Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Updates from "West Wing" Alums

Playbill reports on a play written by "West Wing" and future "Studio 60" writer Mark Goffman currently playing in Los Angeles, and starring Danica McKellar, who played Elsie Snuffin, until June 4:
"Kelly Overton, who made her Broadway debut in The Graduate, will replace Danica McKellar in Mark Goffman's romantic comedy Me Too in Los Angeles.

McKellar, the actress known for her turn as Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years," originated the role of Lucy in the work at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood. She leaves the production June 4 "for various new projects," according to a release. Overton takes over for the final three weeks of the run, from June 8-25.

Zeke Rettman directs the work by writer/producer Mark Goffman ("The West Wing," "Studio 60") which began May 20. David O. Sacks, Room 9 Entertainment and Garmar Ventures present the work with additional support from Broadway producer Barry Weissler and BWF Foundation
"Me Too is a story about how the curative properties of love, which have been documented in scientific journals, can be used as a therapy of sorts," according to Rettman. The story follows a woman who faces an illness while being pursued by a stubborn young romantic.
McKellar met writer Goffman on the set of "The West Wing" during her run as the recurring character Elsie Snuffin. This is the television scribe's first venture into theater.
Tickets to Me Too at The Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, CA are available by calling (323) 960-7745."

From the Los Angeles Daily News:
"It's been just a little over a week since Jimmy Smits became the first Latino president of the United States — as "The West Wing's" Matt Santos — when the much honored show closed out with him taking the Oath of Office. He's already sifting through independent film scripts and going to his office at Disney to take meetings about the ABC/Touchstone series for which he has a development deal.

He jokes that Santos had "the shortest administration in history" — but he's still savoring the experience. "I got a little misty-eyed when I saw it on the air, I have to admit," he says.

Don't think that the actor has political aspirations himself, however. "Matt Santos could be president — with a bunch of writers. I have to save the rage for the stage. The things politicians have to deal with on a daily basis, the forks in the road in terms of what they compromise hoping for a worthwhile outcome — it's not for me." Still, "There are certain issues I'm very committed to, like education," says the Cornell alumnus. And he cares passionately about Puerto Rico, where he has deep roots on his mother's side. Getting involved as narrator of pal Rosie Perez's highly personal documentary film on the Puerto Rican experience, "Yo Soy Boricua, Pa'que Tu lo sepas!" ("I'm Baricua, Just So You Know"), was a natural for him.

Director Perez puts herself and her lovable family members in Brooklyn upfront in the documentary, and, as Smits points out, "It throws you for a loop. You think you're going to go for this merry little ride." There is a merry ride aspect to "I'm Baricua," which debuts on the Independent Film Channel June 12 — but it also covers such matters as the forced sterilizations and birth control testing that went on in Puerto Rico, where the people are U.S. citizens who pay taxes and have faced the draft, but can't vote.

"I look at Rosie's footage of the New York tenements in the 1950s, and I see my family, my history," says Jimmy."

From Back Stage:
""ER" and "The West Wing" veteran Carol Flint has come on board as executive producer-showrunner of "Six Degrees," J.J. Abrams' new drama for ABC.
The title of the project refers to the popular six degrees of separation concept that claims anyone can be linked to any other person in the world though a chain of six people.
The show, from Touchstone TV and Abrams' Bad Robot, follows the intertwined stories of six strangers (Jay Hernandez, Bridget Moynahan, Hope Davis, Campbell Scott, Dorian Missick, Erika Christensen) in New York.
On the series, which will run in the Thursday 10 p.m. period after ABC's hit medical drama "Grey's Anatomy," Flint will serve as an executive producer alongside creators Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner, Abrams and Bryan Burk.
For many years, Flint worked closely with producer John Wells on such series as NBC's "ER" and "The West Wing" and ABC's "China Beach" and "The Court."
She shared a best drama series Emmy in 1996 as a member of the producing team of "ER."
Flint most recently served as an executive producer on CBS' promising midseason drama "The Unit."
With "Six Degrees," which will be filmed in New York, Flint is returning to her roots. She began her career as a playwright in the city before moving to Hollywood to work in television.
Flint is repped by CAA."

