Applegate, Smart, Brenneman cast in pilots

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Christina Applegate is returning to series television as the star of ABC's comedy pilot "Sam I Am." Jean Smart also has joined the project.

Meanwhile, Amy Brenneman and Merrin Dungey have been cast in the potential "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff.

Additionally, Michael Rapaport has been tapped as the male lead in CBS' comedy pilot "Fugly," Melanie Griffith has signed on for a potential recurring role on CBS' "Viva Laughlin!" Diedrich Bader has been tapped to co-star opposite Stephen Dorff in CBS' drama pilot "Skip Tracer," Stephanie Childers has landed the female lead in ABC's comedy pilot "American Family," Jamey Sheridan has joined CBS' drama pilot "Babylon Fields" and Ty Burrell has joined Fox's comedy pilot "Action News."

  "Sam," from ABC TV Studio and Brillstein-Grey TV, centers on a woman (Applegate) with amnesia who has to rediscover her life. Smart will play her self-absorbed mother.

Applegate had been heavily pursued to star in a series since the end of her previous show, NBC's "Jesse," but this is the first pilot she has agreed to do. The "Married With Children" alumna won an Emmy for her guest-starring role on NBC's "Friends." Her feature credits include "The Sweetest Thing," "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" and "Employee of the Month." She is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Stephen Warren.

Smart (WMA, Untitled Entertainment) recently co-starred on Fox's "24."

  Brenneman and Dungey are set to guest star in the "enhanced" two-hour episode of "Grey's" designed to serve as a springboard for a potential spinoff from the hit medical drama that centers on Addison Shepherd (Kate Walsh). In the project, from ABC TV and the Mark Gordon Co., they join previously cast Taye Diggs, Tim Daly, Chris Lowell and Paul Adelstein.

Brenneman ("Judging Amy") next will appear in "88 Minutes." Dungey's (Gersh, Artistry) series credits include ABC's "Alias," WB Network's "Summerland" and CBS' "The King of Queens."

  "Fugly," from 20th TV, revolves around three siblings -- identical twin sisters (Nikki Cox, Marissa Jaret Winokur) and a brother (Rapaport) -- who buy one of the sisters (Cox) an extreme makeover and move to Hollywood to capitalize on her newfound good looks.

For Rapaport, the project is in second position to Fox's "The War at Home."

  "Viva" centers on a man (Lloyd Owen) dreaming of opening a casino in Laughlin, Nev. Griffith will play a smart and conniving sexpot who has a romantic past with him. Griffith most recently starred on WB's "Twins."

  "Tracer," from CBS Paramount TV, centers on a skip tracer (Dorff), a man who locates missing people. Bader ("The Drew Carey Show") will play his loyal friend and colleague.

  "Family," from Sony TV, centers on a modern family. Childers ("Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") will play the wife, a mother of three.

  "Babylon," from 20th TV, is set in a Long Island town where the dead come to life. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" alum Sheridan will play a zombie, a former bullying man and a wife-beater.

  "Action," from 20th TV, is set in a local news station. Burrell ("Out of Practice") will play a top-notch reporter.

In other pilot casting news:

  Billy Brown (TalentWorks, Artistsry) and Jesse James have joined Fox's drama "NSA Innocent."

  Newcomer Elizabeth Ho (Stone Manners, Cirrincione & Associates) has landed a role in ABC's "Women's Murder Club."

  JP Walker has been added to NBC's comedy "Wildlife."
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