ABC sets Pace for 'Daisies'

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Lee Pace is set as the lead in ABC's drama pilot "Pushing Daisies" for director Barry Sonnenfeld, while Emmy winner Kirstie Alley has been tapped for the lead in Fox's comedy pilot "The Minister of Divine."

In other major pilot castings, Mark-Paul Gosselaar is set to star in CBS' untitled Barry Schindel dramedy, Martin Henderson has been tapped as the male lead in ABC's drama "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" for director Doug Liman, Cole Hauser will star in Fox's drama "K-Ville," Colm Feore has joined ABC's drama "Judy's Got a Gun," and "That '70s Show" alum Kurtwood Smith has been added to Fox's "Supreme Courtships."

  "Daisies," from Warner Bros. TV and Jinks/Cohen Prods., is a romantic high-concept procedural about a man (Pace) who can touch the dead and bring them back to life.

Pace, who gained notice as the star of Showtime's "Soldier's Girl," most recently was seen in Universal Pictures' "The Good Shepherd." His next movie is Yari Film Group's "Addicted."

  "Minister," from 20th Century Fox TV and Tiger Aspect, is based on the British series "The Vicar of Dibley." It centers on a woman (Alley), known for her rebellious younger days, who returns to her small hometown to be a minister. On TV, Alley most recently starred in and executive produced the Showtime series "Fat Actress." She recently signed on to star in and executive produce the Lifetime original movie "And She Was." Alley is repped by WMA and Untitled Entertainment.

  The untitled Schindel project, from CBS Paramount Network TV and Scott Free Prods., revolves around a group of Los Angeles public defenders.

Gosselaar will play a charismatic 30-year-old who leaves his life of privilege and opportunity to run for Congress in order to work as a public defender. In the pilot, he will star opposite Janeane Garofalo, who has switched roles. Originally cast as the head of the Public Defenders' Office, she will now play an intense and irreverent public defender.

Gosselaar's series credits include ABC's "NYPD Blue" and "Commander in Chief."

  "Smith," from Regency TV and Dutch Oven, is based on the hit 2005 feature. It revolves around John (Henderson) and Jane (Jordana Brewster) Smith, a married couple who are spies. Henderson (WMA, Peter Kiernan at Management 360, attorney Warren Dern) can be seen in Uni's "Smokin' Aces." His feature credits also include "The Ring" and "Flyboys."

  "K-Ville," from 20th TV, is a buddy cop show set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Hauser will play one of the two cops in the center of the project. He most recently was seen in the hit feature comedy "The Break-Up."

  "Judy's," from Touchstone TV, is a procedural drama about a rookie female detective who struggles to balance her personal life as a single mother with her job as a police detective in suburban San Carlos. Feore will play the captain of the San Carlos Police Department. Feore (Endeavor), who starred in the ABC/Touchstone TV limited series "Empire," will next be seen in the HBO movie "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." On the big screen, he starred in the 2006 hit Canadian movie "Bon Cop, Bad Cop," for which he received a best actor Genie Award.

  "Courtships," from 20th TV and Adelstein Prods., is about the lives of six Supreme Court clerks and the judges they work for. Smith will play one of the justices, while Zachary Knighton (Fox's "Life on a Stick") has been cast one of the clerks.

In other pilot casting news:

  Paula Newsome ("Little Miss Sunshine") has come on board the Fox/20th TV drama pilot "Women's Murder Club," about four girlfriends who solve tough murder cases. She will play one of the four.

  Seth Gabel ("The Da Vinci Code," FX's "Nip/Tuck") has joined the ABC/Touchstone TV drama pilot "Dirty Sexy Money," about a young lawyer representing the Darlings, a rich, powerful family. He will play Jeremy Darling.
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