Consider this a round-up; a platter of micro-updates in the field of on-again-off-again new shows and their various stars. A TV digest for the water cooler, if you will.
Item 1: Remember “Bad Teacher”? Remember the significantly worse news that it’s being served back up onto the small screen like the regurgitated ingesta of a big bird of prey (no offence, Ms. Diaz)? Well, Deadline reports that the single-cam (of course) CBS comedy, written by Hilary Winston (a graduate of the “Community” and “My Name is Earl” schools of pop-reference-saturation), will star Ari Graynor, veteran of innumerable smaller TV roles and protagonist of last year’s indie “For a Good Time, Call…”, who will also produce the pilot.
Item 2: In other casting news, Fox’s latest acquisition “The List”, a “Homeland”-esque whodunnit in which the theft of Federal Witness Protection details leads to a murderous rampage, will star Michael Peña, formerly of “Crash” and “World Trade Center.” The always underutilized actor (thoroughly and almost offensively wasted in “Gangster Squad“) is up for an Independent Spirit Award for “End of Watch,” so hopefully he gets bigger and better soon.
Item 3: And finally, the much-anticipated return of James “Jesus Christ, Carmela!” Gandolfini to primetime HBO has been shelved, to the dismay of fans and mafiosi everywhere. The pilot of the drama series “Criminal Justice”, directed by “Schindler’s List” scriptwriter Steve Zaillian, has been relegated indefinitely to the HBO bench, while Damon Lindelof’s “Leftovers” pilot is greenlit in its place. Back to waste management then, Mr. Soprano.