Fall TV Recasts: Damon Wayans Will (Briefly) Live with New Girl, and More Updates

Fox’s New Girl, Zooey Deschanel, is still going to live with Damon Wayans Jr. — but not for very long.

With Happy Endings renewed by ABC and also scheduled for fall, Wayans’ New Girl guy, who goes by the nickname “Coach,” is but one of several roles that need to be recast, replaced or revisited for the 2011-12 TV season.

Fall TV Preview: A Guide to All the New Shows

Typically, the springtime announcement of a “second position” casting is met with a half-chuckle, since almost always the in-demand actor’s first commitment is hanging by a thread — if not semi-officially canceled — when it comes to the prospect of renewal.

Personally, I’ll always recall Milo Ventimiglia insisting to me that Heroes was a mere back-up plan for The Bedford Diaries (remember that show?). If you need further education on the misleadingly dismissive tone of the “second position” term, Tyler Labine (Invasion, Reaper, Sons of Tuscon, Mad Love…) can probably teach a college course on the topic.

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But moving to the matters immediately at hand: TVLine has learned that Wayans will still appear in the New Girl pilot, which was shot this spring and has received some of the strongest buzz from the new crop of shows. “Coach” will then promptly move out of the three guys-and-a-girl living arrangement, to be replaced by a new roommate. Jake Johnson (No Strings Attached) and Max Greenfield (Ugly Betty) play the other apartment-dwellers.

Similarly, Nancy Travis plays a significant character in The CW’s Hart of Dixie, which was filmed prior to the actress landing the female lead, opposite Tim Allen, in ABC’s Last Man Standing. But her role won’t be recast, either; instead, a source tells us that Travis’ “Mrs. H” — a Southern fried nurse/mother figure for Rachel Bilson’s transplanted New York City doctor — will appear in the freshman drama’s first two episodes. Beyond that, the producers have yet to comment on how the character will be written out.

Interestingly, Wayans wasn’t the only Happy Endings cast member to hedge his bets by booking a pilot destined for success. Adam Pally landed in the ensemble for NBC’s Best Friends Forever, which also happens to be a rom-com series. But since that’s a midseason premiere, there is no word just yet on how Pally’s unavailability will be dealt with.

Other actors on new shows that call into question their previous jobs include Law & Order: SVU vet B.D. Wong, who has a major role on the midseason NBC drama Awake, and recurring Fringe player Kirk Acevedo, now a part of NBC’s Prime Suspect adaptation.

Says Wong, “[The SVU powers-that-be] gave me the blessing to do [the Awake pilot], which that was really nice. But I don’t really know if I cant do both or not.” Acevedo, meanwhile, told me that, especially with Fringe‘s two worlds now linked, he is contractually able to reprise his role as Alt-Charlie “for maybe three or four [episodes],” if need be.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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25 Comments
  1. Steven says:

    I think they’d be better off just replacing Damon. As funny as he is, they shouldn’t mess with the show so much so quickly like that.

    • Johnification says:

      It’s for that very reason that they’re probably leaving it alone for now: they don’t want to risk screwing up a majorly buzzed-about pilot by reshooting huge chunks of it.

  2. MamaLarson3 says:

    Ok, I just imdb’d Max Greenfield after reading this article (as he was the only one mentioned who I’d never heard of) and there he was, featured in a picture with….Nancy Travis! Hollywood is a small, small world. That’s probably why all these people keep getting double-booked.

    • Steven says:

      If you don’t know Max Greenfield then I suggest you watch Veronica Mars where he plays the adorable Deputy Leo. He also guest starred on Happy Endings. He’s a great actor.

      • DJ says:

        And, he did some episodes of Ugly Betty too….. I think, anyhow…

      • MamaLarson3 says:

        I will check it out for sure. I’ve read ‘Entertainment Weekly’ like a bible for about ten years now and I remember them begging people to watch ‘Veronica Mars’. I’m going to find it on my Wii/Netflix today. Thanks.

        • Steven says:

          Yay! And another Veronica Mars fan is born!

          • Brittany says:

            I LOVE “Veronica Mars!!!” You’re making a smart choice, MamaLarson3. lol Also liked him on “Greek” and “Ugly Betty” (he was a jerk on that though) as well. =)

      • Dirk says:

        He played a pretty funny douchebag on Ugly Betty, but my favorite role of his was the one he played on Greek, Michael. He’s definitely one of my favorite TV actors who has yet to reach any sort of real status in Hollywood yet. Hopefully The New Girl is successful for him.

      • Mandy says:

        Small worldly enough, Max Greenfield played the love interest of Adam Pally (also featured in this article) on Happy Endings. Weird.

  3. ryanoo says:

    Poor Tyler Labine… At this point I think he’d be better suited for movies… He’s got “funny, chubby, best friend” all over him.

    I find him extremely attractive tho and would love to see more of him… and not in crappy 6 episode spurts.

  4. NickC says:

    I am a BIG fan of Happy Endings so thank you for this post.I wondered what was going to happen to Wayans.He is a great part of the show and i did not want him to leave….If you have not see Happy Ending(My Tvline friends)check it out.

  5. Cass says:

    Well, I’ll just be happy to see Kirk Acevedo on my TV screen, but I’d love to see him as Alt Charlie on FRINGE full-time. LOVE. I hope NEW GIRL can find a great replacement roommate. I want any Zooey Deschanel project to succeed! I’m also a fan of B.D. Wong, and although I’ve not watched L&O:SVU consistently the past few seasons, I enjoy seeing him on the show. But if the new one is a great project, that might be just as well.

  6. KevinSWerleman says:

    Hey…Reaper lasted….2 seasons lol, give poor Tyler a brake lol

  7. Sarah says:

    When will poor Tyler Labine end up in a great show like he deserves to? Well, one that will stick around (“Reaper” was great, but was sadly cut short). He’s absolutely hysterical and can play vulnerable, too. Plus he’s cute!

  8. Bob says:

    What if Wayans, Jr. is one of the big reasons that the pilot is so hot?

    • Erica says:

      I TOTALLY AGREE!!! His comedic timing is top notch and while Zooey is the draw…..DMJ is the sell!!!

    • britt says:

      I agree, DWJ is amazing in the NEW GIRL without him and Zooey, i don’t know if this show will work. I love the pilot and was so excited for the Sept 20th Premiere, but now…. I’m Worried!

  9. Jeri says:

    I’m still mourning Better with You. It was so much better than Happy Endings.

    I’ll watch Happy Endings but will always think of what might have been…

  10. Crystal says:

    It’s a shame DWJ was replaced since I watched the pilot & I totally love him in it!!! He was a major selling point of the show, can’t imagine the show w/o him :-(

  11. TWE says:

    Ok, I’m not that excited about watching it if DWJ is being replaced.

  12. Spazin1015 says:

    I love Happy Endings, but Im on the same page in regards to Better With You! I really loved that show and was so sad to hear it was cancelled. :(

  13. ruben says:

    i think that show new girl is so funny and the damen jr should remake a movie of homie d clown

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