Two pilots land their leads

Silverstone, Winchester to topline

Alicia Silverstone is set to star in ABC's hot comedy pilot "Bad Mother's Handbook," and Philip Winchester will play the title character on NBC's drama series "Crusoe."

Also cast in "Handbook" is Alia Shawkat, while Anna Walton has joined "Crusoe."

The single-camera "Handbook," from ABC Studios, writers Jennifer Konner and Alexandra Rushfield and director Richard Shepard, centers on Karen (Silverstone), a 32-year-old woman too busy taking care of her 16-year-old daughter (Shawkat) and 48-year-old mother.

Silverstone, who recently starred in David Mamet's "Speed the Plow" at the Geffen Playhouse, toplined NBC's 2003 dramedy "Miss Match," for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. She is repped by UTA and attorneys Harold Brown and Bianca Levin.

"Arrested Development" alumna Shawkat next will be seen in the indie "Bart Got a Room," which premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival. She is repped by Innovative and Kipperman Management.

"Crusoe," based on Daniel Defoe's classic novel, centers on Robinson Crusoe (Winchester), who leaves his wife Susannah (Walton) in pursuit of an adventure only to end up shipwrecked on a remote tropical island for 28 years. U.K.-based Power Entertainment is producing the series, which is slated to air Fridays at 8 p.m. in the fall.

By casting Winchester, a Montana native, as the famous British castaway, NBC reverses a recent trend of U.K. actors to land the leads in U.S. series playing Americans.

Winchester, repped by ICM, is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and has British citizenship. He has played Brits before, including the lead role of an ex-British commando-turned-Beverly Hills nanny in the WB Network comedy pilot "Commando Nanny" and a role in Channel 4's upcoming adaptation of "King Lear" starring Ian McKellen.
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