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Pilot Castings: ‘Lost’ Alum Henry Ian Cusick, ‘My Boys’ Co-Star Kyle Howard Get Leads

Nellie Andreeva

Lost veteran Henry Ian Cusick is returning to ABC with a lead role on the network’s untitled Shonda Rhimes pilot. Katie Lowes (CW’s Easy Money) has also joined the project, which revolves around the life and work of professional fixer Olivia Price (Kerry Washington) and her dysfunctional staff. Innovative-repped Cusick will play what is considered by some the male lead on the show, a handsome, intense and brilliant litigator who works for Olivia. Cusick started off as a recurring on Lost, landing a guest starring Emmy nomination for his role as former Scottish solder Desmond Hume, before getting promoted to regular in Season 3 of the island drama. Lowes, repped by Innovative and Sweeney Management, will play an ambitious and naive young lawyer recruited by Olivia to work for her. Lowes guest starred in this season’s opener of Rhimes’ Private Practice.

My Boys co-star Kyle Howard has been tapped as the male lead in the ABC multi-camera comedy pilot Smothered, from Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. The project centers on young couple Zack (Howard) and Gillian who find themselves smothered by their two very different sets of parents. Howard, who recently signed with UTA, played one of the leads in the pilot for NBC’s Perfect Couples but had to pull out after … Read More »

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Kerry Washington Set As The Lead In Shonda Rhimes’ ABC Pilot

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In her first regular TV series gig, Kerry Washington has signed on to topline Shonda Rhimes’ untitled drama pilot for ABC aka In Crisis. Actor-dancer-choreographer Columbus Short (Stomp the Yard) is set to co-star in the pilot based on the career of famous crisis management consultant Judy Smith. The pilot, from ABC Studios, revolves around the life and work of professional fixer Olivia Price (Washington) and her dysfunctional staff. Olivia Price is described as something of a legend, a formidable, driven, insightful, intuitive and fearless woman. Short will play a lawyer on her team.

From the get-go, Washington had been a front-runner for the lead, which was written African American, something very unusual for a network drama. The rest of the roles on the pilot are being cast colorblind,  which is also how Rhimes cast Grey’s Anatomy. CAA-repped Washington, known for such movies as Ray and The Last King of Scotland, recently co-starred in For Colored Girls. On TV, she recurred on Boston Legal and 100 Centre Street. Short, repped by CAA and Brillstein, recurred on NBC’s Aaron Sorkin drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

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Several Broadcast Pilots Book Directors

Nellie Andreeva

Alan Taylor, who won an Emmy for The Sopranos, has come on board to direct NBC’s drama pilot Playboy. The project, from 20th TV, Imagine TV and writer Chad Hodge, is set at a Chicago Playboy club in the 1960s. Taylor knows a thing or two about setting the tone and the style of a drama series set in the 1960s – he also directed the pilot for AMC’s Mad Men, which earned him an Emmy nomination. Taylor has directed a total of five episodes of the acclaimed cable period drama about Don Draper & Co.

David Nutter has committed to direct CBS’ medical-family drama The Doctor from Privileged creator Rina Mimoun. The Doctor was one of 3 Warner Bros. TV-produced pilots that Nutter was considering. His decision to go with The Doctor gives the medical drama an instant boost. Nutter is currently on a pretty remarkable streak of 16 consecutive pilots he has directed that have all gone to series.

British director Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin) has come on board to direct Shonda Rhimes’ ABC/ABC Studios drama pilot about a professional fixer. Also at ABC, Emmy winner Yves Simoneau, who directed the pilot for the networks’ V and serves as an executive producer on the series, has signed on to direct another ABC/ABC Studios pilot, Ed Bernero’s Partners, a police drama centered on two female police detectives who are … Read More »

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ABC Greenlights Shonda Rhimes Pilot About Crisis Management

By | Saturday December 18, 2010 @ 10:06am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: ABC has ordered its first pilot this development season, and fittingly, it is from the network’s most prolific writer-producer Shonda Rhimes. The untitled project, about the life and work of a professional fixer and her dysfunctional staff, is based on the career of famous PR guru and crisis management consultant Judy Smith. It was written by Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice creator Rhimes, her first pilot script since the two-hour May 2007 Grey’s Anatomy episode that served as backdoor pilot for spinoff Private Practice. It was a quick turnaround for the new project, which hails from ABC Studios and Rhimes’ studio-based Shondaland banner. ABC brass read Rhimes’ script on Thursday and 24 hours later, they greenlit it to pilot. The early order comes weeks before the traditional start of the broadcast networks’ pilot pickup season. ICM-repped Rhimes will executive produce with her Shondaland partner, UTA-repped Betsy Beers. Judy Smith will serve as a co-executive producer and a technical consultant.

UTA-repped Smith, a former White House press aide under President George H. W. Bush, has been involved in some of the most controversial cases of the past 20 years. She has guided and counseled Monica Lewinsky, Michael Vick and Senator Larry Craig and has worked on the Iran Contra investigation, the prosecution of former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry for drug possession, the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the Chandra Levy investigation and the Enron Congressional inquiry.

ICM-repped Rhimes … Read More »

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