In a little bit of casting news today, two high profile projects announced the additions of Oscar-winning actresses to their cast roster. In HBO’s adaption of the Tony award-winning play All the Way, Melissa Leo (The FighterWayward Pines) will join Emmy and Tony winner Bryan Cranston’s LBJ as Lady Bird Johnson. On a purely physical basis, this is note-perfect casting, and no doubt Leo is well up to the challenge of meeting the sure-to-be-Emmy-nominated work from Cranston.

FOX’s Empire will add Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) in a recurring role for Season Two. Her character will be Mimi Whiteman (oh-so-subtle, Empire), a venture capitalist entangled with the Lyon family. She is described by Deadline as “a lover of hip hop music, social trends, high-end fashion and beautiful women.” I’m on board with everything but the name. That has to be a joke, right?

All the Way doesn’t have a specific air date but will likely air in Spring 2016. Empire Season Two kicks off September 23, three days after the 2015 Emmy Awards.

Showtime’s critically acclaimed drama The Affair is making two major cast additions for its second season, set to premiere in Fall 2015.

Richard Schiff (The Gambler) will play Jon Gottlief, the long-time family attorney of Helen Solloway’s (Maura Tierney) father. In addition, Schiff will appear in HBO’s upcoming Ballers and Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer series. Joanna Gleason (The West WingNewsroom) will play Yvonne, a high-profile publisher connected to Noah Solloway (Dominic West).

The Affair won Best Drama and Best Dramatic Actress (Ruth Wilson) in January’s Golden Globes ceremony.

The Hollywood Reporter has published six photos of the major players in Ryan Murphy’s upcoming 2016 FX limited series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. Among those pictured are Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, and Billy Magnussen as Kato Kaelin. 

The pictures range from the inspried (Magnussen looks like Kaelin’s long-lost brother) to the mild (Gooding’s performance is going to have to do a lot of work) to the creepy (just… Travolta).






Yeah, so, before you ask… It’s not a leftover April Fool’s joke.

According to an exclusive originally reported by The Hollywood Reporter, former Saturday Night Live comics Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig have already filmed a complete Lifetime TV movie called A Deadly Adoption. Assuming this is real, the satiric telepic will air on the network in early summer.

The film seems to be a dramatic thriller about a wealthy couple who bring a pregnant woman into their house in hopes of adopting her baby. Undoubtedly, the film will dance the line between satirizing the Lifetime telepic genre and being a Lifetime telepic. Lifetime will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year of producing such melodramatic teledramas as Liz & Dick, the African-American Steel Magnolias, and Why I Wore Lipstick To My Mastectomy.

It’s not a completely out of left field choice for Wiig as she starred in IFC’s The Spoils of Babylon last year and received an Emmy nomination for her participation with a follow-up due later this year. Ferrell had an extended cameo in that mini-series as an Orson Welles-like writer. Spoils writer Andrew Steele penned the Deadly script.

I’m a little concerned that this is being touted as a more legitimate, heartfelt attempt at a Lifetime TV movie rather than the skewering I so desperately want it to be. Spoils felt like a step in the right direction by satirizing decade-spanning mini-series like The Thorn Birds but quickly wore out its welcome mostly due to an annoying performance by Tobey Maguire. Deadly, however, boasts a higher wattage, comically gifted main cast.

That is, unless I’ve fallen for a massive April Fool’s joke. And, if that’s the case, then screw you, Hollywood Reporter.

Update: According to Entertainment Weekly, Ferrell and Wiig have cancelled this mysterious Lifetime project, furthering the speculation that it was indeed an April Fool’s joke all along. Other sources claim the film is completely made. Who knows?

Here is Ferrell’s statement as relayed to Entertainment Weekly: “We are deeply disappointed that our planned top secret project was made public. Kristen and I have decided it is in the best interest for everyone to forego the project entirely, and we thank Lifetime and all the people who were ready to help us make this film.”

No Jason Jones. No Samantha Bee. Hell, no Tina Fey (who some have advocated for the position).

The new Daily Show host to succeed Jon Stewart will be Trevor Noah, who’s only appeared on the program three times. In fact, the 31-year-old South African comedian only made his first appearance on the show in December.

Noah has also appeared on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show and Late Show with David Letterman, the latter of which was the first appearance by a South African comedian on the show. While Noah may not be a household name in the States, he has a huge international fan base.

Once Noah takes over, Comedy Central will hold a distinction of having a late-night block of comedians of color with Noah on The Daily Show and Larry Wilmore on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

There’s still no exact end date for Jon Stewart’s run, but Trevor Noah will presumably start as host sometime in 2015.

According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Jessica Lange announced at last night’s American Horror Story PaleyFest 2015 panel that she will not return for a fifth season of the Emmy award-winning horror anthology series. No doubt fans of the series are clawing out their eyes, slitting wrists, and sacrificing small animals in hopes it wasn’t true.

