12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Sela Ward Replaces Susan Sarandon in Epix Comedy 'Graves'
Sela Ward is returning to the small screen.
Picked up straight-to-series, the single-camera comedy stars Nick Nolte as a former president of the U.S. Two decades after his term ends, he begins to think that his policies have damaged the country for decades, so he goes on a Don Quixote-like journey to fix things. Ward will take over the part of Margaret Graves that originally went to Sarandon, who exited the series after creative differences. Here's the character description: "Margaret Graves, who begins to pursue her political aspirations when her husband decides to right the wrongs of his administration 20 years after leaving office."
The deal follows prolonged negotiations Rene Russo and Kim Basinger, both of whom ultimately passed.
Production begins Wednesday in New Mexico on the 10-episode series, which was delayed a few weeks during the search to replace Sarandon. The series is expected to premiere in the fall 2016. Produced by Lionsgate Television, Graves co-stars Pitch Perfect's Skylar Astin, Veronica Mars' Chris Lowell and Sea of Dreams' Angelica Maria. Roger Bart and Ernie Hudson recur. Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) created the comedy and will write, direct and executive produce the series. Oscar-winning producer Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker) also exec produces.
For Ward, the role marks her return to scripted television after CBS' CSI: NY ended its run in 2013. Ward's TV credits include Emmy-winning turns in Once and Again and Sisters. On the big screen, her résumé includes Gone Girl, The Day After Tomorrow and playing the president in the upcoming Independence Day: Resurgence sequel. She's repped by Gersh.