EXCLUSIVE: After one of the longest courtships in recent TV history, TNT is prepared to proceed with its Dallas reboot without original star Larry Hagman over salary issues. Hagman and fellow Dallas alums Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy were first approached by TNT and Warner Horizon TV about joining a potential updated Dallas series in late summer 2009 when the project was put in development. A year later, at the beginning of September this year, TNT ordered 3 pilots, including Dallas. The reboot, written and executive produced by Cane creator Cynthia Cidre, was described by the network as focusing “on the offspring of bitter rivals and brothers J.R. and Bobby Ewing, who clash over the future of the Ewing dynasty while the fate of Southfork itself weighs in the balance.” The subsequent breakdown for the pilot listed the characters of J.R.’s son, John Ross, and Bobby and Pam Ewing’s adopted son, Christopher, as the leads, while Duffy’s Bobby, Hagman’s J.R. and Gray’s Sue Ellen were down as supporting. TNT has since cast the other two pilots ordered at the same as Dallas, Perception and the untitled Allan Loeb project, as well as another one, Bird Dog, which it greenlighted almost 2 months later. But there has been virtually no movement on Dallas as TNT and Warner Horizon had been looking to lock in the original actors before casting the leads. While Gray and Duffy had …
That was quick: Eliza Dushku has pulled out of TNT’s drama pilot Bird Dog. I hear she exited the project over the weekend, several days after she closed a deal to star in the drama, a mystery fashioned around an unlikely partnership of a father-daughter cop duo.
Meanwhile, NYPD Blue and 24 alum Ricky Schroder has signed on to star opposite Molly Parker in the Lifetime pilot Meet Jane. The project, from Warner Horizon, centers on Jane Bilinski (Parker) whose stale life as an unhappily married mother of two daughters in the Washington, DC area is suddenly re-energized and empowered when the FBI enlists her to spy on her husband (Schroder), a computer technician the government suspects is selling top-secret information to Russia.
EXCLUSIVE: In his first TV gig since the end of ABC’s Ugly Betty, the series’ standout Michael Urie has joined another hourlong comedy, the TBS pilot Brain Trust. He is one of three actors who have landed lead roles opposite star D.B Sweeney, along with Jed Rees and Lindy Booth. Meanwhile, Wynn Everett, William Ragsdale and Suzy Nakamura have joined TNT’s drama pilot Bird Dog starring Eliza Dushku in supporting roles.
Brain Trust centers on disgraced police detective Billy Doyle (Sweeney) whose work is helped and hindered by a brilliant, strange and lovable trio of uber-geeks from a local think tank: Professor Nelson Kirby (Rees), Professor Franklin Gordon (Urie) and Professor Monica Ashton (Booth). Urie, who is set to star in Angels in America on Broadway for a five-week run early next year, is with Gersh and Seven Summits; Rees with Fortitude and Principal.
Bird Dog centers on Gail McGrath (Eliza Dushku), a police officer in a small town whose NYC cop father becomes her partner. Everett will play a journalist; Ragsdale, repped by Stone Manners Salners and Gilbertson Entertainment, will play a local deputy; Nakamura will play the local Medical Examiner and Chief of Staff of the local hospital.
EXCLUSIVE: Dollhouse star Eliza Dushku is returning to series television as the female lead in Mike Robe’s TNT drama pilot Bird Dog, while D.B. Sweeney has landed the lead in Dean Devlin’s hourlong TBS pilot Brain Trust.
Bird Dog is a mystery fashioned around an unlikely partnership of two cops who happen to be father and daughter. It centers on Gail McGrath (Dushku), who followed in her father’s footsteps in becoming a police officer but had little else in common with him. She left the big city she had grown up in to move to a small Pacific Northwestern town where she was patrolling the streets until her dad, a NYC cop, showed up on her front doorstep to join her as her new partner. Now this father-daughter team, call sign “Bird Dog,” is being put to the test — not only in solving crimes, but with each other. Robe wrote the script and is directing the pilot. Warner Horizon is producing. Buffy the Vampire Slayer alumna Dushku, repped by UTA and the Collective, recently guest starred in a highly-rated episode of The Big Bang Theory.