From the Hollywood Reporter:
""The West Wing" writer- producer Debora Cahn has inked an overall deal with Touchstone Television.
Under the two-year pact, Cahn will join "Grey's Anatomy," the studio's hit medical drama for ABC, as a supervising producer and will develop new series projects.
"We're very excited to have Debora join the team at 'Grey's Anatomy,' " Touchstone TV executive vp creative affairs Julia Franz said. "Her unique voice and passion for the series will be a great complement to our already stellar writing staff."
Cahn said she has been a fan of "Grey's" since the pilot.
"It's a thrill to be working on a series that I've enjoyed as a viewer and clearly speaks to so many people," she said. "The show's a great cocktail of drama and comedy (and) the characters are dynamic and relatable."
For Cahn, the prospect of tackling the characters on "Grey's" was as attractive as working with the people who have been shaping them.
"('Grey's" creator) Shonda Rhimes and (supervising producer) Krista Vernoff are incredibly bright, funny, talented women, and Touchstone's development group is fantastic," she said. "I'm really looking forward to working with all of them."
Cahn has worked on "West Wing" for four years, most recently as a producer. She has written more than a dozen episodes of the White House drama, including the seventh-season opener.
For writing "The Supremes" episode of "West Wing," she won a WGA Award in 2005.
Cahn is repped by CAA, manager Stephen Marks at Evolution and attorney Bruce Gellman."

From the Hollywood Reporter:
""The West Wing" executive producer Peter Noah has inked an overall deal with NBC Universal TV Studio.
Under the one-year pact, which has an option for a second, Noah will de-velop series projects for the studio. He also is poised to join the studio's drama project "Raines" as an executive producer if it is picked up to series.
NBC Uni TV Studio president Angela Bromstad first worked with Noah on "War Stories," a drama project about war correspondents he originally wrote as a spec before the events of Sept. 11.
"Peter is so ahead of the curve," she said. "He writes intelligent, sophisticated, complicated characters with humor, which is rare."
The NBC Studio/20th Century Fox TV-produced "War Stories" was picked up by NBC as a two-hour pilot starring Jeff Goldblum for fall 2002 consideration and ran as a two-hour movie during the 2002-03 season.
"I feel I owe a great amount to Angela, and I enjoy working with her enormously," Noah said of his decision to sign with NBC Uni TV.
As for "Raines," Noah said he was impressed by creator-executive producer Graham Yost's script and liked the prospect of working again with "War Stories" star Goldblum.
Noah is wrapping a three-year stint on the NBC/Warner Bros. TV White House drama "West Wing."
Noah, whose series credits also include the comedies "Ladies Man" and "Mr. Rhodes," is repped by CAA, manager David Greenblatt and attorney Eric Greenspan."

From Scripps Howard News Service:
"Much like a real White House staffer in an outgoing administration, actress Janel Moloney, who plays Donna Moss on the show, is looking for work. She's been put back in the acting pool, going out for auditions and meeting job contacts. "It's been interesting _ and humbling," she said."

Jimmy Smits will be master of ceremonies at the American Red Cross's 125th Anniversary Gala May 11th.

Broadwayworld reports that "Kristin Chenoweth--whose theatrical popularity has extended to TV and film--will perform a one-night-only concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on July 9th at 8 PM."

Kristin Chenoweth will also be featured on the "Ellen De Generes" musical episode.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Kristin Chenoweth will star as Danny Devito's wife in a new Christmas movie called "Deck the Halls":
"Kristin Chenoweth, who co-stars in the family comedy "RV," has signed on to play Danny DeVito's wife in "Deck the Halls."

The holiday comedy revolves around two neighbors in a small New England town who go to war when one of them decides to decorate his house with so many Christmas lights that it will be nearly visible from space. The neighborhood is turned upside down as the two families try to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Matthew Broderick also stars.

20th Century Fox will release the film November 22. Principal photography is set to begin May 29 in Vancouver. John Whitesell ("Big Momma's House 2") directs.

Chenoweth, a Broadway star-turned-film and TV actress, co-stars on "The West Wing." She next appears in "Stranger Than Fiction" opposite Will Ferrell and the ensemble drama "Running With Scissors.""

Kristin Chenoweth is performing at the Goodman Theatre Gala in Chicago on May 6th.

She is also part of a jury attempting to choose a canine mascot for "Old Navy".

From the Sioux City Journal:
"Meanwhile, there's a recording career to consider. Chenoweth did a CD of inspirational songs that has done well with Christian audiences. But, she cautions, don't look for her to win a slew of Dove awards.

