March 29, 2013 10:36am PT by Lesley Goldberg
NBC Delays 'Girlfriend in a Coma'
NBC has delayed one of its most promising pilots.
The network has postponed Girlfriend in a Coma to June after trouble recasting the lead role of Christina Ricci, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The decision to recast the role out of the traditional pilot-season window was made mutually by NBC, creator Liz Brixius (Nurse Jackie) and producers Wolf Films and Universal Television and comes 10 days after Ricci exited the pilot following the table read.
Ricci, who was the first person cast in the project in early February, was poised to star as Karen, who wakes up from a coma after almost two decades to find out she has a 17-year-old daughter from a pregnancy she was unaware of when her life was put on hold.
NBC executives and industry sources are high on the comedy, which Brixius will write and executive produce alongside Dick Wolf (Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire), Danielle Gelber and Peter Jankowski. The move to shoot the pilot in June will allow the network to select from a wider range of actresses after the broadcast networks whittle down the nearly 100 pilots in production.
Girlfriend in a Coma becomes the latest project to move off-cycle this pilot season. Fox pushed big-swing Navy drama Wild Blue after difficulties casting the lead, and NBC delayed Wonderland to allow producers more time to prepare the extensive special effects and Donor Party after trouble with casting the lead.
Like every pilot season, there has been an array of casting changes this year now that table reads and production are under way. Early Friday, Erinn Hayes replaced Chyler Leigh in NBC's Holding Patterns; Kristen Schaal replaced Mandy Moore in ABC's Pulling; Vanessa Lachey stepped in for Erin Pineda in Fox's six-episode series Dads; Terry O'Quinn subbed for Tom Berenger in Fox's Gang Related; and Mike Castle replaced Josh Rabinowitz in NBC's untitled Greg Daniels/Robert Padnick vehicle, among others.