Pilot Projects Call Vets Back to Series

Feb 14, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Last week, as the networks gave the green light to a host of comedy pilot pickups, several TV veterans and one relative newcomer agreed to return to series television.

Thomas Cavanagh (“Ed”), Peri Gilpin (“Frasier”), Kyle Chandler (“Early Edition”), Kristin Davis (“Sex and the City”), Josh Brolin (“Mr. Sterling”), Lake Bell (“Boston Legal”) and Chris Noth (“Sex and the City,” “Law & Order”) are among the actors who made deals for TV projects last week.

Last Thursday Sony Pictures Television confirmed Mr. Cavanagh will star in the drama pilot “Love Monkey” for CBS, playing a record company executive who forms his own music label. Sony also announced Ms. Gilpin will star in the comedy pilot “Uncommon Sense” for NBC. Ms. Gilpin will play the wife of columnist Larry Miller, who wrote the pilot and will star as himself. Also on Thursday, 20th Century Fox Television tapped Mr. Brolin, who was last on the air as a series regular with NBC’s “Mr. Sterling,” to star in the drama pilot “Murder Book” for Fox. Mr. Chandler has been cast in NBCU TV’s comedy pilot “Lies and the Wives We Tell Them.”

Ms. Davis, best known to television audiences as the prim Charlotte on HBO’s “Sex and the City,” closed a deal with Touchstone Television last Monday to star in the one-hour pilot “Soccer Moms” for ABC. Ms. Davis will star as Brooke, one of two suburban housewives who team up as private investigators.

Ms. Bell, who most recently left ABC’s “Boston Legal,” was cast last Wednesday in the NBC Universal Television Studio pilot “Fathom” for NBC. The hour-long pilot, written by Jonas and Josh Pate, is a science-fiction thriller about mysterious sea creatures who turn out to be aliens.

Ms. Davis, Ms. Bell and Ms. Gilpin are not certain to appear on the fall 2005 network schedules, since their pilots have not been given series commitments. But Ms. Davis’ “Sex” co-star Chris Noth is set to return to NBC this fall after a 10-year hiatus, reprising his “Law & Order” character Det. Mike Logan on the spinoff “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” Mr. Noth, who played the Logan character from 1990 to 1995, did a guest appearance on “Criminal Intent” that was scheduled to air Feb. 13.

Mr. Noth will appear on 11 episodes of “L&O: Criminal Intent,” splitting the case load currently shouldered by Vincent D’Onofrio, who plays Det. Robert Goren. Mr. D’Onofrio, who has suffered from exhaustion this season, which necessitated a multiple-day production shutdown of the show, said in a press release he was pleased Mr. Noth was joining the series.

“My reduced workload will be very welcome,” Mr. D’Onofrio said in the Feb. 9 press release.

A number of networks marked last week with comedy pilot pickups. ABC greenlighted a half-dozen projects, including a Touchstone Television pilot from Barry Kemp starring Kevin Sorbo (“Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”) as a retired quarterback who mentors a rookie football player.

NBC picked up a project from Wolf Films written by Dave Flebotte that profiles an Italian family that runs a diner in a gentrifying Boston neighborhood.

Fox is going forward with “Pool Guys,” a pilot from Regency Television written by Jenni Konner and Ali Rushfeld about slacker pool cleaners.

The WB gave a green light to Liz Tuccillo’s untitled pilot from Warner Bros. Television and Class VI Productions profiling the lives of four adult sisters in New York.

“Friends” creator Marta Kauffman and former studio executive Steve Pearlman are executive producers.