'Family Album', 'Playboy', 'Poe' & Other TV Pilots Cast Leads

For actors and actresses hoping to score a steady TV gig, the weeks following spec buy season are a primary hunting ground. Five projects across the big four networks have now cast leads for their new pilots.

Mike O'Malley will play the leading male role in Fox's Family Album pilot. The project revolves around Dave, an alpha male jock who vows to "bond the crap out of his family" after an emotional breakthrough.

O'Malley will be most familiar as the father of Glee's gay tenor Kurt Hummel. He's also had arcs on My Name Is Earl and My Own Worst Enemy. Nostalgic children of the '90s might also recognize him as the host of Nickelodeon's GUTS game show.

Laura Benanti will play a starring role in NBC's upcoming period piece Playboy. The series is set in the iconic Chicago Playboy Club in the 1960s. Playboy aims to take Mad Men's semi-historical drama and combine it with the titular adult empire's bankable image. Benanti takes the role of Carol-Lynne, a high-profile performer whose geriatric age (30) makes her a prime target for up-and-coming bunnies. A Tony Award-winning actress, Benanti's work has been focused on Broadway, but she's also made appearances in Eli Stone and Take the Lead. Amber Heard and Natari Naughton have also been cast in the project.

Kevin McNally has been cast in ABC's Poe. The pilot still doesn't have an actor to play Edgar Allan Poe, its fictionalized detective version of the literary master, but McNally will play Police Commissioner Kyle Kilpatrick. Poe can be described as a 19th century version of Castle: a well-known author helps police investigate macabre murders. McNally is best known as Captain Jack Sparrow's first mate Gibbs in all three Pirates movies, and the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Interestingly, McNally has also been cast in The Raven, a film drama about Edgar Allan Poe's pursuit of a serial killer.

Tara Summers will star opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar in CBS's Ringer. The pilot follows a woman on the run from the mob (Gellar) who impersonates her twin sister. Summers plays the sister's best friend who begins to suspect the doppelganger switch. Prior to Ringer, Summers played arcs on Damages, Boston Legal and Dirt.

Finally, a new project from the writer of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has cast its first secondary character. CBS's How To Be A Gentleman has snagged Nancy Lenehan as the lead's overbearing mother. The show is written by David Hornsby, who also stars. It follows the transition of a magazine from one owner to another. Lenehan has played arcs on The New Adventures of Old Christine, Worst Week and My Name Is Earl.

All five projects are currently in the pilot stage, and have yet to be picked up for an initial season. Work will begin in earnest this summer, with freshman runs in the fall or next spring if they're accepted.

Source: Deadline Hollywood

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