"I'm a very controversial figure in the Christian world. I don't believe if you're gay or you have a drink or you dance you're going to hell. I don't think that's the kind of God we have. The Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of the world are scary. I want to be a Christian like Christ -- loving and accepting of other people."

Politics? Don't even get her started. When she was cast on "The West Wing," Chenoweth didn't even know some of the cities that had to roll off her tongue. "I thought Ramallah was a purse brand."

When her father watched the show, he called and said, "Kris, you sound pretty smart on the TV. I can't believe that's you."

"I'm learning a lot," she says.

As "West Wing" winds down, Chenoweth will segue into film and keep her options open for Broadway. There's a rumor she'll star in the Dolly Parton story, but a return to New York seems distant.

"There's still a dream of mine to be in 'My Fair Lady' but I don't want to be 'My Fair Lady' with just a little speck of dirt across my face. I want to make her homeless and gritty and really have a transformation. Yes, I'll always go back to the stage. I just don't know if I can do a long run because of the concert tours."

And "RV," the vehicle that could bridge the gaps? "It's a transition piece," she explains. "What I'd really love to do is a movie musical.""

From UPI:
"Tony Award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth says she hopes to return to Broadway in the musical adaptation of a classic Mel Brooks film.

While promoting her new big-screen family comedy, "R.V.," in New York Saturday, the star of the stage shows "Wicked" and "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," told reporters: "I promised to do 'Young Frankenstein' when Mel finishes with that."

As Brooks completes the new musical based on his beloved 1974 monster comedy, the actress said she is also considering playing Betty Boop in a new play, as well as starring in a Broadway revival of "The Apple Tree," which she did last year for a brief "Encore!" series run.

"I loved making 'R.V.,'" Chenoweth said, adding she also enjoys her recurring role on TV's "The West Wing." "I loved making the transition, but I will always come back to Broadway."

Joking that she is a "laugh whore," who lives for the "instant gratification" she gets from performing on stage, Chenoweth said: "There's nothing better than having that audience and creating something new or reviving something that's been done and putting your own spin on it and touching people in a live way.""

Kristin Chenoweth had to cancel her scheduled performance of the national anthem at the start of the Los Angeles Dodgers' season due to laryngitis.
From the Press Enterprise:
"Broadway singer Kristin Chenoweth backed out of her commitment to sing the national anthem due to laryngitis. She was replaced by Darius Rucker, the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish. The band gave a 30-minute performance in the outfield before the game."

Kristin Chenoweth has two stage projects lined up post "West Wing".
Playbill reports that a production of "The Apple Tree" is talks to move to Broadway:
"Malcolm Gets, who co-starred opposite Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth in the Encores! mounting, told Playbill.com columnist Michael Buckley, "Producers are ready to move [The Apple Tree] to Broadway. It was delayed because Kristin was on 'West Wing,' but now that's canceled. They're talking about how many players they need in the orchestra. We should be on Broadway in the fall or next spring."
Playbill also reports that Kristin Chenoweth is in talks to star in a production of Gilbert and Sullivans's "The Pirates of Penzance", to premiere in spring of 2007 at the New York City Opera.

