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)

Continuing/Returning Series

Two Broke Girls. The great Sandra Bernhard (King of Comedy, Roseanne) will join Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs’ CBS comedy for a “multi-episode” guest role as a “chic, sharp, mercurial, lesbian manager of a new restaurant” who hires Max and Caroline. So basically she’s playing herself. (THR)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Garret Dillahunt (The Assassination of Jesse James, No Country for Old Men) who is currently taking a turn on FX’s Justified will guest on an unspecified upcoming episode of FOX’s cop comedy as the best detective in the NYPD who attracts the eye of Amy (Melissa Fumero) to the irritation of Jake (Andy Samberg). (THR)

The Big Bang Theory. Nathan Fillion, aka Firefly’s Captain Mal Reynolds, will guest star in an upcoming episode as himself and I’m sure Sheldon (Jim Parsons) will pee his pants. (EW)

Rogue. Sarah Carter (Falling Skies) will join Thandie Newton and Cole Hauser as a series regular in the DirecTV thriller’s third season as a DEA agent. (Deadline)

Hemlock Grove. This Netflix show is still being produced? I guess the third season will be its last and Richard Gunn (Dark Angel) is joining it as “a mysterious stranger.” Well zip-a-dee goddamn doo-dah. (Deadline)

Defiance. Syfy’s future alien drama has added Lee Tergesen (The Americans), Nichole Galicia (Wish I Was Here), and Conrad Coates (TRON: Legacy) to the cast. Tergesen will play a general seeking to take over the show’s namesake town where humans and aliens coexist peacefully. Coates will play the leader of the Omecs, a warrior race once thought extinct but now also threatening the town. Galicia will play his daughter. (THR)

Halt and Catch Fire. James Cromwell (Babe, LA Confidential) has joined the second season of AMC’s 1980s computer industry-set drama in a “major recurring role” as a self-made Texas millionaire CEO who will prove to be either an ally or an enemy of the hard driving Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace). (Deadline)

Upcoming Series

A.K.A. Jessica Jones. Carrie-Anne Moss (Matrix, Memento) has joined the upcoming 13-episode Marvel/Netflix project starring Krysten Ritter (The B— in Apt. 23) as a troubled former super hero who opens her own detective agency. Moss will play an authority figure who could help or hinder Jessica depending on how things work out. Previously announced cast members besides Ritter include David Tenant (Doctor Who) and Rachael Taylor (Grey’s Anatomy). (Wrap)

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