The networks are turning Chicago into “Hollywood Midwest”
Katie Holmes has joined an untitled Fox drama from former Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken and Melissa Scrivner Love, whose credits include CSI: Miami.
The drama focuses on FBI Special Agent Hazel Otis, played by Holmes. While investigating a domestic terrorist threat, her secret affair with a prominent general becomes public, destroying her reputation. Now labeled “the mistress,” Hazel who is a wife, mother and patriot must begin to rebuild her personal life and professional reputation. The series follows her difficult journey. We are assuming it’s going to be difficult – if it were easy there is no series.
Ian Harding has also been cast as a series regular. Harding is best known as Ezra Fitz on Pretty Little Liars. It’s a stark contrast to Holmes’ driven and seemingly serious character. The actor will play Sam Gerard, her “preppy and privileged” co-worker.
“Ezra Fitz hanging out with Joey Potter (Dawson’s Creek, kids) is like the Best. Pair. Ever.
The pilot is expected to film in town from mid-March through early April.
“Gone Baby Gone”
Another Fox pilot, based on the Ben Affleck-helmed film, Gone Baby Gone, is also shooting in Chicago, which will be doubling as “Bahston.”
The pilot was written by Black Sails co-creator Robert Levine and will center on “private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro who, armed with their wits, their street knowledge and an undeniable chemistry, right wrongs the law can’t in the working-class Boston borough of Dorchester,” according to Deadline.
Phillip Noyce is set to direct the pilot which is based on the best-selling book Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane. The project hails from 20th Century Fox TV, where Noyce is under a first-look deal, and Miramax.
If picked up, the series is expected to move to “Bean Town.”
Dr. Carter returns in “Red Line” pilot
Another familiar face will be in town shooting a CBS pilot: ER’s and Falling Skies Noah Wyle has joined the cast of the CBS pilot Red Line.
In the pilot, from Chicago theater veterans Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss, a white Chicago cop mistakenly shoots and kills a black doctor. The show then follows three different families that all have connections to the case as the story is told from each perspective.
Wyle will play Daniel Calder, described as “a dedicated high school teacher mourning the loss of his innocent African-American husband.” Daniel is now a single parent to his adopted daughter, Jira. He joins previously announced cast members Emayatzy Corinealdi, Noel Fisher, Michael Patrick Thornton, and Aliyah Royale.
Wyle is perhaps best known for playing Dr. John Carter in the long-running medical drama ER and Tom Mason in the TNT series Falling Skies. He also starred in TNT’s The Librarians film franchise and subsequent television series. He is also set to appear in the upcoming Amazon series The Romanoffs, which hails from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner.
Ava DuVernay (A Wrinkle in Time) is executive producing.
New Danny Strong pilot
Speaking of Empire, that show’s co-creator Danny Strong is bringing yet another pilot to the city. He is executive producing an untitled legal drama written by David Elliot that will center around a legal team led by a “fierce and fearless female lawyer” with a hunger for justice.
They reopen investigations, putting their own lives in danger to exonerate the innocent that were “proven” guilty in wrongful convictions.
Former Grimm star Russell Hornsby is set as a male lead. Hornsby will play Ezekiel “Easy” Boudreau, a savvy, pragmatic and cool attorney who works at the wrongful conviction firm.
Hornsby, who also co-starred in the Denzel Washington-helmed Fences, next will be seen as the lead in Fox 2000’s The Hate U Give and co-starring opposite Regina King as a one-year series regular on drama Seven Seconds, which premieres Friday on Netflix. He also recurs on Showtime’s The Affair.
There are also rumblings of a few more pilots possibly in the offing — the Showtime drama Your Honor being one — but no confirmations yet.
TV networks will announce in May which shows they are picking up for next season. Stay tuned to Reel Chicago for more updates.
Contact Colin Costello at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.