TV industry reacts to coronavirus, former Netflix comic-book anti-hero finds sex industry gig on Showtime, Can You Ever Forgive Me? star joins Loki on Disney+, and more in the week’s top TV news.
As big-screen releases continue to move around the calendar over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, the list of TV projects affected by COVID-19 is growing at a rapid pace every day. On Tuesday, after the government in Prague placed restrictions on travel and events and closed its schools, Disney shut down the Prague-based production of the upcoming Disney+ Marvel series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Deadline reported.
The Captain America/Avengers spin-off starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan is filming primarily in Atlanta, but had started a brief, week-long shoot in Prague, which came to a halt when the whole crew was told to pack up and head back to Georgia. The series is scheduled to premiere on Disney+ in August.
Elsewhere, The CW shut down production on Riverdale’s fourth season in Vancouver after a crew member came into contact with a person who tested positive for the virus, and CBS delayed production on the 41st season of Survivor, which was schedule to start filming later this month in Fiji.
Meanwhile, the ever-lengthening list of coronavirus-sparked cancellations and schedule adjustments also includes:
The Walking Dead and The Punisher alum Jon Bernthal is starring in the Showtime drama series pilot remake of the 1980 Richard Gere movie American Gigolo. Bernthal will play Julian Kaye, a man getting out of prison 18 years after being accused of murder. He’s trying to maneuver the modern-day sex industry in Los Angeles while also trying to find out who set him up for a crime he didn’t commit.
Bernthal will also be a producer on the project, which is being directed by showrunner David Hollander (Ray Donovan). Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the Gere movie, will be an executive producer on the series.
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Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) has joined the cast of the Disney+ series Lokiwith Tom Hiddleston. Details about his character have not been disclosed. (TheWrap)
Netflix has announced the cast for its upcoming series adaptation of the beloved YA book series The Baby-Sitters Club, which will find Alicia Silverstone and Mark Feuerstein in the parental roles as Elizabeth Thomas-Brewer and Watson Brower. And playing the entrepreneurial Connecticut middle schoolers at the center of the story: Sophie Grace (Terror in the Woods) as Kristy Thomas, Malia Baker (A Million Little Things) as Mary-Anne Spier, Momona Tamada (To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You) as Claudia Kishi, Shay Rudolph (Lethal Weapon) as Stacey McGill, and Xochitl Gomez (Gentefied) as Dawn Schafer.
Scandal (and, of course, Felicity) alum Scott Foley has been cast as the lead in the Fox dramedy pilot The Big Leap, the ballet-themed series inspired by the British reality show Big Ballet. Foley will play the producer of the series-within-the-series, which revolves around everyday people competing to win a spot in a modern remake of Swan Lake. (Dateline)
Andy Garcia has signed on to play an attorney lead Katey Sagal consults in the ABC drama pilot Rebel, inspired by the life of Erin Brockovich. (Variety)
ER alum Goran Visnjic will play Dracula in ABC’s primetime soap pilot The Brides, which revolves around the three wives of Dracula, who’ve run away from him to start an independent life together. Gina Torres (Suits), Katherine Reis (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and Erin Richards (Gotham) play the brides. (Variety)
Comedian and Bridesmaids star Matt Lucas will be the new co-host of The Great British Bake Off for Channel 4. Lucas replaces Sandi Toksvig, and will share hosting duties with comedian Noel Fielding. (Deadline)
Alternatino with Arturo Castro star Arturo Castro, already cast in the Quibi comedy Flipped with Kaitlin Olson and Will forte, has signed on with another streaming service: he’ll play star Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s friend and roommate in the Apple TV+ schoolteacher comedy Mr. Corman. (Variety)
Greenleaf star Lovie Simone will play the object of affection of young Kanan in Starz’ Power prequel Power Book III: Raising Kanan. The cast, with Mekai Curtis (Milo Murphy’s Law) playing the young Kanan (the character played by 50 Cent in the original series), also stars Omar Epps, Patina Miller, Hailey Kilgore, rapper Joey Bada$$, London Brown, Shanley Caswell, Toby Sanderson, and Malcolm Mays. (Variety) (Deadline)
Cheyenne Jackson (American Horror Story) will star opposite Mayim Bialik in the Fox comedy Call Me Kat. Jackson plays Kat’s (Bialik) high school crush, who now owns a bar across the street from the cat cafe she just opened in her Louisville hometown. Bialik is producing the series with her former Big Bang Theory costar Jim Parsons. (Deadline)
Sheryl Lee Ralph will play the matriarch and devoted wife of Delroy Lindo’s restaurant owner in ABC’s family drama pilot Harlem’s Kitchen. Miguel Gomez (The Strain) will play a line cook who is an undocumented El Salvadorian. (Deadline)
This Is Us star Chris Sullivan and AnnaSophia Robb (The Act) will co-star with Jamie Dornan, Christian Slater and Alec Baldwin in Peacock’s miniseries adaptation of the podcast Dr. Death. Sullivan will play the lifelong friend of the murderous doctor (Dornan), while Robb will play one of his prosecutors. (TVLine)
The Wire alum Gbenga Akinnagbe and Bill Heck (Locke & Key) have been cast in the FX Jeff Bridges drama The Old Man. Heck will play a younger version of Dan Chase, the retired CIA agent played by Bridges, while Akinnagbe plays a special ops contractor sent to kill Chase. (Deadline)
Wayne Brady will join the cast of the CBS comedy The Neighborhood for a recurring guest role, playing a member of the City Council who Max Greenfield’s Dave decides to oppose in the next election. (TV Insider)
HBO Max announced additional cast for its Gossip Girl reboot, including influencer and Rookiemagazine founder Tavi Gevinson, who previously appeared on Scream Queens and Parenthood; Thomas Doherty (Descendants 2 and 3, High Fidelity); Zión Moreno (Claws); Adam Chanler-Berat (Law & Order, Veep); and Whitney Peak (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina).