In an interview with the Howard Scripps news service, she talks about some of her difficulties with succeeding in Hollywood:
"When "West Wing" actress Kristin Chenoweth met with a television producer recently about a dramatic part, she was taken aback by his assessment.
He looked at me really funny and said, 'you're really smart,'" she recalls with a laugh, "and I said, 'well, I am. I do have a master's degree. I'm not an idiot.'"
Despite garnering acclaim on Broadway, Chenoweth is finding life in Hollywood is far different than being on the Great White Way.
She has figured out that biology _ not geography _ is part of the problem.
The 36-year-old Chenoweth is a wisp of a woman. She's 4-foot-11, petite with glowing blonde hair and a tiny voice that squeaks when she talks. Such traits have worked for well in stage productions of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and most recently in "Wicked."
Such attributes have allowed her to nab comedy and musical roles, often as the dumb blonde. Her foray into series television was the short-lived 2001 NBC sitcom "Kristin," where she played a naove career woman.
When she decided to broaden her horizons by doing dramatic parts, she managed a meeting with the producers of "The West Wing." Even Chenoweth thought landing a part on that show was a long shot.
"I never thought I could possibly do anything like this," she says.
Here she is now, though, as plucky media consultant Annabeth Schott. Chenoweth says she's cutting her teeth in dramatic material and bringing some levity to the often seriousness of "The West Wing" (8 p.m., ET/PT, Sundays, NBC).
"This person is actually in charge and also very smart. It's a thrill for me to not play the dumb blonde, to actually be maybe the smartest person in the room sometimes," she says with a laugh.
"It's a real honor for me. Nobody really would have ever thought that I would do a show like this, but I'm so lucky."
Chenoweth is expanding her image as well.
Recently she was featured on the cover of the men's magazine FHM, wearing a bikini and posing provocatively. It was a very un-Chenoweth-like turn.
Born in Broken Arrow, Okla., amid picnics and listening to country music, Chenoweth grew up in singing in church and has, in recent years, recorded a spiritual CD. She graduated from Oklahoma City University and sang at the now-defunct theme park in Nashville called Opryland.
Moving to New York, she made her Broadway debut in the spring of 1997 in the Kander and Ebb musical "Steel Pier," for which she won a Theatre World award.
She followed it up with roles in "Strike Up the Band" and the Lincoln Center Theater production of "A New Brain." During the 1998-99 season, she created the role of Sally in the first Broadway production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." It earned her a Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards.
She has also recorded a CD of standards, cementing her sensibilities for entertainment from another era. "I feel like I am a throwback from a different time," she says.
It all seems to lead back to one thing for Chenoweth. She is a performer who wants to escape typecasting before it's too late.
"I don't think anyone should peg me as being just one kind of person," she says. "I try hard to do really good material no matter what it is. I hope I can prove that in my career."

The National Science Board is honoring Alan Alda with its 2006 Public Service Award:
"He gave us decades of laughs as the mischievous Hawkeye Pierce on M.A.S.H., introduced piercing political tension as the brusque, altruistic conservative senator Arnold Vinick on The West Wing, and enraptured us with inspiring performances on stage.

But Alan Alda is much more -- a versatile actor, writer, producer, director and communicator with an intense desire to research subjects thoroughly and be true to them.

Like a scientist, Alda's study of his subjects sometimes resembles an extended research project, such as his six-year quest to produce a play on the life of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, QED. It's a story of the complicated genius whose work developing the nuclear bomb and redefining principles of quantum mechanics never deterred him from studying what, to Feynman, was fun.

With Feynman's kind of passion for physics and the compelling, simple stories he told about his research, Alda has replicated the style as host of Scientific American Frontiers on PBS. Alda endears us to his own passion about pure discovery and his quest to understand the process of how scientists answer questions and create new ones simultaneously.

Today, the National Science Board honored Alda with its 2006 Public Service Award for bringing to his audiences the most complex work of the nation's top scientists and engineers, illuminating their findings with a respectful, uncomplicated approach that evokes excitement among viewers and comfort about the veracity of the scientific process. Alda will accept the honor May 9 at the Smithsonian's National Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C."

He has also joined the cast of a new movie directed by Rod Lurie, who also created "Commander in Chief", called "Resurrecting the Champ". Variety reports:
"Alan Alda has joined Josh Hartnett, Samuel L. Jackson, Kathryn Morris and Rachel Nichols in "Resurrecting the Champ," the Rod Lurie-directed drama that shoots in Canada in June.

The Yari Film Group arranged financing on the pic, produced by Bob Yari; Phoenix's Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer and Brad Fischer; and Marc Frydman.

Fact-based story concerns an L.A. Times reporter who wrote about a homeless man who was once a famed fighter, then found the pugilist wasn't who he claimed to be. By then, the journo and his subject had formed a father-son bond.

Alda was last seen on the bigscreen in "The Aviator.""

John Sacret Young, a one-time "West Wing" writer and producer, is involved in a new series for TNT, as reported by Multichannel:
"One-hour drama Generations, from executive producer Robert Redford and writer/executive producer John Sacret Young (The West Wing), cuts back and forth between three generations of a family that still reside under the same roof."
He has also contributed to an anthology of essays by screenwriters giving advicen to future producers and screenwriters.

The Associated Press reports that Marlee Matlin, who played Joey Lucas, is joining the cast of Showtime's "The L Word" as "a fiery artist who catches the attention of Jennifer Beals' character, Bette Porter."

The L.A. Daily news also recently had some news on Marlee Matlin's other future plans.

Multichannel News reports that Elisabeth Moss, who plays the youngest Bartlet daughter Zoey, is starring in a new TV pilot:
" AMC began filming an original one-hour pilot episode of Mad Men in New York Thursday.

