Malin Akerman, who had been pursued for multiple comedy pilots this season, is set to star opposite Portia de Rossi in ABC’s dueling sisters comedy pilot The Smart One. The project, written by Don Todd, centers on a brilliant and successful woman (de Rossi) who has to go to work for her less brainy but more popular sister (Akerman) — a former beauty queen, weather girl … and now big-city mayor. Jean Smart was just cast as the sisters’ mother. DeGeneres, Todd and Lauren Corrao are executive producing for Warner Bros TV. Akerman, who co-starred on Lisa Kudrow’s cult HBO series The Comeback, has been focused primarily on features for the past few years. She will next be seen in Wonderlust and Rock Of Ages.
Eamonn Walker (Oz) is the first actor cast in NBC’s ensemble drama pilot Chicago Fire, executive produced by Dick Wolf. In the action-driven drama exploring the complex and heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department, Walker, repped by ICM and Joan Fields Management, will play Chief Walter Boden, a former Golden Gloves champ who is mulling retirement. Jeffrey Nachmanoff is directing the pilot from a script by Derek Haas and Michael Brandt.