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Casting Countdown: Week of July 10th 

Photo Credit: Matt Hoyle/CBS

TV Shows must be going back into production because we’re finally starting to hear about some key casting moves and decisions. One of them even stunned me speechless. Let’s count down six of the biggest casting announcements of the week, keeping in mind the shock and awe factor.

6. Sonya Walger to Parenthood

According to, she’s going to be playing Meredith, an architect who works with Joel. And she’s going to be an unintentional threat to Julia. I love me some Sonya Walger but I hope Meredith doesn’t become an actual threat to the Joel/Julia marriage. I love these two as a couple. And Joel’s one of my favorite Parenthood characters. Having said that, after Walger was pretty much wasted on USA Network’s Common Law, I’m excited to see her tackle a new role. Oh and bonus casting news: Matt Lauria has signed to appear as Ryan to Mae Whitman’s Amber in at least half of the season five episodes. So happy about he’s returning.

5. Summer Glau to Arrow

Whenever it’s announced that anyone from the Whedonverse is joining a show, it’s a good bet I’ll be watching. In this case, Summer Glau (River from Firefly) is headed to the CW’s Arrow. Word from The Hollywood Reporter has it that the actress has snagged a recurring role — she’s playing Isabela Rochev — the VP of Acquisitions at a company looking to take over Queen Consolidated. She’ll first appear in the season two premiere. I’m expecting Glau’s character to be sufficiently badass. After all, if you’ve seen her work in Serenity, you know she has it in her — big time.

4. Justin Hartley to Revenge

From the moment we heard Revenge‘s Victoria Grayson had given up a son we wondered who was going to play him. They hadn’t cast him by the time of the season two finale so we knew at some point this summer the news would break. And break it did. E! News reported that Justin Hartley has been tapped to play Patrick. In my book, this can only mean great things. First of all, Hartley’s presence means the show has gotten even hotter (the man is gorgeous). Second, the actor has some serious soap street cred having gotten his first big break playing Fox Crane on the late great (and cheese-tacular) daytime drama Passions. He’ll fit right in with Emily and the Graysons. I can’t wait to see what kind of effect Patrick will have on the Hamptons landscape. And third, we know from his days as Smallville‘s Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow, Hartley can handle going up against some seriously evil enemies. Maybe he better sharpen some arrows, because the foes on Revenge are formidable. I’m wondering if Patrick is going to fall on the side of good or evil. Knowing this show, it’ll be somewhere in between but skewed more heavily to the evil side. Just saying.

3. Kristen Bell to Parks and Recreation

Veronica Mars on Parks and Recreation? Sign me up. Yes, how cool is it to know that Kristen Bell will be interacting with Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope on a season six episode? I really can’t contain my excitement. According to EW, the House of Lies actress will play a councilwoman from Pawnee’s rival town, Eagleton. She’s basically Leslie, only richer, more fashionable and, most significantly, snootier. But we’ve come to expect that from almost everyone we meet from Eagleton, right? Needless to say, this is one of the guest star appearances that’s probably going to get me to watch live. Or faux-live, meaning I’ll start it ten minutes in so I can still skip the commercials. Bell’s episode should air in early October.

2. Damon Wayans Jr. to New Girl

This was an inevitable event. As soon as we heard that there was no chance for ABC’s Happy Endings to continue, we knew Damon Wayans Jr. would have to go back to New Girl. After all, he was in the pilot but couldn’t continue because Happy Endings was picked up. So we never really got to see how Coach would develop on the show. Now. We. Will. announced that Wayans is closing in on a deal to bring him back to his New Girl roots for a major season three arc. When we hit the ATX Television Festival last month, we asked New Girl EP Dave Finkel about this very possibility:

DAVE FINKEL: I think one of the things about this show that’s great is that there’s a huge community of characters that can always come back in like Dermot [Mulroney aka Jess’ ex, Russell] or the landlord [Jeff Kober]…it’s almost like The Simpsons — maybe not quite that big — but these people can come and go and it feels like a huge community. And I think Damon…you know, Coach knows Winston. Coach knows Nick. Coach knows Schmidt. He knows these people so he’s in their lives and it’d be nice to have him come back and mess around for a little while. I mean, Damon is a huge personality and it would be silly to not try and get him. It would be nice to have him back.

Hopefully we’ll hear that the contract has been signed, sealed and delivered sooner rather than later. Now, in a perfect world, Damon would bring Eliza Coupe to New Girl with him. They had so much chemistry as Brad and Jane on Happy Endings. I don’t want to see one without the other. Nevertheless, having Damon reunited with the New Girl cast is going to be epic TV to the nth degree.

1. Cote de Pablo leaves NCIS

The casting news that shocked me the most this week had to be the announcement that Cote de Pablo is leaving NCIS after working on the show for eight years. I’m still a bit stunned, I’m not going to lie. I just didn’t see it coming, although it was suspicious that we hadn’t heard anything about her re-signing all hiatus long. Whether you like the Ziva David character or not, this is definitely huge news and some of Cote’s castmates had this to say via twitter:

Both CBS and Cote de Pablo released very amicable statements. What I’m curious about is how Ziva is going to be written out. It seems like the Chilean actress will be making guest appearances during the upcoming season that will finish up her storyline. How is Ziva’s departure going to shake up the team? This will be one of the big stories come fall.

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