Mad Men was created and written by Matthew Weiner, co-executive producer and writer of Home Box Office’s The Sopranos, and its cast includes Jon Hamm (We Were Soldiers), Elisabeth Moss (The West Wing), Vincent Kartheiser (Angel), John Slattery (K Street), January Jones (American Wedding) and Christina Hendricks (Kevin Hill).

The network said the drama will debut in 2007."

Variety describes the plot:
" AMC has ordered its first original drama pilot, "Mad Men," from "Sopranos" producer-scribe Matthew Weiner.

Period drama follows the personal and professional lives of New York advertising execs in the 1960s.

Weiner penned the script and exec produces. Alan Taylor ("Sopranos," "Lost") will direct the pilot to be produced by @radical.media. Production begins next month in New York City; casting is under way.

Cabler will greenlight production on at least three one-hour pilots this year with the aim of premiering its first pair of original dramas in 2007.

Weiner wrote "Mad Men" while he was on the writing staff of CBS comedy "Becker." Script found its way to David Chase, who hired Weiner on to "Sopranos" after reading it.

"Mad Men" follows thirtysomething Don Draper, creative director for the Sterling Cooper ad agency, which hawks everything from cigarettes to political candidates. Pilot episode centers on Don's fight to keep a major tobacco account from leaving the agency while juggling his increasingly complicated romantic life.

Weiner said he's interested in the two drives of men: "to be a great father and provider, and to drink, smoke and get laid as much as possible."

"In the '60s those two things converged. Don is a guy's guy of his time, a boy scout with a dark side," Weiner said. Project also delves into "the introduction of the pill and Valium. Women were coming into more choices than ever."

For AMC exec veep of programming, packaging and production Rob Sorcher, "Mad Men" fit right into the cabler's movie brand, "tying into movies like 'The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit' and 'The Apartment,' " he said.

"It's retro but contemporary at the same time," Sorcher continued.

AMC, which airs a mix of classic and contemporary movies, began its push into scripted skeins last year. Network came aboard to co-produce the BBC crime hour "Hustle" and greenlit "Broken Trail," a four-hour Western exec produced by and starring Robert Duvall for this summer.

Sorcher also recruited VP Christina Wayne to oversee scripted development and director Jeremy Elice to head up the cabler's efforts on the West Coast.

Weiner's other writing credits include "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" and "The Naked Truth."

From the futon critic:
"ANDY BARKER, P.I. (NBC) - Peter James Smith (Ed on "The West Wing") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about an accountant-turned-private detective (Andy Richter). He'll play Chang, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "20s-30. He is Lew's (Harve Presnell) Asian assistant, relegated to performing occasionally demeaning tasks. Chang doesn't seem to mind Lew's offhandedly racist remarks, but they disturb Andy." Amy Farrington, Marshall Manesh, Tony Hale and Ion Overman also star in the NBC Universal Television-based project, which comes from executive producers A.J. Morewitz, Conan O'Brien, David Kissinger, Jeff Ross and Jonathan Groff. Jason Ensler is directing from a script by O'Brien and Groff."

A press release announces that Adam Arkin, who played psychiatrist Stanley Keyworth, will be involved in TV movie for Lifetime:
"Kelli Williams ("The Practice"), Emmy® Award-winner Adam Arkin ("Hitch," "Chicago Hope") and Academy Award® and Emmy® nominee Amy Madigan ("Carnivale," "Twice in a Lifetime") star in the Lifetime Original Movie "Murder on Pleasant Drive," it was announced today by Trevor Walton, Senior Vice President, Lifetime Original Movies, Lifetime Entertainment Services. Based on a true story, the chilling drama centers on a woman's search for her missing mother. With the help of her aunt, together, they uncover evidence that points to her mother's new husband as the prime suspect in her disappearance. "Murder on Pleasant Drive" premieres Monday, May 8 at 9:00PM (ET/PT) on Lifetime Television.

"This is the story of two courageous women who devoted ten years of their lives tracking down the person they believed killed their beloved family member," said Walton. "Ultimately, it was their perseverance that brought this man to justice. Kelli Williams brings the perfect combination of integrity and valor to the role of a young woman determined to put her mother's murderer behind bars. The immensely talented Adam Arkin convincingly plays the man who, without remorse, robs a family of their loved one."

