'The Big C's' John Benjamin Hickey to Star in WGN America's 'Manhattan'

Daniel Stern has also boarded the cast of the World War II atomic bomb drama from Sam Shaw.
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John Benjamin Hickey

WGN America's atomic bomb drama Manhattan has found its male lead.

John Benjamin Hickey has been tapped to star in the drama from Masters of Sex's Sam Shaw, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The drama follows the mission to build the world's first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, N.M., and centers on the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families as they attempt to coexist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives.

Hickey, an Emmy nominee for his role on Showtime's The Big C, will star as Frank Winter, a brilliant and self-destructive physics professor tapped to help lead the Manhattan Project, a mission that will jeopardize his family and his sanity.

Home Alone favorite Daniel Stern will play Glen Babbit, a mentor and consiglieri to the younger physicists working on the Manhattan Project. The character navigates the political minefield of Los Alamos with wisdom and a dry wit.

STORY: WGN America Orders 'Manhattan' Drama Straight to Series

They join previously announced co-stars Rachel Brosnahan as Abby Abrams, a girl from Boston whose life is transformed forever when she agrees on a whim to go to the middle of nowhere with her husband; Ashley Zukerman as Charlie Abrams, a brilliant but untested wunderkind married to Abby; and Harry Lloyd as Paul Crosley, an ambitious Oxford-educated physicist whose loyalties are called into question as he works to build the world's first atomic bomb.  

Shaw created the series and will write and executive produce alongside David EllisonDana Goldberg and Marcy Gross. Emmy-winning director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing) will direct and exec produce via his Shoe Money Productions banner. Production on Manhattan will begin in March in New Mexico for a July premiere. WGN America picked up Manhattan, from Skydance Television, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate Television,with a straight-to-series 13-episode order in September.

Hickey (Pitch Perfect, Law & Order: SVU) and Stern are repped by Paradigm.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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