Casting (and potential casting) dominates the latest round of pilot-season news.
Maria Bello is seemingly always on the “actors in demand” list during pilot season, and this year is no different — or maybe it is. Bello (“A History of Violence,” “The Company Men”) says NBC has approached her about starring in its “Prime Suspect” remake. “There may be interest in me doing it, but I haven’t read anything yet or talked to anyone in-depth about it,” she says. “I’m possibly interested. Definitely nervous to even think about taking over for Helen Mirren. C’mon! How could anyone compete with her?” [EW]
Debra Messing is headed back to NBC to star in the drama pilot “Smash,” about the cast and crew of a Broadway musical. The “Will & Grace” Emmy winner will play the show’s lyricist. The pilot is based on an idea by Steven Spielberg, who’s executive producing; Theresa Rebeck (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) is writing it. [Deadline]
More casting news: Amanda Detmer (“What About Brian”) has joined ABC’s comedy “Man Up!”; “Lost” alum Ken Leung will star with Greg Grunberg in A&E’s dramedy “Big Mike”; Gretchen Egolf (“Journeyman”) has come aboard USA’s drama “Eden”; and “Twilight” actor Edi Gathegi has joined another USA pilot, “Wild Card.” [Deadline]
TV Land has ordered a pilot called “Happily Divorced” that will star Fran Drescher and is based on her life. The cast also includes Rita Moreno, John Michael Higgins (“Best in Show”), Tichina Arnold (“Everybody Hates Chris”), D.W. Moffett (“Friday Night Lights”), Valente Rodriguez (“George Lopez”) and Robert Walden (“Lou Grant”). [TV Land]
Sitcom actresses Lennon Parham (“Accidentally on Purpose”) and Jessica St. Clair (“Weeds,” “Worst Week”) are moving behind the camera with a comedy project at NBC. The duo wrote a script about a woman, her boyfriend who just moved in and her best friend, who also moves in following her divorce. The Peacock gave it a pilot presentation order. [Variety]