LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:
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HELLCATS (The CW) - Robbie Jones ("One Tree Hill") and Heather Hemmens ("The Candy Shop") are both on board the presentation, a drama set in the world of competitive college cheerleading. He's believed to be playing Luis Famosa, an "easy and laid-back, seriously unserious" member of the squad who befriends Marty (Aly Michalka), much to the chagrin of Dan (Matt Barr). Said role was originally written for someone of Cuban descent. Hemmens then is set as Alice Vandermark ("a willowy beauty with jaded New York cool"), a fellow Hellcat that suffers a hairline wrist fracture. Ashley Tisdale and Gail O'Grady co-star in the hour, which was penned by Kevin Murphy. CBS Television Studios, Tom Welling Productions and Warner Bros. Television are co-producing.
HITCHED (CBS) - Riki Lindhome has landed a role on the comedy pilot, about a twentysomething newlywed couple (Jack Carpenter, Kristin Kreuk) navigating their new life together. She's on board as Shari Ratner, the bride's best friend, "a ball buster" whose husband never speaks. Josh Schwartz and Matt Miller are behind the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which also stars Eugene Levy, Kurtwood Smith and Thomas Middleditch. Rob Greenberg is directing.
HUGE (ABC Family) - Gina Torres ("Gossip Girl") is the latest addition to the series, which launches Monday, June 28 at 9:00/8:00c. She'll play Dr. Dorothy Rand in the hour, about "the lives of seven teens and the staff at a weight-loss camp, as they look beneath the surface to discover their true selves and the truth about each other." Andrew Caldwell, Ari Stidham, Ashley Holliday, Harvey Guillen, Hayley Hasselhoff, Nikki Blonsky and Zander Eckhouse also star in the ensemble.
LAW & ORDER (NBC) - S. Epatha Merkerson is departing the series after 17 seasons. Said decision comes as production is about to begin on the show's 20th season finale. Merkerson reportedly made the request in time to give her character an appropriate send-off. Earlier this week, the Peacock announced Olympic Gold Medal winning skier Lindsey Vonn would guest star on the aforementioned finale, to be written and directed by Rene Balcer. As for the future of the series, rumblings persist that a 21st season will be contingent on whether or not TNT, home to its off-network run, will extend its contract beyond season 20 which in turn will help offset the cost of production.
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (ABC Family) - Chad Lowe ("24") has joined the cast of the upcoming drama, about "four estranged best friends who are reunited one year after their best friend and queen bee of the group, Alison, goes missing only to discover they are receiving messages from an anonymous "A" who knows all their secrets." He'll play Byron, one of the girls' (Lucy Hale) fathers, a "handsome professor that the college girls on campus all talk about when they get drunk and horny." Alexis Denisof originated the role in the pilot. No reason was given for the recasting. Ashley Benson, Laura Leighton, Nia Peeples, Shay Mitchell as Emily and Troian Bellisario also star in the project, which bows Tuesday, June 8 at 8:00/7:00c.
STRANGE BREW (FOX) - Greg Germann ("In Case of Emergency") and Damon Gupton ("Deadline") have both booked roles on the comedy pilot, about a family-owned brewery. The former will play Burt ("fit, comfortable in his Republican skin"), a president of a rival company who tries to convince patriarch Ted (Jere Burns) to sell him a piece of the business. Gupton then is set as Lester Lewis III, a third generation brewmaster who's a de facto member of the family. Aya Cash, Laurie Metcalf, Mo Mandel and Skylar Astin also star in the Warner Bros. Television-based half-hour, which Marc Buckland is directing from a script by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters