Musical Casting Couch

What do Patrick Breen, Merrin Dungey, Mae Whitman, Brett Cullen, and pretty much the entire original cast of CBS’ MOONLIGHT have in common? They’re all out of a job come Fall 2007. Turns out, when the networks send out fall TV pilots with the cautionary disclaimer notice that, “these are just presentation pilots and many things can and will change between now and September,” they’re not joking.

Starting off with the most shocking news first. The Hollyood Reporter is reporting this morning that Patrick Breen, who plays the very funny dad in CW’s sure-fire comedy hit ALIENS IN AMERICA has been replaced by none other than GILMORE GIRLS Scott Patterson. Frankly, this move comes as quite a surprise to this TV Addict as I thought ALIENS IN AMERICA was one of the fall’s most promising new pilots and needed absolutely zero tinkering. Add to that, the fact that who’d have guessed that ‘Luke’ would be the first Stars Hollow denizen to find a regular TV gig so soon after GILMORE GIRLS ended.

Falling in the ‘not-at-all-surprising’ category is the news that Mae Whitman’s deaf sister has been jettisoned from the BIONIC WOMAN pilot. Not only did we not see the point of Jaime Sommers having a sister to save each and every week, it didn’t make sense that she was deaf. As if having to deal with the loss of two legs, an arm and an eye while at the same time being on the run from a top-secret government agency was not enough to deal with.

Less surprising, but upsetting nonetheless was the recent announcement that everybody’s favorite fem-bot, Merrin Dungey (Francie on ALIAS) was being replaced by Broadway star Audra McDonald as Kate Walsh’s best friend on the GREY’S ANATOMY spin-off PRIVATE PRACTICE. Sure the two didn’t exactly click in the pilot, but wasn’t that the least of PRIVATE PRACTICE’S problems?

In more recasting news, new showrunner David Greenwalt (ANGEL) has completely revamped CBS’ MOONLIGHT. On the outs is Shannon Lucio, Amber Valletta and Rade Serbedzija. Replacing them [in order] are Sophia Myles, Shannyn Sossamon and everybody’s favorite Neptune bad boy Jason Dohring. Needless to say, as is the case with EVERWOOD, where VERONICA MARS alumni go, this TV Addict will follow.

Finally, Brett Cullen has been replaced by D.B. Moffat on the CW’s LIFE IS WILD. And while we feel bad for Mr. Cullen — having seen the pilot of LIFE IS WILD — we can pretty much assure him that he only lost about nine weeks of work.

For all the latest TV news and reviews

  • shanna

    Wow, wow, wow. I’ve heard of some changes to shows after the pilots have been shot but that’s like a slasher flick where you turn around and ten people have died.

    I’m really surprised about Merrin Dungey just because Private Practice has (technically) aired so it’s a change that the audience will definitely notice. And like you said, if there was a problem with PP that was the least of it.

    Moonlight has a lot of my faves so I may check it out. Not sure about Aliens in America even with Scott Patterson. I’m not sure if I’m ready to see Luke not be Luke.

  • jessica

    i guess Moonlightning is trying to go for a sexier younger vibe. It could work I am suddenly interested.

  • Jenny

    Wow, talk about change! :-/ lol

  • VCAD

    I’ll watch Moonlight because Im a vampre fan and a JD fan, so I’ll check it out, but I dont have high hopes for this show.

  • Elizabeth

    Scott Patterson is not the first Gilmore Girl regular cast member to get a TV job. Melissa McCarthy was cast in the new Christina Applegate show that keeps changing names before GG was even cancelled.

  • LOVE the Moonlight recasts. They have made it hipper, sexier and younger and it needed it because the pilot ( not a full pilot) was SLOW!!!!!!!! Actually somewhat excited to check it out now.

    As for Scott Patterson while agree the pilot of AIA didn’t need a lot of tinkering it’s still a great move because he will bring viewers to the show and no doubt can play the part. I absolutely HATE the show being sandwiched in on their comedy night but they need a hit comedy or a midseason buzz comedy to warrant the switch of night…

    Merrin Dungey… Still trying to confirm she has been let go. I know her role has been recast but no official word if she is off the show ( meaning not moved to a new role ). Sticking to my guns that Private Practice is the Studio 60 of this coming fall… the can’t miss show that might miss….

  • Common Sense

    The CW can’t seem to stay out of it’s own way. The glossy-eyed clueless father (Breen) was part of the whole charm of Aliens. I absolutely cannot see Scott in this role at all. It will be like watching Luke Danes live with a foreign kid (and we’ve seen him with kids…Jess & April…and it ain’t pretty). Also, nothing needs to outshine the true comedy gem of AIA: the mother!! She is a riot, both with her verbal delivery and physical comedy. What a great find! Again, the S.P. news really saddens me; what appeared to be a clear-cut winner now has me very worried.

    Also, Bret Cullen never would’ve been my first choice for Life is Wild…but D.W. Moffett? The only role I’ve ever liked him in was “For Your Love.” What?…was his work on Hidden Palms so inspiring? Or did the network have a contract to eat? I don’t get this one, either.

  • Tim Wilkins

    I will check out Moonlight for VM alumi Dohry. As for PP, yea those two did NOT click. I thought that part was so fake and wooden, it was painful to watch them act like best friends. Dungey had the look of someone asking herself, “Why’s this college friend showing up after all these years with no contact ?” Addison should have called first. LOL Maybe the recasting has to do with the character taking Alley McBeal moments to break out into song. That show (PP) has bigger issues indeed. But will that help? Won’t know until we see if the ladies have chemistry. Tim Wilkins aka College Virgin

  • babygirrr

    I agree with Common Sense, I love Scott Patterson, but he is not right for this role. I have seen the Pilot for AIA and it was cute, the dad they had was, I thought, perfect! I will not really be watching this show, it wasn’t really that interesting to me, even if they bring on Scott Patterson, which again is not right for this part!

    On another side note, I have watched all the CW fall pilots and my fav by far is The Reaper! And I am glad they are replacing Nikki Reed, she just didn’t do anything in that part, and I think Missy P will rock!

  • Brett Cullen was the ONLY interesting thing about Wild. Though I was sad to see Merrin go, I’m excited that Audra McDonald is the replacement, though lets hope the show improves a LOT by fall.

  • Lee

    As to whether Scott Patterson is right for the role in Aliens, if you have ever seen Patterson in interviews you know is absolutely nothing at all like the character of Luke Danes. I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw him. His voice, the speaking patterns, body language – all of it created solely for the Luke character. I was amazed more than I usually am by such a transformation.

    So, until I see the new show, I’m going to bet that Patterson can likely once again transform himself into someone quite unlike Luke or any other character he has played. I do think Patterson is particularly attractive, but I’ve seen really attractive actors made geeky or goofy, so if that is what is needed, they can probably pull it off. I admit to liking the actor’s beard scruff, but that is probably going to be no where in sight. Drat.