TV Castings You Missed: Top Spots in Gotham; A Lead for How I Met Your Dad; and Fishburne Goes Comedy

As we get closer to this year's upfronts, the networks are closing deals on a daily basis for their new top-tier projects. From movie stars looking to make the leap to TV to old favorites in new roles, it's hard to keep track of all the familiar faces you may see on your screen in 2014.

Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue, Gotham (Fox)

Ben McKenzie in Southland (Credit: TNT)

Fresh off his role as a cop on TNT's Southland, Ben McKenzie will don the badge again as the iconic comic book figure James Gordon for Fox's (NASDAQ: FOXA  )  Gotham. In the DC Comics world on which the series will be based, Gordon is Gotham City's police commissioner and frequent ally to its protector Batman.

The series, though, will follow Smallville's approach and show viewers how Gordon went from being a detective to the head of the department. A few days following McKenzie's signing, Sons of Anarchy alum Donal Logue also signed onto the project as Detective Harvey Bullock, another popular (but lesser known) DC character, who is Gordon's rough-around-the-edges partner and mentor.

Impact on network

The idea of doing an origin story series for a supporting character is very intriguing to the comic book community. Gordon is revered in the world of Batman and, like Bruce Wayne's loyal butler Alfred, has always been the voice of reason, despite the laundry list of tragedies to befall him and his family.

Fox made McKenzie a name with its breakout teen drama The O.C. and executives are pleased to have him back in the fold. Logue is by nature a comic actor who has effortlessly segued into the dramatic world. This appears to be a smart pairing for a show whose buzz will likely rival what The CW is expecting with its comic book adaption of The Flash.

Remember, Fox has done away the traditional pilot season, so all eyes will be on this slate and how it does. Gotham figures to be one of its marquee projects.

Laurence Fishburne Black-ish  (ABC)

Laurence Fishburne in Hannibal (Credit: NBC)

The Oscar-nominated actor may be better known for his work in film, but over the past few years Fishburne's given TV a try with impressive results. Here, though, he will tackle his first comedy role in Black-ish, a title that seems to be flip-flopping regularly between that and Untitled Anthony Anderson Comedy. Either way, he'll play the father of comedian Anthony Anderson (Guys With Kids), who like Fishburne is also a executive producer on the project for ABC (a subsidiary of Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) ). The premise revolves around Anderson's character, an upper-middle-class father who struggles to make sure his kids don't lose sight of their African-American heritage as they grow up.

Impact on network

Fishburne's first major TV lead role was as Dr. Raymond Langston on CBS' procedural CSI before joining the cast of NBC's Hannibal, which will return post-Olympics. The actor has an imposing presence on screen, which made him a natural to headline dramas, but hasn't really gone the comedic route before.

The role sounds perfect for him, though. Anderson is a comic actor by trade so the two should work well off each other. For ABC, this is a big signing. Any time you can get a popular film actor of Fishburne's caliber to join one of your network's projects, it gives you an edge on your rivals. ABC could use a few more bold-face names to round out its development slate, but this is a strong addition. And as a note to Hannibal fans … should the show go to series, Fishburne would reportedly be able to stay on the drama should that get renewed for a third season. 

Greta Gerwig How I Met Your Dad (CBS)

Greta Gerwig in Lola Versus (Credit: Fox Searchlight)

The spin-off of CBS' (NYSE: CBS  ) hit series How I Met Your Mother now has its lead. The role was announced this week, going to indie actress Greta Gerwig, who is best known for her work in Francis Ha and No Strings Attached. Gerwig will play the Josh Radnor, Ted-like role as the main character explaining how she found her significant other. The difference here is (aside from the narrator gender switch) Gerwig's character Sally will already be married as the show starts, but quickly realizes she made the wrong choice and will be back on the lookout for her true love.

Impact on network

For the many of you who have no idea who this woman is and why CBS would choose her to front arguably the biggest comedy pilot on its slate, here's the background. Gerwig is one of today's top independent actresses and has a strong following in the important 18-49 demo. Her signing was important enough to the network to offer to shift production of the series to New York (should the show get picked up) in order to lure her into signing on. Gerwig would also serve as a producer and writer. The network sees mainstream potential in her and soon the public may as well.

The next step for you

Want to figure out how to profit on business analysis like this? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even give you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2843592, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/29/2014 8:21:28 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement