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Kyle Chandler to Star in Showtime's 'The Vatican' Pilot

He'll reunite with "Friday Night Lights" executive producer and network topper David Nevins.

Kyle Chandler
Mark Davis/TVA/PictureGroup
Kyle Chandler

Kyle Chandler is returning to the small screen.

The Friday Night Lights Emmy winner has been tapped to star in Showtime's drama pilot The Vatican, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. 

The Vatican, a contemporary thriller about spirituality, power and politics, is set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic Church. The potential series would explore the relationships and rivalries in addition to the mysteries and miracles behind the institution.

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Chandler, who has been among the most sought-after actors since his five-season run on NBC's Friday Night Lights, will star as Cardinal Thomas Duffy, a charismatic yet enigmatic archbishop of New York whose progressive leanings excite some and alarm others within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The casting reunites Chandler with former Friday Night Lights executive producer and Showtime Entertainment president David Nevins, who is said to have wanted to cast the actor for the role of Brody on Homeland.

The Super 8 and Argo actor joins a cast that also includes A Good Day to Die Hard's Sebastian Koch and A Single Man's Matthew Goode.

Paul Attanasio (House) penned the one-hour script, with Ridley Scott (Prometheus, The Good Wife) onboard to direct his first television pilot. Production on the Sony Pictures Television entry is expected to begin soon. Attanasio, Scott and David Zucker (The Good Wife) are onboard to exec produce.

STORY: Showtime Orders 'Vatican' Drama Pilot, Ridley Scott to Direct

"Kyle Chandler is one of the most talented and sought-after actors working today and was a fantastic creative partner through five seasons of Friday Night Lights," Nevins said. "With Kyle, Matthew Goode and Sebastian Koch, Ridley and Paul have put together a powerhouse cast to anchor this incredibly timely show.”

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Koch will play Cardinal Marco Malerba, the Vatican's secretary of state, who is informally known as the "dark prince of the Curia" for his ability to ruthlessly wield power within the Church hierarchy. Goode will play papal secretary Bernd Koch, the pope's closest confidant, who has a very powerful perch within the Vatican inner circle.

Chandler earned two Emmy nominations and one win for his role as Coach Eric Taylor on FNL. His credits include The Day the Earth Stood Still, Broken City and best picture Oscar nominee Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. He also earned an Emmy nomination for his guest turn in ABC's Grey's Anatomy. He's repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit