Under the non-exclusive arrangement, Hirschfeld will work closely with Starz programming executives on major castings for the channels' scripted and non-scripted programs, beginning with "Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Stand-Up," which is gearing up for its fifth season.
The Starz setup is expected to be the first of several, in which Hirschfeld provides casting executive services to networks that are ramping up original production but don't have a fully-fledged casting departments.
Hirschfeld, who is casting two pilots this season, ABC's "The Whole Truth" and CBS' "Hitched," served as executive vp casting for NBC Universal Television Entertainment from 1999 to 2008, overseeing casting for all of NBC Entertainment, Sci Fi, Bravo and USA Network scripted programs and consulting on unscripted programming.
Before that, he ran with partner Meg Liberman top casting agency Liberman/Hirschfeld, which cast "Seinfeld," "3rd Rock from the Sun,
The process -- in which actors in on-air series are cast in pilots -- also has become increasingly aggressive, with broadcast networks even going after actors whose shows have not yet premiered.
This pilot season, Kyle Bornheimer and Alyssa Milano, stars of ABC's upcoming comedy series "Romantically Challenged," and Tyler Labine, star of Fox's upcoming comedy series "Sons of Tucson," were pursued for pilots. After fielding several offers, Bornheimer signed on as the lead in CBS' hot comedy pilot from "How I Met Your Mother" creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.
Overall, more than a dozen actors on existing series already have been cast in pilots this year.
Casting executive Marc Hirschfeld, who cast one of them -- "Numbers" star Rob Morrow, in ABC's drama pilot "The Whole Truth" -- is not surprised.
With broadcast casting executives again in the hunt for good-looking thirtysomething leading men for pilots, Mabius' sudden availability made him instantly a hot commodity.
The early cancellation of "Betty" was done mostly to help the dramedy's producers give it a proper ending, but the timing of the announcement also releases into the pilot talent pool a strong cast just as networks are starting to assemble this year's crop of series hopefuls.
"Betty" co-star Becki Newton, also in a sought-after category of beautiful 30-year-old comedic actresses, has additionally been inundated with calls, and Vanessa Williams, Michael Urie and Ana Ortiz also are in demand. It is not clear whether star America Ferrera would be open to another series as she
NBC Uni confirmed that it is merging NBC and Universal Media Studios and has tapped the company's international TV production chief Angela Bromstad to oversee the combined unit's scripted programming as president of primetime entertainment.
Former BBC Worldwide Prods. president Paul Telegdy has been named executive vp alternative programming and will head the unscripted department at the network as well as Ums' newly formed alternative production studio.
Additionally, Bromstad will continue to supervise the company's international production, while Telegdy will also oversee the international sales of unscripted formats generated by the new production unit. Both Bromstad and Telegdy will start Jan. 5 and report to NBC Uni co-chairs Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff.
Liberman will oversee the day-to-day casting for all studio shows, reporting to Peter Golden, executive vp talent and casting for CBS Par TV Group. She replaces Sheila Guthrie, who will return to her independent casting career.
"Meg has incredible relationships with writers, directors, agents and fellow casting directors, and she has an encyclopedic knowledge of actors," Golden said. "Sheila is highly respected, and we're looking forward to continuing our relationship with her."
Liberman founded her own company in 1984 before partnering with Marc Hirschfeld from 1987-99. For the past nine years, since Hirschfeld left to become exec vp casting for NBC, Liberman has been partners with Cami Patton.
Liberman, a second-generation Hollywood casting director whose mother Pat Harris cast such series as "Get Smart," has won two Emmys, with Hirschfeld for the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" in 1998 and with Patton for "Band of Brothers" in 2002.
"I look forward to working alongside her on the NBC/Paramount series 'Medium' and competing against her in the talent marketplace," Hirschfeld said.
Liberman's credits also include "Seinfeld" and "3rd Rock From the Sun" (with Hirschfeld) and, most recently, ABC's "Pushing Daisies," HBO's "The Pacific" and CBS/Par's new drama "The Philanthropist."
On the feature side, Liberman/Patton cast the blockbuster hit "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."
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