“Congratulations, the pilot that you shot back in the wintertime just got picked up! Bad news, though, you’ve been recast … better luck next time!” From the outside, one would think this would be a great time to be an actor whose pilot just got green-lit. After all, you generally have a couple of weeks before production begins, which is plenty of time to lease a new car or find some nice new digs. However, for a few unlucky actors, this time is fraught with peril as they wonder on a near daily basis whether or not the network will decide to recast their roles. And if you think this only happens to unrecognizable no-names, well, you’d be wrong: this fate was just suffered by none other than Julia Ormond.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS is going back to the drawing board with their new medical drama Three Rivers. The show, which revolves around the various people whose lives are affected by organ transplants, was green-lit, with Julia Ormond set to star in a leading role as the head surgeon at the fictional Three Rivers hospital. It’s not entirely clear what exactly went down, but Nellie Andreeva reports that Ormond is “not continuing beyond the pilot stage.” Also suffering similar indignities are British actor Rupert Penry-Jones, who was cast in the lead of ABC’s The Forgotten, and Louise Lombard, who was set to star in the NCIS: Los Angeles spinoff series over at CBS.
What remains to be seen is how audiences will respond to these last-minute casting changes. Will the shows go the way of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which successfully recast the role of Willow (Alyson Hannigan replaced Riff Regan after the completion of the pilot), or the disastrous route that Life on Mars took at this time last year (the show was completely overhauled, one part of which meant swapping Colm Meaney for Harvey Keitel)? Guess we’ll have to wait till the fall to find out.