EXCLUSIVE: It took a year, but CBS has found an actor to play the lead in Taxi-22, its single-camera comedy project that had been shepherded by the late James Gandolfini.

Based on the hit French Canadian comedy, Taxi-22 centers on a politically incorrect NYC cab driver (Leguizamo). In addition to starring, he will co-executive produce alongside his managers, Jeff Golenberg and Sam Maydew.

1 year
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1 year
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gandolfiniDennis Erdman and Clark Peterson executive produce along with the original series’ creator/star, top Canadian comedian Patrick Huard; his producing partner François Flamand; and Gandolfini’s former managers, Nancy Sanders and Mark Armstrong. Gandolfini is getting a posthumous exec producer credit on the pilot and potential first season of the series.

CBS bought the project, with Gandolfini on board to executive produce, just two weeks before the Emmy-winning actor’s tragic death in June 2013.

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Image (1) quill__120819052529.png for post 500237Written/executive produced by Tad Quill, CBS’ Taxi-22 adaptation originally was ordered to pilot in January 2014. After difficulties casting the lead in a competitive pilot casting marketplace, CBS pushed the pilot. The network and CBS TV Studios, which produces the project, explored several casting choices in the off-season and made it clear that the pilot remained a priority.

Taxi-22 had been a passion project for Gandolfini, who first developed it at HBO. The project went through three incarnations at the pay cable network with different writers and Gandolfini loosely attached to play the lead at one point.

Leguizamo, repped by UTA, Silver Lining Entertainment and Sloane Offer, recently completed the films The Nest with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler; Stealing Cars; and The Experimenters, which will premiere at Sundance.  Currently, he is playing his one-man show, Latin History For Dummies, around the country