The Starz wrestling drama Heels has cast former Pittsburgh Steelers star James Harrison, The Wire alum Chris Bauer, and The O.G.’s Allen Maldonado as wrestlers named Apocalypse, Wild Bill Hancock, and Rooster Robin, respectively. (TheWrap)
Nicole Byer (Nailed It!) and Aaron Jennings (Pure Genius) have joined the cast of the untitled comedy from Brooklyn Nine-Nine writer/producer Phil Augusta Jackson and co-creator/EP Dan Goor. The series follows the lives of a group of black friends. (Deadline)
Tone Bell (Fam) and Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces) will play the leads in the ABC sitcom pilot Work Wife, inspired by the work/friend relationship between daytime talk show co-hosts Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa. Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs), Annapurna Sriram (The Blacklist), Matt Shively (The Real O’Neals) and Maile Flanagan (Shameless) co-star. (TVLine)
The Goldbergs’ Natalie Alyn Lind has been cast in David E. Kelley’s Montana-set ABC kidnapping thriller The Big Sky. She’ll play one of two sisters who are kidnapped by a truck driver. Katheryn Winnick, Ryan Phillippe, John Carroll Lynch, Dedee Pfeiffer, and Brian Geraghty also star. (Deadline)
Fox is replacing Shannon Sossamon as the lead of its drama pilot The Cleaning Lady, after a table read led to a revamping of the character. (Deadline)
Apple TV+ has ordered the thriller Suspicion, starring Uma Thurman, to series. A remake of the Israeli drama False Flag, the drama revolves around the kidnapping of the 21-year-old son of a prominent businesswoman (Thurman). The series will also star The Americans’ Noah Emmerich, Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory), Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Edward Bluemel (Killing Eve). (Deadline)
30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock are creating an animated comedy series for Netflix: Mulligan is about the humans left to rebuild the world after the planet is invaded and attacked by aliens. (Indiewire)
Ryan Murphy revealed another clue about the upcoming season 10 of American Horror Story: He posted a photo of two hands, amidst a pile of sticks, on a beach, along with the caption, “Things are beginning to wash up on shore …”
SMILF creator and star Frankie Shaw is developing an adaptation of the Judy Blume novel Wifey as a limited series at HBO. The naughty novel — the one teens, shocked that the kid and YA writer wrote an adult book, hid from their parents — unfolds the story of bored 1970s housewife Sandy Pressman, who decides to make her sexual fantasies a reality. Shaw will co-write, executive produce, and direct the project. (Variety)
Streaming service Quibi will allow viewers to test its offerings with a 90-day free trial period when it launches in April — assuming it launches in April. Quibi and tech firm Eko are suing each other over a turnstyle feature that allows viewers to seamlessly switch between horizontal and vertical viewing of Quibi programming, and Eko’s suit includes a request to prevent Quibi from launching on April 6. (Deadline)
The Stephen Colbert–produced CBS All Access animated series Tooning Out the News will feature cartoon newspeople spoofing real-world headlines and interviewing real-life guests, including Alan Dershowitz, Dan Abrams, Thomas Friedman, Nicholas Kristof, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Shalala, and Rep. Eric Swalwell. The series will air 5–7 minute segments daily, and then a full episode on Fridays. (Deadline)
In their new series Celebrity IOU, HGTV superstars Drew and Jonathan Scott will help a lineup of A-list celebs thank people who’ve made an impact on their lives by surprising the do-gooders with home renovations. Brad Pitt, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Bublé, Viola Davis, and Rebel Wilson are among the stars who turn to the Scott brothers to help them show their appreciation to some deserving people in their lives.
A 20 percent drop in ratings for this year’s Oscar telecast has the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rethinking two consecutive years of a hostless ceremony. THR reports a meeting of the board on Tuesday included discussion of a return to having a “big-name host” lead the televised celebration. (THR)
Modern Family star Julie Bowen is starring in the CBS comedy pilot Raised by Wolves, about a successful, busy crisis manager who adopts an 11-year-old girl. The series was created by Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan. (Deadline)
AMC has greenlit its first animated series, Pantheon, based on a series of short stories by Hugo award-winning sci-fi writer Ken Liu. AMC has ordered two, eight-episodes seasons of the hour-long drama, which will revolve around “Uploaded Intelligence,” i.e. human consciousness that is uploaded to the cloud.
All-day Today? Variety reports an NBC exec issued a memo that suggests the network may be working on a plan to expand Today to an around-the-clock schedule, via streaming. (Variety)
Quibi is developing a reality competition series called Squeaky Clean, in which competitors will try to see who can leave a studio floor the cleanest, as tested with a white glove. (Deadline)
Governor Zack Morris is going to look like a surfer dude in the Saved by the Bell revival, at least according to Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s Instagram post from the makeup chair.
Sounds right: The Good Place creator Michael Schur is writing a book called How to Be Good: A Definitive Answer for Exactly What to Do In Every Possible Situation. Schur will use humor and philosophy — with some input from philosophy professor/The Good Place consultant Todd May — to help readers figure out how to deal with any ethical dilemma in the Simon and Schuster book.