Instead, Ryan Murphy’s fifth season – American Horror Story: Hotel – will feature pop superstar Lady Gaga in the lead role supported by Kathy Bates and recent announcements Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart) and Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock). It is speculated that Murphy’s reliable stable of actors will be greatly reduced in the upcoming season as many have taken other roles in the prolific producer’s upcoming projects. Emmy nominee Sarah Paulson will play prosector Marcia Clark in American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, and Emma Roberts has signed on to FOX’s Scream Queens.

Short on details, Hotel will reportedly take place in a haunted hotel (duh) and will premiere in the traditional October start for the series.

UPDATE: Ryan Murphy announced today via Twitter that Wes Bentley (American Beauty) has signed up for Hotel. Bentley had an extended cameo in the Freak Show season.

Making huge splashes in TV news today was Lady Gaga, fresh from her triumphant performance of a Sound of Music melody at last Sunday’s Oscars, who announced via Twitter that she will be starring in the fifth season of Ryan Murphy’s FX horror anthology series American Horror Story. It was also revealed that the subtitle for the season will be AHS:Hotel.

The news is somewhat of a coup for Murphy as he is rumored to lose star Jessica Lange in the upcoming outing, although that information has not been publicly confirmed. He is undoubtedly hoping also that major additions to the cast such as Gaga will counter the recent drop in ratings for its fourth season. American Horror Story: Freak Show was down roughly 4 percent in overall viewers but was down a concerning 12 percent in the much-coveted 18-49 demo. The show’s season finale finished with roughly half the viewers as its season premiere.

No other details about AHS: Hotel have been released aside from Gaga’s casting and the subtitle. The season should kick off in the traditional AHS window of early-to-mid October 2015.


Continuing/Returning Series

Scandal. Lena Dunham will guest star in March on the ABC show she’s so famously obsessed with. No details as of this writing. (TheWrap)

Orange is the New Black. The TV gods smile upon as all. Season 3 of the Netflix drama comedy will have 100% less of Jason Biggs’ “Larry.” I feel like I’ve just had a wart removed. (TVGuide)

Halt and Catch Fire. The AMC drama set in the 1980s PC industry has cast Aleksa Palladino (Boardwalk Empire) and Mark O’Brien (The Republic of Doyle) as a series regular and recurring character respectively. She’ll play a journalist and old college flame who reconnects with Joe (Lee Pace). He’ll play an IT guy. (Variety)

How to Get Away with Murder. Tom Everett Scott (Beauty and the Beast) will guest star in the season finale of ABC’s freshman hit thriller starring Viola Davis. He’ll play a priest accused of… wait for it… MUHDAH! (TVLine)

Crossing Lines. Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, Gia) and Goran Visnjic (ER, Extant) will replace William Fichtner in Season 3 of the Euro-thriller which currently airs in North America on Canada’s CBC. (Deadline)

Upcoming Series

Supergirl. CBS‘ foray into super hero territory has cast Laura Benanti (Nashville) as Kara’s birth mother Alura Zor-El. (TVLine)

Maigret movies. Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean, Black Adder) has been cast as Georges Simenon’s detective Jules Maigret in a planned series of TV movies from ITV sure to turn up here in the states on PBS’ Masterpiece Theater. (THR)

The Late Late Show with James Corden. The Craig Ferguson replacement’s first guest on March 23 will be Tom Hanks. (THR)

Telenovela. Eva Longoria’s 13-episode NBC drama has added semi-pro footballer Jose Moreno Brooks (One Bad Choice) as a series regular. Gooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaallll!!!! (Deadline)

Damien. Lifetime’s TV sequel to the 1976 horror fick, The Omen, has cast Omid Abtahi (Those Who Kill) as a series regular, the besty of the now-adult titular demon spawn. (Deadline)

Guardians of the Galaxy. Disney XD’s animated adaptation of Marvel’s live action theatrical smash hit keeps adding voice cast. This time it’s James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels) as Yondu, leader of The Smugglers, and as Cosmo, the psychic Russian space dog. (THR)

Pilots (by star)

Morris Chestnut. The Best Man Holiday star has grabbed the series lead as a pathologist in FOX’s untitled drama pilot described as a close-ended procedural. (Deadline)

Stacey Farber (Degrassi: The Next Generation) will star in NBC’s comedy pilot Take it From Us, a love story told in flashback to New York in the 1990s. (Deadline)

Hal Ozsan (The Blacklist) and Johnny Ward (Love/Hate) will be series regulars in Lifetime’s pilot drama The Clan of the Cave Bear based on the novels by Jean M. Auel. Ozsan will play the clan leader and Ward will play his son. (Deadline)

Camille Gauty. The Scorpion star has landed a series regular gig in the one-hour ABC comedy/drama pilot Mix which tells the multi-generational, multi-cultural stories revolving around a family restaurant. (Deadline)

