'NCIS' spinoff pilot eyes duo; Friel in demand


Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J are in talks to star in CBS' "NCIS" spinoff.

The pilot for an offshoot from the hit procedural will air as an episode of "NCIS" this spring, just as the pilot for "NCIS" aired as an episode of "JAG."

O'Donnell would play Callen, an average guy born to do undercover work as the ultimate chameleon, taking on different identities.

LL Cool J is eyed for the role of Sam Hannah, a former U.S. Navy Seal who is tough but charming.

CBS has been hot on LL Cool J. In 2006, the network signed the actor-rapper to a rich development deal, which led to him starring in the 2007 CBS pilot "The Man."

Meanwhile, "Pushing Daisies" star Anna Friel has emerged as the most sought-after actress this pilot season. She has three offers to choose from: ABC dramas "I, Claudia" and "Eastwick" and CBS drama "House Rules." Friel's "Daisies" co-star Lee Pace was offered a pilot but passed.