"Murder on Pleasant Drive" follows the story of Deanna Whelen (Williams), a single working mother, whose vivacious mother, Fran, marries a charming man she barely knows named John Smith (Arkin). Shortly after the newlyweds move to New Jersey, Fran mysteriously disappears. Deanna, determined to find her mother, enlists the help of her Aunt Sherrie (Madigan) and the two women repeatedly question John about Fran's disappearance. Although John's contradictory explanations raise their suspicions, the police tell them that without a body, there is no hard evidence of a crime. Ultimately, Deanna and Sherrie join forces with the police and uncover some disturbing facts about John, including the grim revelation that his first wife also suspiciously disappeared 25 years earlier. With this new discovery, the two women become convinced that John murdered Fran and decide they will stop at nothing to find out what happened to her.""

It was reported in December that "Weeds" starring Mary-Louise Parker has been renewed for a second season.

The Marquette University student newspaper has an interview with John Bobek, who was a minor guest star in the second episode of the current season.

Joyce Guy, who plays a White House press corps reporter, is participating in the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival:
"Friday, March 24 at 8 p.m. Program theme: “BLOODLINES.”

In “Slanted,” Andrea Lwin depicts a quirky Chinese-raised Muslim girl whose quest for social acceptance is thwarted by her immigrant mom.
Juliette Jeffers presents an excerpt from her acclaimed show “Batman and Robin in the Boogie Down.” On the tenth anniversary of her brother’s death, Juliette takes a poignant yet funny look back on their close relationship.
Stand-up comic Bernadette Balagtas riffs on her view of life as a Filipina-American.
Host: Michele LaMar Richards (“The Bodyguard”) and Joyce Guy (“The West Wing,” “Nobel’s Son,” choreographer for the current play “Beneath Riplling Water.”)."

the futon critic reports that Kathleen York, who plays Toby's wife Andi Wyatt, has a new TV project:
"A HOUSE DIVDED (ABC) - John Benjamin Hickey (Aaron Solomon on "Law & Order"), Kathleen York (Andrea Wyatt on "The West Wing") and newcomer Antonio Elias have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about the escalating conflict between a Midwest farming community and the U.S. government that sows the seeds of what will be the next civil war in present-day America. Hickey will play President Russell with York as Susan Russell and Elias as Sanchez in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which comes from creator Andrew David Chapman and director Michael Rymer. Alison Elliott, Bill Smitrovich, Dylan McDermott, Jason Wiles, Nestor Serrano, Sarah Clarke, Shannon Lucio and Tyress Allen also star in the project, which is executive produced by Chapman, Deborah Spera and Mark Gordon."

Kathleen York recently performed her Oscar-nominated song for "Crash" at the Academy Awards.

Harry Groener, who played agriculture sectary Roger Tribbey, is joining the Broadway cast of "Spamalot", according to Broadway World.

Reuters reports on a new project for Steven Eckhold, who played Bartlet son-in-law Doug Westin:
"Steven Eckholdt and Susan Walters have joined the cast of the CW's drama pilot "Split Decision," about a teenage girl (Jessy Schram) navigating the high school social scene."

Ruben Santiago Hudson, who played dommed presidential physician Morris Tolliver in the first season, is directing the play "Seven Guitars" at the Signature Theater in New York City this summer.

the futoncritic reports on a new TV project for Gary Cole, who plays Vice President Bob Russell:
"Company Town - Gary Cole (Lieutenant Conrad Rose on "Wanted") and Catherine Bell (Emily Patterson on "The Triangle") have both joined the cast of the drama pilot, about a suburban Washington, D.C., cul-de-sac that's home to government officials. Cole will play Martin Amberson in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based project, who's detailed in the casting notice as: "Early-Late 40's. A member of the CIA possibly working as a double agent, Martin Amberson is a lethally seasoned operative, first seen on a mission in the Ukraine. As a man who is as comfortable with a gun in his hand as he is with a child in his arms he must lead a double life and is forced to keep his work with the CIA distinctly separate and secert from his home life with wife Angie [Sherry Stringfield], son Kevin and daughter Ronni. One moment he is an attentive and loving dad at his son’s baseball game and the next he is a CIA operative put in the hot seat after an informant is killed during a supposed botched overseas operation.
Blair Underwood also stars in the hour, which Thomas Carter is directing from a script by creator Elwood Reid. Larry Sanitsky also serves as an executive producer."

Gary Cole's previous tv series "Wanted" on TNT was cancelled after 13 episodes. (links to some reviews here, here, and here).

