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Damon Wayans Jr. is staying put on New Girl. Though the news comes as little surprise given his appearance in 17 consecutive episodes of the third season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned he’s officially assuming castmember status for the upcoming fourth season.
The actor’s return to the Fox sitcom was quite unconventional. He starred in the 2011 pilot, alongside Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson and Hannah Simone, but had to pull out of the comedy when it was ordered to series. He originally booked the job in second position to ABC’s Happy Endings, which scored a surprise sophomore renewal. Happy Endings ended after three seasons in 2013, freeing up Wayans to return to New Girl.
PHOTOS: Inside the ‘New Girl’ Wardrobe Room
The 20th Century Fox production booked Wayans for a six-episode arc shortly before the start of New Girl‘s third season, and subsequently signed him on as a special guest star for the remainder of the year.
“It’s hard to balance six characters, let alone five, but he has worked so well with so many different people,” executive producer Brett Baer told THR on Monday. “We’ve had him do stories with everybody and he just killed it.”
Wayans was not lacking in options in his decision to stay on at New Girl. The actor was one of the most sought-after during the recent pilot season, turning down multiple offers. His new job marks another score for the Happy Endings team.
Almost the entire ensemble of the axed ABC comedy have booked follow-ups just a year after the show’s demise. Adam Pally joined NBC’s The Mindy Project, Eliza Coupe stars in USA’s forthcoming Benched and Weird Loners, featuring Zachary Knighton, has a six-episode order at Fox. Casey Wilson and Elisha Cuthbert also have promising pilots.
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