Mon Feb 25, 2:23 AM ET HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Tom Berenger and Kyle Chandler are headed to Congress for ABC, while Laurie Metcalf will reunite with former "Roseanne" producer Chuck Lorre for CBS, as the networks firm up casting for their fall series contenders.
Also on Friday, ABC made cast pacts on three pilots: Ed Kerr snagged the lead role in "Dexter Prep"; Simon Helberg will join "The Funkhausers" in a central role; and Brad Raider has taken an important role in "That Was Then."
Here's the latest in TV pilot casting: Berenger will portray the majority party Senate leader in writer/director Rod Lurie's yet-untitled Washington-set project for ABC. It's the "Platoon" star's first regular starring role in a primetime TV series. Chandler, who co-starred in ABC's short-lived "What About Joan," will play the legislative director for a congressman played by David Paymer. Chandler's character develops a romantic interest in former "Popular" star Leslie Bibb's lead character. Katharine Ross joined the cast last week as the first lady to Peter Fonda's recurring role as president.
Metcalf will star as a widow in Lorre's CBS comedy pilot tentatively titled "Two Families," which is about two extended families joining up when a widower meets a widow. Several of the family members have been cast, although Metcalf's widower counterpart has yet to be tapped.
Kerr will star in "Dexter Prep," playing the new teacher in an all-male boarding school. He is the first thesp to join the cast of the ABC comedy pilot.
Helberg will play the eldest of four kids in the oddball, extended "Funkhauser" family.
"That Was Then," a 1980s-set drama pilot for ABC, Raider will play the
obnoxious older brother of the yet-to-be-cast main character, who gets the
chance to go back in time to the point in his life he believes marked a
downturn. His casting is the first for the pilot. Reuters/Variety
Rod Lurie's drama pilot from DreamWorks TV and
Touchstone Television has cast Tom Berenger and Kyle Chandler ("What About
Joan"). The project will be Berenger's first foray into primetime series