Gary Cole also attend the Prism Awards, which" recognize the accurate depiction of drug, alcohol and tobacco use and addiction in film, television, music and comic book entertainment."

the futon critic also reports on a new project for Lee Garlington, who plays Toby's lawyer:
"SOUTHERN COMFORT (ABC) - Bruce Davison (Doug Hellman on "Close to Home") and Lee Garlington (Alana Waterman on "The West Wing") have been added to the cast of the comedy pilot, about a nerd-turned-billionaire (Johnny Lewis) who returns to his small hometown. Details on their respective characters weren't released. Gill Gayle and Shawn Hatosy also star in the 20th Century Fox Television-based half-hour, which Roger Kumble is directing from a script by creator Brad Copeland."

Clark Gregg, who played FBI Agent Mike Casper, is currently starring in CBS's "The New Adventures of Old Christine" with Julia Louis-Dreyfus from Seinfeld.

Jesse Bradford, who played intern Ryan Pierce in Season 5 has the main role in a new pilot, the futon critic reports:
"20 QUESTIONS (ABC) - Jesse Bradford (Ryan Pierce on "The West Wing"), William Lee Scott (TNT's "The Winning Season") and China Shavers (Olivia Evans on "ER") have all joined the cast of the drama pilot, about an idealistic young State Department employee who inadvertently stumbles onto a deadline conspiracy to undermine the United States. Bradford will play the lead role in the Touchstone Television-based hour, which Michael Engler is directing from a script by Thomas Hines. Scott and Shavers then will play Burnet and Angela respectively. The trio joins the previously cast Ben Shenkman. Matthew Gross and John Wirth also serve as executive producers."

Suzy Nakamura, who played Sam's assistant Cathy in Season 1, is involved in a new project according to the futon critic:
"HELP ME HELP YOU (ABC) - Suzy Nakamura (Tina on "Half & Half") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about a disparate group of people connected through therapy. It's understood she'll be playing Inger in the project, who's described in the casting notice as: "20s, Caucasian or Asian-American. Inger is a sweet-faced, nervous woman with acute social anxiety disorder. Inger spent five years in her room inventing a piece of software. Those years made her a lot of money, but kept her from having any kind of normal social life. She is in her 20s, rich and retired, ready to get out there, but manages to sabotage any romantic connections. However, thanks to Bill's boozy advice, she winds up actually connecting - both physically and emotionally - with her latest internet prospect." Ted Danson, Charlie Finn, Darlene Hunt and Jim Rash also star in the Regency Television-based half-hour, which comes from creators Jenni Konner and Ali Rushfield. Brian Dannelly directs."

Reuters reports on a new project for Jay Mohr, who played TV talk show host Taylor Reid in Season 5 :
"Jay Mohr is set to star in the NBC comedy pilot "Community Service," playing an arrogant New Yorker who goes to a small town in Ohio to get back a girl he lost. He doesn't get the girl but ends up trapped there doing community service."

Both "West Wing" Producer John Wells and sometime "West Wing" Director Paris Barclay are involved in a new project detailed by thefutoncritic:
"PRODIGY/BULL(NBC, New!) - Hank Perlman ("New Jersey Turnpikes") and Steve Elliott have scored a pilot order at the Peacock for a new single-camera comedy about a family whose genius son uses his smarts to get what he wants. The project is set up at John Wells's Warner Bros. Television-based banner with Wells, Paris Barclay ("The West Wing") and Jon Feldman ("Reunion") serving as executive producers. Perlman will also direct from a script he co-wrote with Elliott."

Steven Culp, who played Majority Leader Jeff Haffley, is starring in new pilot for ABC, the futon critic reports:
"TRAVELER (ABC) - Steven Culp ("The West Wing") is the latest addition to the drama pilot, about two friends (Matt Bomer, Logan Marshall-Green) who are framed as terrorists by someone they both thought was their friend (Aaron Stanford). No details were given about his character in the Warner Bros. Television/Jinks-Cohen Co.-based hour, which also stars Viola Davis. David Nutter is directing the project from a script by David Digilio with Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen also serving as executive producers."

the futon critic reports that Stockard Channing's show "Out of Practice" will return with a new airtime on March 22, now on Wednesdays at 8PM on CBS.

Reuters reports on a new project for Teri Polo, who plays Matt Santos' wife Helen:
"Teri Polo is set to topline CBS' comedy pilot "Welcome to the Jungle Gym."

