As the pilot casting season gradually shifts from straight offers to tests — a lot of tests — the broadcast networks are racing against the clock to lock in names as the leads of its pilots. Of the early offer magnets, Rose Byrne and Kevin Kline passed on everything they had been offered and may not commit to a show after all, while Jason Issacs, Kyle Chandler and Felicity Huffman signed as the leads of CBS’ The Surgeon General, Showtime’s The Vatican and Fox’s Boomerang, respectively.
Now a new group of hotly pursued actors has emerged. It includes The Office’s Rainn Wilson, John Stamos and Corey Stoll, all of whom have been getting multiple offers. Despite striking out with the proposed Rainn Wilson spinoff from The Office, NBC appears determined to keep the actor in the fold. I hear Wilson had been offered the lead in the network’s comedy pilot Donor Party with a six-episode guarantee. I can only think of a handful of instances in the past 10 years when actors would command episodic guarantee in a pilot (Kelsey Grammer for Back To You and Calista Flockhart for Brothers & Sisters come to mind), but in today’s economic environment such arrangements are very rare. What’s more, I hear NBC has the script of the pilot rewritten for Wilson in order to get him on board. NBC is doing the courtship dance in face of competition from at least three other pilots — broadcast and cable — that I hear are interested in Wilson.
I hear John Stamos too has been holding four offers — both for one-hour and half-hour pilots, three from broadcast and one in cable. And while I hear he is leaning heavily toward NBC’s drama I Am Victor, the strong interest in the ER alum certainly raises the stakes.
The slew of offers for Stoll may be more surprising but he is on casting directors’ minds with his role on Netflix’s House Of Cards, which just premiered. He also was the standout player on NBC’s short-lived Law & Order: LA.