12 Miles of Bad Road (2007) - News Poster

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Casting in the strike-shortened pilot season

Casting in the strike-shortened pilot season
More pilot season coverage

The frantic pilot season is creating a bull market for top-tier talent.

Thirtysomething men including Dominic West, Matthew Perry and Simon Baker are being offered roles, as are Amanda Peet and Amy Smart, the latter of whom recently signed to star in CBS' "The Meant to Be's". Also lured back to TV is "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star Sarah Michelle Gellar.

As in previous years, there is the young hot ingenue. Last year, it was Jordana Brewster, who was offered a number of plum lead roles and ultimately picked ABC's "Mr. and Mrs. Smith". This year, it's "12 Miles of Bad Road" co-star Eliza Coupe, who is in hot demand.

There also is an accomplished foreigner who is taking over the lead of a pilot despite the fact that he's virtually unknown in the U.S. Last year, Brit Michelle Ryan was tapped in "Bionic Woman"; this year, Australian Josh Lawson landed the lead in "Spaced".

Foreign-born actors continue to be hot this pilot season: West and "Eleventh Hour" star Rufus Sewell hail from the U.K., while Baker is from Australia.

As usual, there is a departing HBO series that has freed up actors for pilot season.

Two years ago, it was "Six Feet Under", whose stars Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Rachel Griffiths and Lauren Ambrose landed leads on new series. Last year, it was "Rome", with Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson and Polly Walker doing broadcast pilots.

This time around, it's "The Wire", whose star West is a hot commodity.

HBO won't run '12 Miles'

HBO on Monday confirmed that it won't air Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's one-hour comedy 12 Miles of Bad Road, starring Lily Tomlin.

For the past few weeks, the series' executive producers Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason have been quietly shopping the six-produced episodes to other networks, including Lifetime.

12 Miles was picked up to series in January 2007 but was never scheduled by HBO, raising speculations about its future at the pay cable channel. The confirmation of 12 Miles' demise comes on the heels of the Sunday announcement of HBO entertainment president Carolyn Strauss' exit from her post.

12 Miles stars Tomlin as the matriarch of a wealthy Texas family whose real estate business and absurd wealth complicate the simplest family matters.

The pilot, which HBO Entertainment produced in association with Mozark Prods., co-starred Gary Cole, Mary Kay Place, Katherine LaNasa, Kim Dickens, Eliza Coupe, Leslie Jordan, Ivana Milicevic, David Andrews, Sean Bridgers, Texas Battle and Cameron Richardson.

HBO ready for 'Road' show, 'Treatment'

HBO has picked up to series Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's one-hour comedy "12 Miles of Bad Road", starring Lily Tomlin, and the half-hour drama "In Treatment", starring Gabriel Byrne and executive produced by Mark Wahlberg.

The premium cable network has ordered 40 episodes of "Treatment", from Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson, who also executive produce HBO's "Entourage". The number of episodes for "Road" is yet to be determined.

"Road", from "Designing Women" creator Bloodworth-Thomason, stars Tomlin as the matriarch of a wealthy Texas family whose real estate business and absurd wealth complicate the simplest family matters.

The hourlong pilot was directed by Michael Engler. HBO's brass considered turning the project into a 30-minute series but decided to keep the format intact.

The pilot, which HBO Entertainment produced in association with Mozark Prods., co-starred Gary Cole, Mary Kay Place, Katherine LaNasa, Kim Dickens, Eliza Coupe, Leslie Jordan, Ivana Milicevic, David Andrews, Sean Bridgers, Texas Battle and Cameron Richardson.

Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason executive produced the pilot, with Loucas George and Doug Jackson serving as producers.

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