009 pilot season but was unavailable because of commitments to the Harry Potter movies, in which he plays Lucius Malfoy. Last pilot season, he received eight offers and went with Pleading Guilty. Isaacs, repped by Gersh, the Collective, U.K.’s Independent Talent and attorney Karl Austen, will next be seen in the final Harry Potter movie and the Taylor Lautner starrer Abduction.

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