EXCLUSIVE: Ravi Patel (Wonder Woman 1984), Eric Edelstein (Creepshow) and Johnny Jay Lee (NCIS: Los Angeles) are set as series regulars in CBS comedy pilot Rust Belt News, from The Simpsons writer and The Mindy Project exec producer Matt Warburton. They join previously announced cast members Rich Sommer, Lauren Lindsey Donzis, Jayma Mays, Bailey Gavulic, Bentley Green and Angel Laketa Moore.
Written by Warburton and directed by Jeff Blitz, the project is set in a small Ohio town where the local newspaper goes out of business, leaving the ambitious, angsty reporters of the high school newspaper as the only people left to report on scandals, dig up corruption, and generally polish the rust off this rust-belt community.
Patel plays Dale, an emotionally needy principal at a working-class Ohio high school.
Edelstein portrays Joe, a goodhearted single father who takes a job as a night janitor at his daughter’s high school after the town auto factory shuts down.
Lee is Eli, a popular high school junior and Mennonite farm boy, who is also a favorite on his mom’s Christian Instagram account.
Warburton executive produces with Alloy Entertainment’s Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. Blitz directs and executive produces the pilot. Warner Bros. Television is the studio.
Patel was recently cast in Sony Pictures’ live-action adaptation of Harold and the Purple Crayon, directed by Oscar nominee Carlos Saldanha. He’ll next be seen in Lionsgate’s The Valet, which will be released later this year. He’ll also be seen in a recurring role in Showtime’s upcoming drama series Three Women opposite Betty Gilpin, Shailene Woodley, and DeWanda Wise. Patel is repped by Buchwald, Mainstay Entertainment, and attorney Yorn Levine.
Edelstein has recurred on Parks and Recreation, Shameless, Fresh Off the Boat, and as Detective Smiley Fusco in Twin Peaks: the Return. Last year, he played the lead role of hapless plumber Linus in the anthology series Creepshow. He’s repped by Talent Works.
Lee is known for his work on NCIS: Los Angeles as a young Chris O’Donnell, his recurring role on the HBO Max sitcom Head of the Class, and FX’s Snowfall. He is repped by Kreativ Media Partners and The Carry Company.
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