The show centers on a talented, successful television journalist (Polo) who is having second thoughts about her decision to work part time so that she can stay at home with her toddler son and who confides in her two best friends.

Polo, who was pursued for several pilots this season, is said to have been attracted to "Jungle" because the project resembles her own life as a successful actress who juggles career and motherhood while raising her toddler son.

Polo, best known for her starring role in the "Meet the Parents" movies, has played a recurring role on NBC's "The West Wing" as presidential candidate Matthew Santos' wife, Helen."

the futon critic reports on a new project for Mark Feuerstein, who played Cliff Calley, for CBS:
"UNTITLED PETER OCKO PROJECT (CBS) - Mark Feuerstein ("The West Wing") is the first to be cast in the revamped drama pilot, about a rising-star brain surgeon (Feuerstein) who is doing a fellowship under the guidance of a brilliant but unpredictable surgeon. Feuerstein, who had a role in the original version of the pilot last season, will play Jonathan Singer in the CBS Paramount Network Television-based hour. The original casting notice described his character as follows: "30-34. Upper West Side New York over-achiever with a rare gift for neurosurgery. Jonathan has come through the long and intensely competitive training with his conscious and heart amazingly still intact. His greatest challenge is yet to come as he has landed the most sought after apprenticeship in the country and relocated with his wife and children to Brentwood to work alongside his mentor, Dr. Douglas Hanson. A man who's quite unused to the freeways and the beaches and the size of the homes on the Los Angeles west Side (dwarfing the living spaces of the New York West Side), Dr. Fowler is a fish out of water, unsure that this move will make him happy, a little homesick for New York, quietly fearful that his job will force him to chose between his family and success." Peter Ocko created the pilot and will executive produce along with Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana."

the futon critic reports that "West Wing" producer John Wells has a new project:
"SMITH (CBS, New!) - Uber-producer John Wells ("ER," "The West Wing") has booked a pilot order at the Eye for a new drama about the inner workings of a team of criminals. Ray Liotta ("ER"), Virginia Madsen ("Sideways"), Amy Smart ("Road Trip"), Franky G. ("Jonny Zero") and Jonny Lee Miller ("Aeon Flux") have already been cast in the project, which has a significant penalty attached if it isn't ordered to series. Liotta will play Bobby with Madsen as Hope, Smart as Annie, G. as Joe and Miller as an unspecified character. Full character details however weren't released. Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions are behind the hour, which "ER" veteran Christopher Chulack (who helmed Liotta's Emmy-winning "ER" guest spot) will direct from a script by Wells."

The same report has info on actor Taye Diggs, who played Special Agent Wesley Davis:
"DAY BREAK (ABC) - Taye Diggs ("Kevin Hill") is reportedly close to signing on for the lead role in the drama pilot, about an L.A.-based cop who's trying to stop the murder of a loved one while trying to find the person who framed him for murder. Rob Bowman ("The X-Files") is on board to direct the Touchstone Television/Gross Entertainment-based hour from a script by creator Paul Zbyszewski ("After the Sunset"). Zbyszewski and Matthew Gross are the executive producers."

John Amos, who played General Fitzwallace, will be performing his one-man play "Halleys Comet" in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

the futon critic
reports that "West Wing" Director Alex Graves is directing a pilot for ABC:
"NINE LIVES (ABC) - Scott Wolf ("Everwood") and Lourdes Benedicto ("N.Y.P.D. Blue") are both reportedly the latest additions to the drama pilot, about the lives of nine strangers who share a bond after experiencing a 52-hour hostage crisis that stems from a bank robbery that goes bad. No character specifics however were mentioned. Wolf's involvement is likely in second position to "Everwood" should it return next season as part of the new CW network. The pair joins the previously cast Chi McBride and Jessica Collins in the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, which comes from creators Hank Steinberg and K.J. Steinberg. Alex Graves is directing the pilot from a script by the Steinbergs."

Jon Robin Baitz, who wrote the 4th season episode "The Long Goodbye", is the writer for a new project from ABC:
"BROTHERS & SISTERS (ABC, New!) - Writer/producer Jon Robin Baitz ("The West Wing") has scored a pilot commitment from ABC and Touchstone Television for a new family soap opera set against a group of adult siblings. Baitz penned the pilot script while Ken Olin ("Alias") is attached to direct. Both will also serve as executive producers of the project, additional details of which weren't specified."

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