LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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AWAKENING (The CW) - Meredith Hagner ("Lights Out") is set to star opposite Lucy Griffiths in the drama pilot, about two combative sisters who come of age amid the beginning of a zombie uprising. She'll play younger sister Jayce Lestrade ("high energy, eyes too bright, seldom knows anything about her"), who's far more comfortable with her zombie status than eldest Jenna (Griffiths). Her casting is in second position to the struggling FX drama. David Van Ancken is directing the Warner Bros. Television-based hour, from co-creators Bill Laurin and Glenn Davis.
COOPER & STONE (The CW) - Riley Smith ("Drive") has joined the cast of the drama pilot, about two female detectives - Angela Stone (yet to be cast) and Jenna Cooper (Alexandra Breckenridge) - in Chicago's Northside who specialize in pop culture knowledge and solving homicides. He's set as Danny Kovacs, a brash, hot-shot vice detective who went to the academy with Stone. John Dahl is helming the CBS Television Studios-based hour off a script by Laurie Arent.
FREE AGENTS (NBC) - Hank Azaria ("Huff") has been tapped to star in the comedy pilot, about "the attraction between two quirky PR executives working together who both are on the rebound - one from divorce, the other from the loss of a fiance." He'll play one of the pair, the divorced Alex, the casting of which lifts said contingency off its production. Universal Media Studios is behind the half-hour, which Todd Holland will direct from a script by John Enbom.
GRACE (ABC) - Sherri Saum ("Gossip Girl"), Chris Carmack ("The O.C.") and Robert Hoffman ("Step Up 2: The Streets") have all scored roles in the drama pilot, about Michael Grace (Eric Roberts), a famous choreographer whose womanizing ways have produced three daughters - Sarah (Abigail Spencer), a lawyer; Shay, a photographer; Eden (Anabelle Acosta), a teenager - all with different mothers. Saum will play middle child Shay ("beautiful, bright, talented and irreverent"), an artist, making a meager living as a photographer in Venice Beach. Carmack then is set as Dylan Doran ("a sexy man-child"), Shay's on-and-off musician boyfriend, who's also the father of her 14-year-old son, Joseph. And Hoffman is believed to be playing Javier DeRenzio ("a rippling wall of hotness"), a dancer who creates some sparks with the married Sarah. ABC Studios is behind the hour, from director Lesli Linka Glatter and writer Krista Vernoff.
HAIL MARY (CBS) - Brandon T. Jackson ("Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son") is set to star opposite Minnie Driver in the drama pilot, about Mary Beth Baker (Driver), a suburban single mom in Atlanta who opts to become a private investigator following her son's murder. He'll play KZ, her late son's best friend ("a small-time con artist with a quick wit and a fast mouth"), whom she takes on as a partner. Enrique Murciano and Stephen Tobolowsky also star in the Warner Bros. Television-based project, from writer Jeff Wadlow and director Brad Silberling.
HART OF DIXIE (The CW) - Nancy Travis ("The Bill Engvall Show") has booked a role on the drama pilot, about Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), a young big-city doctor who inherits a medical practice in an oddball southern town. She'll potentially recur as Emmeline Hattenbarger (a.k.a. "Mrs. H"), a no-nonsense nurse that befriends Zoe. Jaime King and Wilson Bethel also star in the project, from Warner Bros. Television. Jason Ensler is directing from a script by Leila Gerstein.
HOGOBLIN (HBO, New!) - Michael Chabon ("Wonder Boys") and Ayelet Waidman ("Bad Mother") are reportedly set to team for a potential drama at the pay channel about "a group of con men and magicians who battle Hitler and the Nazis during WWII." No other specifics or auspices were given.
HOMEGROWN (CBS) - Shane McRae ("Four Kings") is the latest addition to the comedy pilot, about Joe Reilly, "a blue-collar guy who wrestles with how to parent his unmarried grown daughter, Eileen (Becki Newton), and her 12-year-old son, Jimmy, while sharing a house with them as well as his wife, Barb, and recently widowed mother." He'll play Gabe, Jimmy's father, a handsome firefighter. Jackie and Jeff Filgo are behind the half-hour, to be directed by Andy Ackerman for Warner Bros. Television.
MAGIE EYE (NBC, New!) - Tony Oller and Chris Tavarez are set to star in Walmart and Procter & Gamble's latest co-production, about Tyler McFarland (Oller), "the captain of the high school football team who is expected to lead his school to victory but must make the difficult decision to tell the coach about teammates Nick and Alex (Tavarez) bullying a mysterious new kid in school, Cory." Said title refers to a camera with magical properties that Tyler's little sister discovers which may hold the key to Cory's past. Gregg Champion will direct the telefilm from a script by Wesley Bishop while David A. Rosemont, Brian Wells and Jeff Grant are executive producing. Production is set to begin this week for an expected June 11 premiere on the Peacock.
MY FRICKIN' FAMILY (ABC) - Mo Gaffney has scored a role on the comedy pilot, about Anna (Ellen Woglom) and Raj (Ravi Patel), a couple with a new baby and the culture clashes between its four very different grandparents. She's on board as Maureen, Anna's mother, "a margarita-loving Baptist travel agent who has never been east of the Mississippi." Christopher Rich and Harish Patel also star in the project, from ABC Studios and creator Erica Rivinoja. Tristram Shapeero is directing.
REVENGE (ABC) - Former "Brothers & Sisters" co-star Emily VanCamp has been tapped for the lead role on the drama pilot, about a mysterious young woman who comes to the Hamptons to exact revenge on the people who destroyed her family. She'll play Emily Thorne ("a brown-eyed, auburn haired beauty"), said woman, in the ABC Studios-based hour. Phillip Noyce is directing from a script by Mike Kelley while Ashley Madekwe also stars.
SMOTHERED (ABC) - Marcia Gay Harden and John C. McGinley are set and Adam Arkin is in talks to join the cast of the comedy pilot, about a young couple - Zach (Kyle Howard) and Gillian (yet to be cast) with a one-year-old daughter who find themselves smothered by their two very different sets of parents - his are pretentious and disengaged while hers are scrappy and exuberant. Harden and Arkin would play Zack's folks, Fran ("early sixties, pretentious") and Alan ("mid-sixties, dry, disengaged"); with McGinley and the previously cast Julie White as Gillian's, Skip ("mid-fifties, exuberant") and Patty ("early fifties, scrappy"). Andy Ackerman is directing the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which comes from co-creators Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen.
UNTITLED DAN GOOR PROJECT (NBC) - Andrew J. West ("Greek") has scored the lead role on the comedy pilot, about a young doctor who spends as much time taking care of his parents as he does his patients. He'll play the man in question, Adam Foote, in the half-hour, which also stars Jean Smart. Dan Goor penned the project for Universal Media Studios.
UNTITLED PETER KNIGHT PROJECT (CBS) - Larry Wilmore ("The Daily Show With Jon Stewart") is the first to be cast in the comedy pilot, about a group of assistants and junior executives as they juggle love, friendship, and the corporate ladder. He'll play Julian, a managing partner at the show's venture capital firm. Peter Knight penned the half-hour for Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television Studios. Neil Patrick Harris is directing.