Fall 2011-12 casting roundup: Gellar, Sutherland, Allen, Bello and the Beek

Beth Wagner/PR Photos; Sylvain Gaboury/PR Photos; FilmMagic.com; Solarpix/PR Photos

Who says TV’s casting process can’t be as exciting as the hunt for film stars? Andrew Garfield may have comic book fans salivating over Marc Webb’s do-over of Spider-Man for Sony but the broadcast networks have been just as successful at drumming up interest in Wonder Woman (we’ll never tire of linking photos of Friday Night Lights’ looker Adrianne Palicki).

Many of the actors who’ve already booked pilots over the last two months may not even make the cut for fall, but the current crop of prospective fall stars has already upstaged most of the starpower in primetime this year. (Oh Undercover hotties Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, we hardly Googled ye.) Granted, high-profile reboots of classic TV shows like Charlie’s Angels and Prime Suspect have generated huge interest in this year’s pilot process. But several film stars also agreed to small-screen roles for fall 2011, which also ups the ante for the 2011-12 season. Now if only Ashley Judd (who’s in talks for an ABC pilot called Missing) would commit, as well as Christina Applegate, Greg Kinnear, Heather Locklear and Will Arnett — stars the networks are still circling.

  • Patrick Wilson (CBS; unnamed medical pilot about an ultra-competitive surgeon)
  • Christina Ricci — in talks (ABC, Pan Am, a drama pilot about stewardesses and pilots during the jet-set age)
  • Kiefer Sutherland (Fox’s Touch, a drama from Heroes’ Tim Kring about a dad whose autistic son can predict events before they happen)
  • Minnie Driver (CBS’ Hail Mary, about a suburban single mom who teams up with a street-smart hustler to solve crimes)
  • Kat Dennings (CBS’ Two Broke Girls, a multi-camera comedy about two girls without many resources who live in NYC)
  • Jason Isaacs (NBC’s REM, a procedural hybrid which follows the simultaneous and parallel lives of a detective who can not let go of any aspect of his fractured family after a horrible car accident)
  • Tim Allen (ABC’s untitled Jack Burditt family comedy pilot)
  • Maria Bello (NBC’s reboot of Prime Suspect)
  • Leelee Sobieski (CBS’ Rookies, about six NYPD rookies balance their personal lives with learning the beat on the streets of Manhattan)
  • Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor, Annie Ilonzeh (ABC’s reboot of Charlie’s Angels)
  • Adrianne Palicki (NBC’s reboot of Wonder Woman)
  • James Van Der Beek (ABC’s Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23, about a naive young woman who comes to New York City and ends up with a trouble-making party-girl roommate)
  • Laura Prepon (NBC’s Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea, inspired by Chelsea Handler’s best-selling memoir that will focus on the lives of a group of 20-somethings who live and work together with a very outspoken young woman)
  • Ioan Gruffudd (CBS’ Ringer, a drama about a troubled young woman who hides out by inhabiting the life of her wealthy twin sister, until she learns that her twin’s life has a bounty on it as well)
  • Rachel Bilson (CW’s Hart of Dixie, about a young New York City doctor who inherits a medical practice in a small Southern town inhabited by an eclectic and eccentric group of character)
  • Rob Riggle (CBS’ comedy Home Game, about a retired NFL player who returns home to his wife and daughters)
  • Zooey Deschanel (Fox’s Chicks, an ensemble comedy about the sexual politics of young men and women)
  • Amanda Peet (NBC’s Bent, a comedy about a recently divorced Type-A single mom who tries hard not to fall for the sexy surfer dude contractor she hires to re-do her kitchen)
  • Ethan Hawke (Fox’s Exit Strategy, about a leader of a team of experts who help the CIA with extractions)
  • Debra Messing (NBC musical drama Smash, which follows a cross-section of characters who come together for the exhilarating ride of putting on a Broadway musical)
  • Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust the Bitch)
  • Amber Heard (NBC’s Playboy, a drama set in the 1960s that takes a look at the lives of Playboy bunnies)
  • Rob Corddry (Fox’s Little in Common, a comedy about three families united through their kids’ little league sports)
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar (CBS’ Ringer)
  • Rob Schneider (CBS’ untitled comedy about a confirmed bachelor who has just married into a tight-knit Mexican-American family)

Comments (50 total) Add your comment
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  • swthompson

    I think I read ABC has Ashley Judd on board for Missing.

