Officer Swayze is A&E's 'Beast'


Patrick Swayze has been tapped to star in A&E Network's drama pilot "The Beast," lifting the cast contigency on the project.

Travis Fimmel will co-star on the drama, from Sony Pictures Television. "Beast" centers on an unorthodox but effective FBI veteran (Swayze) who trains a new partner (Fimmel) in his hard-edged, psychologically clever style while being pursued by a secret Internal Affairs team.

"This is a very smart show, and with these actors, it should definitely be something our viewers would really gravitate toward," A&E senior vp drama programming Tana Nugent Jamieson said. "Patrick plays a tough, darker character that needs some likability, and he definitely has that. Travis came in and auditioned and nailed the vulnerability, innocence and smarts his character needs."

The pilot is set to start shooting at the end of November or the beginning of December, likely in Chicago or Toronto. Nugent Jamieson added that an announcement on the pilot's director likely will come this week, though she declined further comment.

"Beast" is one of four cast-contingent pilot orders handed out by A&E as it looks to premiere its first original scripted drama series since 2002 sometime in the summer. This marks the first casting announcement on any of the pilots, which also include "Danny Fricke," also from SPT; "The Cleaner," from CBS Paramount Network TV; and "Under," from Fox Television Studios (HR 9/11).

"Beast" is executive produced by Allan Loeb and Steven Pearl for Scarlet Fire Films and Cory Concoff for Fuel Filmworks. The script was written by William Rotko and Vincent Angell, who also will serve as co-executive producers.

Swayze next appears in the films "Christmas in Wonderland" and "Powder Blue." He is repped by WMA, manager Jenny Delaney at Forster-Delaney Management and attorney Fred Gaines.

Fimmel, who starred in ABC's "Tarzan," next appears in the movies "Ivory" and "Surfer Dude." He is repped by Paradigm and Management 360.