What film actors deserve TV deals this pilot season?

Faye_lGood news to start your day — Jean Grey is coming to NBC! Oh, no, I didn’t mean to imply that the folks at the Peacock plan to air a Dark Phoenix saga on Monday nights at 10, right after Heroes (even though they totally should), but rather that Famke Janssen, who’s best known for playing X-Men‘s split-persona heroine, will be headlining the network’s police drama pilot from producer David Shore (House).

To me, that’s welcome news; Janssen’s the kind of actress who’d probably be a lot bigger star if movie studios would realize she’s infinitely more appealing than, say, Mandy Moore. But since that’s never going to happen — at 41, Janssen’s more likely to be cast as Moore’s mom nowadays — why not cross over to television, where (ideally) she’ll get 22 complex, interesting scripts every year? (After all, this is the actress who transfixed Nip/Tuck fans during her oh-so-memorable season 2 guest stint as a post-op transsexual.)

Anyway, this got me thinking about other big-screen stars who might benefit from a move to TV. If I ran a network, I’d build a primetime soap around the underutilized talents of Faye Dunaway and Andy Garcia. The former could be cast as the paranoid, ruthless head of Hollywood’s biggest PR firm, spending each week trying to put a positive spin on her famous clients’ public and private disasters; Garcia could play her ambitious, starlet-chasing No. 2 — stuck in a marriage of convenience with Dunaway while plotting to oust her from her job. Now tell me that doesn’t sound more interesting than CSI: Atlanta.

Come on, PopWatchers — let’s show the networks how it should be done. Pick two movie stars who are ready for a switch to the small screen, and tell us how you’d cast ‘em.

addCredit(“Dunaway: Jesse Grant/WireImage.com; Garcia: David Livingston/Getty Images”)

Comments (23 total) Add your comment
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  • Ferris

    Laura Leighton needs to be in a TV show, she is a sorely underrated and underused actress.

  • mark in nyc

    I have been in love with Famke Jansenn since her cameo on Star Trek TNG back in the 90’s…always wondered why she didnt get more parts, happy to see her more regularly now!

  • Caroline

    Genevieve Bujold
    Carl Weathers

  • David

    Yes, i agree with the choice of Faye Dunaway, but make the show a comedy, on HBO, and have Jennifer Coolige as her drunk sister/partner. Margaret Cho as her smartass secretary, and all we’d need would be a closeted but oh so gay husband.

  • Delon

    Wow, Slezak! Why are you still working at EW? You should have been headhunted by Jeff Zucker by now for this brilliant idea!!! You might think about registering it ‘cos lemme tell you that’s one delicious premise!

  • Ceballos

    I’d watch ANYTHING with Marisa Tomei as the lead…comedy, drama, doesn’t matter.

  • harper

    Did you just compare Famke Jenson to Mandy Moore? That’s an odd comparison, its not as if Mandy Moore would even be getting roles similar to Famke Jenson or that she’s getting them in place of her. Its not like ManDy Moore has movies roling off the shelves either.

  • Howard

    There are two guys who I think are most deserving of a successful show, and both had series that tanked this year: Tim Daly and Taye Diggs. “The Nine” may have been tough to get into, but he shouldn’t have even had a chance to do it because “Eyes” should have been getting into its groove this year. And ABC should have stuck with “Day Break” a little longer.

  • Mike

    Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid. They have been unfortunately paired before in the movies, but these two personal 80’s icons deserve a series that makes use of their seasoned talents. Turner as Chandler’s drag queen dad on “Friends” was fun, but a bit pathetic.

  • Julie

    I would cast Steve Zahn in a quirky comedy that could showcase his brilliant comedic timing-if given the chance he could rival Will Arnett’s performance in Arrested Development.
    And I could see Jeff Bridges in some type of serialized drama/comedy. He could read me my juror summons and I would be enthralled.

  • Joe C

    How about Vivica Fox as a head of a record label? She’s got the attitude, and she’s easy on the eyes too. She’d be better looking than the ‘singers’ they’d bring in, lol.

  • KTS

    John and Joan Cuzack. Together, separately, doesn’t matter.

  • Brian

    Guy Pierce in a “LA Confidental” spin off done with the same grit…ala NYPD Blue.
    Or how about Ed Norton Jr? GOLDEN!

  • Kaybar

    Slezak, forgive me if I pitch your idea to a few people.

  • Carrie

    I’d love to see Marisa Tomei on TV . . . she is one of my all-time favorites and would be perfect (have lots of energy) for the small screen. She was the first “movie” star actress I thought of when the question was posed.
    As for a male star . . . I’m going with . . . get this . . . The Rock! When he hosted Saturday Night Live, his comedic timing really showed. You can laugh if you want, but he would be great on a comedy/action type TV show (is there even one of those on TV?)

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