  • Tyler

    Ashley Judd is set to star in “Missing” – although isn’t that set for a summer launch? (If picked up, obviously)

    • DDB

      “Missing” was pushed to fall. Also, I think I read that it already had a 10 episode order.

      • zeezee

        I might just come back to network TV with the arrivals of Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, and Ioan Gruffudd!!! I cannot wait!

  • Joe

    Man, there’s some really good people in these pilots. Some of them just don’t sound that great (Amanda Peet, what are you thinking?!). There’s some really strong looking options, though. Hoping for Ringers and REM!

    • Dent

      Sounds like this decade’s version of Who’s The Boss…might work under right execution

    • Edwin

      Amanda Peet was in 2012… enough said LOL

  • Emma

    I thouht Rachel Bilson was headed back to TV for Josh Schwartz’s pilot about a woman who gets advice from ghosts? Now i see her in the lead for Heart of Diie. Whats up???

    • DDB

      NBC passed on that pilot.

    • Lee

      Rachel Bilson as a doctor? Good God…

      • Edwin

        Hart of Dixie sounds a lot like Ed and Royal Pains… Ive seen this premise before

    • Hallie

      I was looking everyehwre and this popped up like nothing!

  • reason

    Van Der Beek is a surprisingly capable funny man, check him out on funnyordie

    • soz

      I’m loving the show’s name. Awesome.

  • blerg

    Hail Mary sounds horrendous. I’m excited about Prime Suspect. Pan Am sounds like it could be cool, but obviously jumping on the Mad Men bandwagon.

    • Sideways Jack

      The premise for Minnie Driver’s show sounds like a lame SNL sketch…I’d rather watch Family Guy make fun of her giant head.

      • Edwin

        Sounds more like a Wayans movie lol

    • tomm

      ‘Hali Mary’ sounds like ‘Scarecrow and Mrs. King’ from the 80’s.

      • Jane

        And ‘Chuck’ is already a modification of ‘Scarecrow and Mrs. King’, so that’s been done

  • Mike

    WOW. That is a ridiculous list. That has to be some sort of a record for semi-big and big stars doing pilots. There are like 4-5 comedies that I would at least watch a couple times because of the lead actor/actress. And more than a few dramas as well. Part of me hopes a lot of these don’t get picked up, as I am not sure I have enough time in the week to watch them all!

  • bb

    The Debra Messing show sounds alot like that Julia Louis Drefuss show Watching Ellie which didn’t last very long cause it wasn’t really funny and not a good premise for a show But I loved The New Adventures of Old Christine I miss that show:(

  • Leah

    Am I the only one who noticed that Rookies from CBS sounds exactly the same as Rookie Blue from ABC?

    • My thought

      I thought Rookies sounded a lot like the Unusuals, too.

    • Ridonkulous

      I was wondering when someone would mention this. It’s seriously gonna have to be pretty snazzy if it’s gonna win over my heart more than the cast of Rookie Blue did.

  • AntonioSaucedo

    It’s about time Tim Allen comes back to TV. And I’m curious to see Ethan Hawke on TV.

  • ericalina

    i love patrick wilson! wish it wasn’t a medical show but still, i’d tune in to check him out.

  • sm

    I hope Kiefer’s show has more of a storyline than that.. it sounds like something random each week, rinse and repeat…

  • Paige Reader

    I love Kiefer Sutherland and am happy he is coming back on TV. Now, a little OT, what’s up with his photo? He looks like he’s had plastic surgery and lost too much weight! UGH!

  • Brett

    I think EW’s really the only place where people are “excited” about the “Wonder Woman” reboot. No one else gives this show a hope in hell of doing well, thanks to David E. Kelley’s ridiculous reworking of Wonder Woman as Ally McAmazon.

  • oink

    Ashley Judd, Minnie Driver on broadcast TV?
    Would like to see Bridget Fonda, Mira Sorvino and Marisa Tomei get their own series too.

    And maybe Heather Graham can take another crack at sitcom?

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