Jay R. Ferguson. The actor best known for his role as art guy Stan Rizzo has been cast in the lead in ABC’s untitled comedy pilot loosely based on the life of author/gay activist Dan Savage. He’ll play the Savage character’s cop father. (Deadline)

Thomas Sadoski (Newsroom) and Angelique Cabral (Enlisted) have joined previously announced cast members Colin Hanks, Diane Wiest, Zoe Lister Jones and Betsy Brandt in Life in Pieces, the CBS comedy pilot which tells the story of a family from the perspective of all the different characters. Sadoski plays the middle sibling and Cabral plays the woman he’s fallen in love with. (TVLine)

Jami Gertz. The former Square Pegs star (remember Square Pegs?) will reunite with her Neighbors producers Dan Fogelman and Aaron Kaplan in ABC’s untitled NBA comedy. She’ll play the mother of show lead Skylar Astin (Ground Floor), an un-basketball savvy translator for a talented Botswanan rookie who doesn’t speak English. (Deadline)

Philip Winchester. The Strike Back star has grabbed the lead in the NBC drama pilot Endgame, “a high-octane thriller set in the high-stakes world of Las Vegas” about a security expert investigating a conspiracy which could get a lot of people killed. (Deadline)

Eddie Cibrian (Third Watch), Donald Faison (Scrubs) and Rory Scovel (Ground Floor) have all been cast as Monica Potter’s ex-husbands in NBC’s as-yet untitled comedy pilot about a woman navigating the dating world with a busy family and three exes in tow. (TVLine)


Continuing/Returning Series

Doctor Who. Michelle Gomez (Bad Education) will return for Season 9 of the venerable BBC sci-fi franchise as Missy who is… well, that might be a spoiler if you didn’t watch last season. Look for her in the first episode of next season on BBC America. (THR)

Upcoming Shows

A.K.A. Jessica Jones. The Netflix/Marvel joint starring Krysten Ritter as a former super hero has added Eka Darville (The Originals), Erin Moriarty (The Kings of Summer), and Wil Traval (Red Widow) to the cast. They will play a neighbor, a client and a cop respectively. (THR)

Ash vs. Evil Dead. Jill Marie Jones (Sleepy Hollow) has been added to the cast surrounding Bruce Campbell in the Starz original series sequel to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead movies. She’ll play a state trooper who believes Ash is responsible for her partner’s murder. (TVbytheNumbers)

Guardians of the Galaxy. More voice-casting for the Disney XD animated adaptation of the Marvel hit. This time the name is Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Rebels) and the character is Gamora, a reformed assassin and the daughter of Thanos.

Pilots (by star)

Dianne Wiest and Zoe Lister Jones. Wiest has been cast as the mom and Jones (Friends with Better Lives) as the daughter-in-law (married to Colin Hanks) on the CBS comedy pilot Life in Pieces which tells the story of a family from the perspective of all the different characters. (THR)

Dule Hill. The Emmy-nominated West Wing and Psych star has joined Laverne Cox’s drama pilot Doubt on CBS. This is the one from Grey’s Anatomy EPs Tony Phelan and Joan Rater about a criminal defense attorney (not Cox) who gets involved with one of her clients though he might be guilty of murder. (Deadline)


Continuing/Returning Shows

Arrow. Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) has been cast as Jake Simons aka Deathbolt on the CW/DC super hero show (TVLine)

Upcoming Shows

Madoff. Richard Dreyfuss will star as Bernie Madoff in what ABC is calling a closed-ended drama about the fraud committing stock broker. The show will be based on ABC correspondent Brian Ross’ book The Madoff Chronicles. (THR)

Guardians of the Galaxy. Will Friedle (Boy Meets World, Batman Beyond, Kim Possible) will voice Star-Lord (played by Chris Pratt in the live action film) for Disney XD’s animated adaptation. (TVLine)

Pilots (by star)

Stephan James. The Selma co-star has been cast in a lead role in UnveiledMark Burnett (Survivor) and Roma Downey’s (Touched by an Angel) guardian angel drama for NBC. He’ll play a young guardian angel who doesn’t yet understand human suffering. (Deadline)

Larenz Tate. The House of Lies vet has booked a co-starring role in the NBC drama pilot Game of Silence starring David Lyons who plays an up-and-coming attorney whose violent past threatens to short circuit his career. Tate plays one of the childhood friends who knows Lyons’ secrets.

Michael Raymond-James. And the Sons of Liberty star will also play one of the friends on the same show as above. (Deadline)

Sullivan Stapleton. The Strike Back star has been cast as the male lead opposite Jaimie Alexander (Thor) in the NBC mystery drama pilot Blindspot about a woman who wakes up inside of a duffle bag in Times Square with no clothes, no memory and only a series of tattoos that might be clues to her predicament. He’ll play an FBI agent called in to investigate when one of her tattoos is his name (duhn duhn DUHNNNN!) (THR)

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