Brain Trust, written by Marco Schnabel, centers on Detective Billy Doyle (Sweeney), whose career and life have hit rock bottom after he accidentally ends his partner’s career. Doyle’s life gets turned around, however, when a recent murder case gets unexpected and unconventional help from three …
EXCLUSIVE: Meagen Fay has been tapped for the last lead role on ABC Family’s half-hour multicamera pilot The Great State of Georgia, while Blake Clark, Brett Rice, Bradford Anderson and Rhea Seehorn are set as the supporting cast of TNT’s untntitled Allan Loeb pilot.
The Great State of Georgia centers on Georgia (Raven Symone), an exuberant curvy performer from the south, and her science geek best friend Jo (Majandra Delfino) who try to make headway in New York City. Fay will play the flamboyantly effusive Aunt Honey, a Southern grande dame in a silk Open robe and fur-trimmed mules, who is Georgia and Jo’s landlady and a dear friend of Georgia’s late mother. Fay, repped by SMS and Main Title, recurs on Two and a Half Men as the mother to Charlie Sheen’s girlfriend and on How I Met Your Mother as Alyson Hannigan’s mother.
Based on Marshall Karp’s novel The Rabbit Factory, the Allan Loeb project centers on recently widowed police detective Mike Lomax (Steven Weber) and his newly married partner, Det. Terry Biggs (D.L. Hughley). Rice will play their boss. Clark will play Lomax’s father-in-law who serves as his surrogate father. Seehorn, repped by Phoenix Artists and Untitled, will play a hot and smart medical examiner. Anderson will play a top computer investigator working at the homicide offices.
Some 36 hours after he closed a deal to direct TNT’s untitled Allan Loeb pilot, Gregory Hoblit has exited the cop drama starring Steven Weber and D.L Hughley over a clash with creator-executive producer Loeb. Emmy winner Hoblit, who has directed the pilots for such series as L.A. Law and NYPD Blue, made the deal without meeting Loeb. I hear he then sent notes to Loeb, some of them subjective but most pertained to time/budget cuts and ways to whip the script into shape with 3 weeks left until production start date. Loeb was reportedly “insulted” by the notes, which he described as hypercritical and arrogant, and gave producing studio Lionsgate TV an ultimatum that “it’s either him or me”. The studio asked Hoblit to apologize to Loeb. Hoblit, against the advice of agents and lawyer, called the studio and resigned, forfeiting the six-figure directing fee he would’ve kept had he opted to get fired. Loeb has been very busy lately. In addition to his TNT pilot, he also recently did a polish on the pilot for Fox’s Terra Nova pilot and has several features in various stages of development and pre-production.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip co-stars Steven Weber and D.L. Hughley are reuniting on TNT. Weber and Hughley have been tapped as the two leads of TNT’s untitled pilot from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps writer Allan Loeb. In other TNT pilot casting, Arjay Smith has landed a lead role opposite Eric McCormack in the network’s drama Perception.
Based on Marshall Karp’s novel The Rabbit Factory, the Lionsgate TV-produced Allan Loeb project centers on recently widowed police Detective Mike Lomax (Weber) and his newly married partner, Terry Biggs (Hughley), who delve into a world of mystery, intrigue and occasional hijinks. Lomax, who continues to receive humorous and heartfelt weekly letters from his wife a year after her death, tries to navigate the singles world while also maintaining his pedigree as one of L.A.’s finest. Loeb wrote the pilot script and is executive producing with Steven Pearl. Ken Topolsky is co-executive producing. Weber, repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment, is already in business with TNT. He has a 3-episode arc on the network’s upcoming sci-fi series Fallen Skies. Hughley, who has an arc on TBS’ upcoming comedy series Glory Daze, is with ICM and 3 Arts.