TV Pilot Hot List: Rachel Bilson at CW; Zooey Deschanel at Fox; More

3:12 PM PST 02/08/2011 by Kim Masters
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Rachel Bilson, left, and Zooey Deschanel

Actors being courted include Don Johnson at NBC, Tim Allen and Bill Paxton at ABC

UPDATE:  Fox has signed Zooey Deschanel for its untitled Liz Meriwether comedy pilot. The single-camera comedy, known as Chicks and Dicks (which will never fly as a title for a broadcast sitcom), is an ensemble about the sexual politics of men and women. It’s from Chernin Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope are non-writer executive producers. Meriwether wrote the recent Natalie Portman/Ashton Kutcher film No Strings Attached.

 
 
The annual mating dance has begun to lure brand-name stars to help TV pilots break out from the pack.
Who’s hot this season?
 
Don Johnson is one candidate to star as a lothario hairdresser in the Michael Patrick King drama Mann’s World at NBC, and Ellen Barkin is also a possibility for that show.
 
ABC is pursuing Tim Allen to make a return to TV in the sitcom Last Days of Man (though he’s not making it easy).
 
CBS believes Rob Riggle, late of The Daily Show, would be right for any number of regular-guy sitcoms that have been ordered.
 
ABC is eyeing Ryan Philippe for the title role in its period crime procedural Poe and Bill Paxton is the net’s choice for a lead role on the Shonda Rhimes pilot (aka The Fixer).  Rhimes also is looking at Jill Scott and Kerry Washington for her pilot.
 
NBC wants Minnie Driver for the comedy Free Agents and Maria Bello for Prime Suspect, while The OC’s Rachel Bilson might reunite with its executive producer Josh Schwartz for his Hart of Dixie pilot at the CW.
 
NBC wants to get back in business with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip star Amanda Peet for Bent, and Fox thinks it might be able to lure Zooey Deschanel to the untitled Liz Merriwether comedy (aka Chicks and Dicks) for Fox.
 
The season’s most in-demand actress might be Christina Applegate, who has already passed on the ABC’s Other People’s Kids and is now considering the network’s Good Christian Bitches.
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