Casting Notes: Desperate Housewife to Become Accused Housewife, Dreamgirl to Empire, and more

Continuing/Returning Series

Law & Order: SVUMarcia Cross (Desperate Housewives), Robert Vaughn (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Bullitt, The Magnificent Seven), Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Oscar-winner Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King) are all guest starring on the February 25 episode of the SVU branch of NBC’s venerable crime procedural franchise. Cross who is appearing on TV for the first time since Housewives ended in 2012 (a pilot Fatrick didn’t get picked up) will play a wife whose stepdaughters accuse her of sexually abusing their father. L&O nerds will recall that Mercedes Ruehl appeared twice on the original Law & Order as different characters in 2004 and 2009. (E!)

Empire. FOX’s smash hit music industry drama has signed on singers Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, American Idol) and Rita Ora (The Voice) to appear later this season. The network hasn’t specified their characters, but the rumor is that they’ll be playing themselves. (Wrap)

Devious Maids. Naya Rivera (Glee) is on board for a recurring role in Season 3 of the Lifetime soap as a maid who uncovers a dark secret while working for a perfect rich family. (TVLine)

Mistresses. Rob Mayes (John Dies at the End) will be a regular in the third season of ABC’s drama when it returns in summer. Per the source: “He will play Mark, a carefree guy who becomes part of April’s (Rochelle Aytes) unlikely family. He eventually winds up working with Harry (Brett Tucker), where a fabulous bromance begins.” Jesus Christ I wish people would stop using the word “bromance.” We can ban “romcom” and “dramedy” anytime now too. (Deadline)

Upcoming Series

Casual. Michaela Watkins (Trophy Wife) will star in Jason Reitman’s upcoming Hulu comedy as one half of a pair of dysfunctional siblings. She’s a divorced mom and her brother is a bachelor. They move in together with her teenager. (THR)

Pilot Casting

Billions. The Showtime drama pilot set in the financial world starring Damian Lewis has added Malin Akerman as Damian’s wife. Another female character defined by the role she plays in a man’s life. Welcome to 2015 ladies. Previously announced cast additions include Kerry Condon (Luck, The Walking Dead), Toby Leonard Moore (John Wick) and Paul Giamatti (Sideways). (TVLine)

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